[[caption-width-right:240:Taiji [[DoubleEntendre checking out the family jewels]]]]
Taiji Sawada (known by his given name/stage name Taiji) was a Japanese rock musician who played bass guitar and guitar, as well as being a prolific songwriter. Having been in a number of famous Japanese rock and metal bands, he was best known for his work with Music/XJapan and with Music/{{Loudness}}. While in Music/XJapan, he co-wrote several songs, developed Toshi's "french fries" mohawk hair style, and heavily contributed otherwise toward the band's musical skill and lyrical and stylistic focus.

He left Music/XJapan in 1992 due to [[CreativeDifferences musical differences]] and a fight with [[Music/YoshikiHayashi Yoshiki]], and proceeded to play with {{Music/Loudness}}, leave Loudness to form his own off-and-on band D.T.R., and experienced a major CreatorBreakdown due to a variety of issues he'd struggled with throughout his life. He slowly returned from his CreatorBreakdown to play with the soon-to-be-disbanded D.T.R., Otokaze, Kings, and with Music/TheKillingRedAddiction and TAIJI WITH HEAVEN'S.

Taiji was (and is) considered in some circles to be among the world's top rock bass players. Especially skilled at slapping and tapping, he was credited with teaching the late Music/XJapan and solo guitarist [[Music/HidetoMatsumoto hide]] his own guitar tapping technique back when they played together.

In 2009, he dissolved D.T.R., firing all but one of his bandmates claiming a copyright issue, and claiming that he was going to reform D.T.R. as Death To Rive. He played with The Killing Red Addiction (members Music/DynamiteTommy [v], Kenzi [d], Taiji [b], Tatsu [g]), played with his solo act "TAIJI WITH HEAVEN'S," which became Taiji Sawada Project, then Taiji and Shu Project (TSP) (members Taiji [b], Shu [g], Takanari [d] who was replaced with Hina from Crazy Danger Mile on drums) and as a session musician with other bands including a return to Music/{{Loudness}} for the Munetaka Higuchi memorial shows in 2009 and 2010.

In July 2010, Taiji rejoined Music/XJapan as a bassist, playing on stage at the Yokohama Nissan Stadium reunion live, though he did not join Music/XJapan for the North American tour. He had also been a model and jewelry designer for Arizona Freedom, a Japanese rock couture house, and also played with Loudness at the 2009 and 2010 memorial concerts for Munetaka Higuchi. He had planned for a return to the rock scene with Taiji and Shu Project...

In 2011, he got into a fight with his manager on a flight and was arrested for causing a disturbance on a flight. He was alleged to have [[DrivenToSuicide committed suicide by hanging]], dying in custody July 17, 2011, but this cause of death is ''highly'' disputed due to witness testimony claiming that he had no neck wounds or bruises. There is currently pressure to reopen a homicide investigation into his death and the suspicious circumstances (including his manager having been embezzling money from him and allegedly trying to scam his friends for money as he was dying, and his "spiritual advisor" who was his manager's friend pressing for no autopsy and a hurried cremation of his body against his own family's wishes) surrounding it.

He is the second member of the original Music/XJapan and the third formation of Music/{{Loudness}} each to die.

