... I don't even know how to begin to express the profundity of feeling and the upwelling of emotion that this documentary and Yoshiki and X Japan brought forth in me, not to mention his performance immediately following the screening! I was crying toward the end of the film, especially when he strips himself bare for us to express his raw grief and loss as well as when the films documents the suicides of Taigi and Hide. Their music is so cathartic; as Yoshiki shares his pain that lasts a lifetime, it pulls forth my own pain and loss, recalling it, cleansing it, and healing it. He cried during his performance of several songs––seemingly from his need to express how life has affected him. It is as though we (the audience, his current and past fans) are brothers and sisters in his pain; we share his loss and tragedies as he shares ours. We have lived parallel lives of pain and grief and and joy, yet he goes on to survive; his triumph despite heartbreak allows us to continue on in life as well. His open admission of previous desires to end his life––while his pain endures and remains vibrant during his lifetime––resonates with so many people. The tears he sheds are shed by many; they claim that the music of X Japan has saved them from suicide and carried them through personally tumultuous times. I feel this sentiment so very deeply. I can't claim to be their "#1 fan", but as he offered his virtuoso talents to us after the film, I found myself sobbing! The last time I cried during a musical performance was when I saw Emanuel Ax playing Chopin at the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the late 90s! I cried not only from empathy, but because of the beauty of his piano playing!
In America, we would call X Japan glam rock, or "a hair band", but they are founders of the "Visual Kei" movement in Asia. Their music contains hard core "speed metal" interspersed with classical, if you can imagine such a thing! Asians are well-known for their musical abilities because that talent is seen as an imperative in every child's upbringing. Yoshiki plays multiple instruments, best known for percussion and piano. He plays piano with such talent, he could easily compete with Chopin, Rachmaninoff, or Liszt! He even performed a concerto for the Emperor of Japan! The guitar players are amazing as well: pure talent, some of the best musicians in the world. If they had learned to speak English fluently and much earlier in their careers, they would have been the biggest and most popular rock band in the world (quoteth thus Gene Simmons of Kiss!). They've also sold well over 30 million albums and they have a huge underground fan base here in the states and world wide. They broke up, got back together, and unfortunately, some fans were so devoted that several of them in Japan attempted suicide after Hide (pronounced hee' - deh)and Tiagi purportedly committed suicide some time after the band initially split up. They reunited after 10 years.
I was sitting in the second row, surrounded by Japanese fans, and we were all crying together! How could we not? Too see the emotional tears shed by fans as they met him afterward, their expression of attachment to the music of X Japan, their claims of being saved by Yoshiki's and X Japan's music. I fully understand this! In my late teens and 20s, I felt as if music created my core and enveloped me, filled me, completed me. Not just songs by Metallica and Merciful Fate, but other hard rock bands that expressed a parallel angst that resided within me, a futility, anger, rebellion, core of sadness and despair... yet gave me the courage to begin again and continue in life despite the pain; all through emotive music. The music was able to express my deepest feelings when I had no words, no one to speak them to, or did not know how to express my innermost thoughts––whether dark or light. At present, when I listen to X Japan and Yoshiki, I am saved and cleansed and unburdened and redeemed and freed––all at once. I feel the pain recalled from deep wounds that are healed and scarred and buried; they are renewed and brought to light again, reborn and then put back into place, where they belong, in the past. Their music brings forth all the anger and rage I feel––due to life circumstances that occurred the past two years––anger was forced to go buried and unexpressed during that time; anger and rage tha needs to be uncovered, felt, and then released! The music is cathartic in that listeners cannot help but feel it deeply, then allow emotions to rise; allowing the music to bring it forth and be released.
Yoshiki's performance evoked all of the joy and wonder I have felt in the past week: the feelings of being overpowered and awed in the present moment. His playing elicits the entire spectrum of pain I have felt throughout my life. Yoshiki accomplished this in 5 minutes with one song played on the piano, accompanied by his three violinists and one cellist! He offered me what no psychotherapist could. His art reached out and squeezed my heart, wrung me dry of this ocean of emotion,from bliss to agony, leaving me both refreshed and exhausted. I love him. I mean that in the sincerest possible way, in the deepest and purest form in which one human loves another.
I am grateful.
Catharsis - the purging or relieving of emotion; discharging of pent-up emotion; resulting in alleviation of pain and suffering; cleansing. From the Greek Katharos = pure.
... the unexpected return.