'''Provides Examples Of'''
* ALadyOnEachArm: Did this in the Music/XJapan PV for ''Celebration.'' Along with another on his lap...
* TheAlcoholic: Admitted to having problems with alcoholism/excessive drinking in various interviews and even in his own autobiography. He had ongoing problems with alcoholism and stimulant drug addiction, and those problems would lead to his repeatedly falling OffTheWagon, to the point of becoming a [[CrazyHomelessPeople stereotypical homeless addict]], losing his career, his marriage, any relationship with his child, and much more. The loss of his best friend hide inspired him to try to fight his way back to FunctionalAddict from 1998, which he tried to do to some occasional success, but unfortunately, his last fall OffTheWagon (or a major epileptic seizure mistaken as such) happened on an aircraft.
* AlcoholInducedIdiocy: His behavior while drunk or high eventually ended his first marriage, led to him being absolutely unwanted by any bands other than his own projects after X Japan and Loudness until The Killing Red Addiction in 2009, and more likely than not led to the events that would lead to his death.
* TheAllegedCar: Zigzagged: He told a story in his autobiography about being one of the only two licensed drivers in the indies days of X Japan (along with Yoshiki), which included all five band members and their gear getting to gigs in a small economy car that ''very much'' matched this trope. Averted with when X Japan got signed, and he bought a custom Harley-Davidson bike imported from the US. And played straight again less than four years later, when he had to sell that bike as a result of the financial collapse of his life.
* AmbiguouslyBi: He definitely loved women, perhaps a bit ''too'' much, as his becoming enthralled with Kitami Terumi despite already being engaged to his fiancee began the series of problems that led up to his death. He also had ''no'' problem with really getting into onstage fanservice with men at the very least, and seemed to knowingly play to both the GayCowboy and LeatherMan tropes, to the point that as mentioned in the YMMV section, [[LGBTFanbase gay or bi male fans of X Japan tended to be either Taiji fanboys or Yoshiki fanboys.]]
* AndIMustScream: He had a form of epilepsy that primarily manifested in auras and temporal lobe events.
* {{Angst}}: Of the {{Mangst}} variety. He never resorted to open whining about his problems and would only reluctantly seek help - which actually may have made his problems worse, as they were not so well known.
* ArtisticStimulation: Taiji was a heavy user of alcohol, weed, and stimulants. This reflected a lot in his music, and his heavy and open use of drugs was part of the reason he was kicked out of X Japan.
* AudienceParticipationSong: Pretty much any song, he tended to interact with the audience a fair amount.
* AwesomeMcCoolName: His stage name and chosen name itself - Taiji, which translates to "yin/yang" or "heaven and hell."
* BadassBiker: He liked biker fashion and used to ride motorcycles unless he was too unhealthy to do so - and definitely met the "badass" criteria as well. A bad wreck left him with severe injuries at one point.
* BadSamaritan: Shinsho/Shinso, the religious guru he followed at the end of his life. He promised him recovery and, from Taiji's blog posts on him, gave him a lot of hope and strength. Then he encouraged him to stay in Saipan even as Kitami Terumi drained his bank account and ran up debts, and after Taiji's death, tried to pay off people to say he'd committed suicide and was unstable, and somehow managed to get his body cremated with no autopsy ''against the will of his family and fiancee.''
* BarBrawl: A common reason for PersonaNonGrata.
* {{Bishonen}}: He was in his younger days. See the Weekend PV for proof. Was apparently trying for {{biseinen}} again at points.
* BlackWidow: '''KITAMI TERUMI'''. She bankrupted him again, indebted him to her, and then left him to die in Saipan... and that is the most charitable view of her actions [[note]] the less charitable view is that she somehow arranged for him to be killed, then paid off people to cover up the homicide as a suicide...[[/note]]. Then she sued the journalist who uncovered her and her friends' actions, only to drop the suit when presumably she was warned the journalist likely would have used truth as a defense, which would have left her in the position of either telling the complete truth herself or facing perjury charges.
* ClusterFBomb: Not very common in lyrics, necessarily, but common elsewhere.
* CoolBike: Taiji loved motorcycles and biker fashion.
* TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch: See DrivenToSuicide and NeverSuicide + the edits and entries to this page. The official verdict is suicide by hanging - which is also ''absolutely impossible'' in light of witness statements of the state of his body before its cremation.
* TheCorruption: If you think being an alcoholic and drug addict in your 20s and 30s is something you can just go to rehab and brush off, take a look at this [[http://imgur.com/7BD7KIg picture]] or [[http://imgur.com/p5DH2le this picture]] of him in his mid 20s, and compare it to the page image, or to [[http://imgur.com/prKix2E this picture]]. Even in full makeup, the damage is obvious - and why abusing alcohol and methamphetamine is a very bad idea, solely on the basis of retaining physical appearance.
* CrazyHomelessPeople: Per his own admission in autobiography and interviews, ''was'' one of these for several years as a result of alcoholism, likely stimulant drugs, depression and the effects of undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy that were diagnosed as a dissociative disorder. He would get into aggressive interactions and fights with other homeless men and, as a result, sustained major head and facial injuries in TheNineties.

* CruelTwistEnding: Two of them. Becoming a hardcore addict ruined an ascendant career and a life that could have gone anywhere other than years of suffering as well as permanently damaged his physical health - and then, his death itself, which was preventable for ''so'' many reasons and which was likely a disguised murder.
* DinerBrawl: At the afterparty/post-live dinner for the 2009 Killing Red Addiction show, a fight managed to get started over someone's bill at the front of Mel's Diner. No one in the band party including him was involved, however.
* DoubleEntendre: "Desperate Angel" for Music/XJapan.
* DrivenToSuicide: Assumed to be the cause of his death - he was alleged to have committed suicide in custody after his arrest, and the case was originally closed with this as the official determination. It ''may'' still have been, a new investigation will be required to determine whether it was or not, but the testimony of his fiancee has brought this ''very much'' under question.
* DrowningMySorrows: Taiji was a heavy drinker, to the point of being [[TheAlcoholic an alcoholic.]]
* EverybodyMustGetStoned: His music was often written under the influence, and some of his stuff (especially some of the D.T.R. songs like "Cybernetic Crime" or "Duel Beast" or "Apocalypse") falls into this category.
* GratuitousRape: ''Kill Trap'' for D.T.R., which was probably the lowest point of his musical career in general, with "I'm gonna rape you" as the song's open and a repeating line along with "you're going to rape me." It ''may'' be about a RealLife tragedy (some of the lines hint at ''possibly'' the Junko Furuta tragedy - the same thing Music/TheGazette's song ''Taion'' is about) but the LyricalDissonance makes it at least dangerously close to this trope.
* GriefSong: "Dear Friend," written for [[Music/HidetoMatsumoto hide]].
* HesBack: Sadly, it did not last.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: [[Music/HidetoMatsumoto hide]] and [[Music/TomoakiIshizuka Pata]] while he was with X.
* HookersAndBlow: Once had white powder on his clothes during a show with The Killing Red Addiction...
* HopeSpot: 2009 and 2010. He'd recovered from life-threatening injuries, by all accounts was beginning to get toward FunctionalAddict territory if not on the wagon, he was performing with major bands including his first gig outside of Japan in LA in 2009 and returning to play with Music/XJapan in 2010. He'd formed a new band, was active in creating fashion and jewelry, seemed to be working his way back up from nothing into stardom. Then a BlackWidow came along...
* HorribleHistoryMetal: His solo magnum opus for D.T.R. ''Voices Of The Dead,'' opens with a sample of a news report on the First UsefulNotes/GulfWar, overlaid with a sample of a baby screaming. It turns into a fusion of Western and metal bemoaning the tragedy of war and from the perspective of those killed in it.
* HotBlooded: Very much so. He tended to be aggressive and seek out fights, and the official story is that this led to his death.
* IgnoredEpiphany: One of the saddest cases ever. In his final communication to his apprentice and friend, he bemoaned the situation he was in financially, mentioned being in fear for his life, and was frustrated with Kitami for it all. Unfortunately, he apparently couldn't put it together enough to realize he needed to call one of his friends for immediate help, refuse to get on the plane, and get a lawyer - and still apparently thought he could handle it himself, which put him in the situation that led to his death. It's an even more sad situation because ''had'' he contacted, say, Tommy or Yoshiki or Toshi with "I'm in trouble, get me out of this place now," he likely would be alive today.
* IntercourseWithYou: "Desperate Angel" for X and "So What" and "Dirty Winner" for D.T.R.
* {{Irony}}: One of the songs [[HarsherInHindsight he wrote for]] Music/{{Loudness}} was called "BlackWidow."
* JapaneseDelinquents: Taiji was a high school dropout and one of these (of the ''yankii'' variety, seemingly, as well as ''bosuzoku'') before he became a professional musician.
* LeadBassist: Types A and C.
* LovableRogue / LowerClassLout: Taiji was a combination of both: a high school dropout who was, as noted above, a delinquent of the yankii and bosozoku varieties, who became, at least before his downfall, the ascended version of this trope, the working-class hero who made it on sheer talent and luck as opposed to extensive formal education or rich family or the like.
* MyHorseIsAMotorbike: Referenced in the D.T.R. song ''Empty Room,'' and generally played to the hilt throughout Taiji's career, with his image being "biker cowboy."
* NeverSuicide: Started out as a UsefulNotes/ConspiracyTheory, but gained credibility with the testimony of Taiji's fiancee that he had no neck wounds, with the information about Kitami's and Shinso's conduct around him in his last days and after his death that has gotten out, and with quite a few people, including other artists he knew, providing information that he was not suicidal at the time - but was a victim of financial fraud, feeling angry and tired of his situation, and was worried about his future. While his death may still have been suicide (and a new legal investigation will be required to verify the truth once and for all) it is ''definitely'' possible he was a victim of PoliceBrutality or homicide in custody.
* NiceHat: He usually almost always had one, whether it's his cowboy hat, a fedora, a bucket hat, a hoodie....
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: Not as obviously, extremely so as hide's work, but D.T.R. is what happens when you fuse SpaceWestern, WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs, blues rock, and metal (or take metal out of the equation for an acoustic western sounding album, which was what the acoustic album is) with the occasional ProtestSong.
* OffTheWagon: Extreme example, enough to argue that in his case, DrugsAreBad. He went from a successful career to abject poverty and homelessness, suffered a series of ongoing health problems, and had almost died on a variety of occasions leading up to his death.
* PoliceBrutality: How he likely ''actually'' died, since witnesses stated there was no evidence of hanging, and he died in US federal custody in Saipan.
* PrecisionFStrike: The lyrics to "Desperate Angel" for Music/XJapan and "So What" for D.T.R.
* RearrangeTheSong: Voiceless Screaming was rewritten countless times by Taiji.
* RockstarSong: "Easy Fight Rambling" for Music/XJapan, "So What" for D.T.R.
* {{Sampling}}: Used in his D.T.R. work (most notably in ''Cybernetic Crime'' and ''Voices From The Dead''
* SanitySlippage: 1993-1998, over which he lost his career and became TheMentallyDisturbed and severely injured. He would recover somewhat before he died, but...
* SelfServingMemory: Compare his recollection of some events in "Sei To Shi" to [[Music/YoshikiHayashi Yoshiki's]] recollection of the same events in his self-titled biography. And as an example of an endless loop, now go to Music/YoshikiHayashi and look up SelfServingMemory.
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll: Almost the perfect example of how SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll can destroy someone.
* SmokingIsCool: Somewhat averted with his health problems, though not much of an aversion, in that his health problems seemed to originate more from alcohol, less legal stimulants, and poverty.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Delinquent dropout who somehow makes it big in one of the most influential rock bands of his scene playing bass, but falls to alcohol and hard drugs? Whose bad boy image made him an iconic hero of "not selling out?" Dying a suspicious death that was most likely homicide? Quite a few similarities can be drawn to [[Music/SexPistols Sid Vicious]], except that Taiji was actually an incredibly technically talented bassist as well as the bad boy sex appeal of the bands he was in.
* SurvivorGuilt: Taiji was hit especially hard by the death of [[Music/HidetoMatsumoto hide]] who was one of his closest friends. He also played in Music/{{Loudness}} and was a friend of late drummer, Music/MunetakaHiguchi, who died of cancer November 30, 2008 - which led to his playing at both the 2009 and 2010 Munetaka Higuchi memorial shows.
* {{Tragedy}}: His life onstage and offstage would qualify as this. So much potential, so much promise, so much hope, and seemingly no way to ever make it last enough to live.
* {{Unperson}}: He was this for ''years'' (from 1992 until 1998) to both Yoshiki and the official history of Music/XJapan, though hide and Pata had both maintained their personal friendships with him quietly to some degree. Averted with his 2010 return as a guest bassist for X Japan and with his death, with his being considered the "seventh member," though he ''still'' doesn't get half of the tribute space and attention that hide does.
* WretchedHive: He died in Saipan, CNMI, which is a RealLife WretchedHive.
* {{Yakuza}}: There were and are persistent rumors of his membership, which may just be due to Japan's anti-tattoo cultural bias.