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Music / Toshimitsu Deyama

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Toshi singing for X Japan at Madison Square Garden, 2014

Toshimitsu Deyama (better known as Toshi or ToshI, born October 10, 1965) is the vocalist and co-creator of X Japan. In the 80s and early 90s, his incredible vocal abilities and his one-of-a-kind hairstyle designed by then-bassist Taiji made him one of the most distinctly recognizable metal vocalists out of Japan. He, along with Yoshiki and hide are the most well-known members of X Japan.

In 1997, Toshi decided to leave X Japan, which led to the dissolution of the band, and devote himself to "healing music" with his then-wife Kaori Moritani ("Wanku") and their religious leader Masaya. This did not end well.

His career outside of X had consisted of various collaborations/solo performances up until 1997. From his joining the Masaya sect in 1997 to his departure from it in December 2009, his solo career was solely healing music with Home of Heart, and "eco-rock" with the Masaya project T-Earth (members Toshi [v], Riku [d], Ryo [g], Kain [b].) from 2008 to 2009. It disbanded for a reason you can probably guess by this point.

Over 2006-2007, Toshi decided that he was going to help Yoshiki reunite X Japan, performing with the reunited band for the first time in 2007. He continued to perform with X Japan, while beginning the eco-rock band called "T-Earth" under Masaya's auspices, as well as releasing nearly a single a month, doing duets with other Home of Heart members and Kaori, lashing out at the sect's opponents, and working himself into a breakdown. Fans were decidedly split about his career choices and their opinions of T-Earth and the other Masaya work.

He was hospitalized, suffering from "intercostal neuralgia" and mutism as side effects from what he would later reveal to be repeated beatings, psychiatric injury, and injury to his larynx and chest muscles from physical overwork. He physically couldn't sing, all activities were put on hold until he arrived in LA for the filming of X Japan's PV Jade, where he was only supposed to move his lips from not being able to sing...

Then came the Drama Bomb and The Reveal. Originally in the form of a small, seemingly out of nowhere news report about Toshi and Kaori seeking a divorce, which was originally dismissed as rumor....until Toshi made a blog post on his Mixi (which was the only site under his control at the time) and then had a press conference, claiming that he had been misled and virtually Made a Slave by the sect, along with others. You can see video of the press conference uploaded here for first part, rest is in related videos.

For the last 12 years, according to Toshi, he was allegedly being forced into more work and more projects by Masaya, as the leader of Home of Heart allegedly took all of the proceeds from both his work with X Japan and the a-single-a-month pace of Toshi's solo/duet/T-Earth career. This led to his alleged need to depend on friends and whatever he could scrounge for almost everything including food, his allegedly being a target of surveillance in a tiny Tokyo apartment while Kaori and Masaya lived in a mansion, and his eventual mental and physical breakdown.

At the beginning of 2010, he began to sing again as his body and mind began to recover from his bad experiences, and performed doing one solo concert and with X Japan.

As of 2011, he completed bankruptcy, restarted his solo career free of Masaya as solo projects and as Toshi featuring Yoshiki, his voice is once again at top form, and he seems to be well on his way to a comeback in the Visual Kei scene. Ironically, his may be the least tragic of stories related to X Japan - while he still has some ongoing problems, he seems to be doing well...and he is one of only three surviving members of the 1987-1992 band, along with Yoshiki and Pata.

As of 2014, he is collaborating with other Visual Kei artists again in his solo career (among them Shinya of Dir en grey and the guitarist from Merry), and he has released a book entitled Brainwash about his experience in the Masaya sect and leaving it.

Provides Examples of:

  • Abomination Accusation Attack: Twice.
    • First, allegedly used by Masaya, according to him, to get him to leave his career and friends and join the sect - Masaya accused him of being evil and tainted due to his life as a rock musician.
    • The second is a Pædo Hunt rumor that pops up every now and then on 2ch Tanuki, that either accuses him of molesting children within the sect and/or of having "involvements" with young boys or young girls or both. It's almost certainly false, but it seems to endure.
  • Apple of Discord: Kaori and Masaya, when they convinced him to leave his career as a visual rock musician for their religion.
  • Ambiguously Bi / Ambiguously Gay: A hotly debated topic. He definitely participates in male/male fanservice and was one of the people who did it before it became a popular stage trick in Visual Kei (two examples from the 1990 Rose and Blood tour footage alone included his dry-humping Pata from behind during Stab Me In The Back and his embrace with Taiji during X), and his affinity for the Samurai aesthetic. On the other hand he was married for 11 years - with 10 of those lived away from his wife while she lived with their cult leader. There's been rumors of him being seen with women/getting married again - there's also been rumors of him being seen with other men. No one really knows, and both sides have enough ammunition to keep the debate going until/if he directly comes out. That said, this is a huge influence on his work - which is why the trope is listed here - in that much of his onstage performance and a large amount of his lyrics, especially in the early days of X Japan and after his departure from the Masaya sect, seem to reference attraction to men.
  • Awful Wedded Life: 10 years as a Long-Distance Relationship with a wife who was living with her religious leader.
  • Audience Participation Song: Toshi is a vocalist who definitely likes to engage the audience. He (and therefore X Japan) are rather well known for Audience Participation Songs.
  • Bad Samaritan: Kaori and Masaya both. Toshi himself became one for others while acting on behalf of Home of Heart, something he says he regrets quite much.
  • Blackmail: He alleges that he was threatened with this as a last-ditch effort to keep him from leaving the sect.
  • Blessed with Suck: See Can't Hold His Liquor below. Being unable to drink much before falling asleep actually likely stopped him from succumbing to the almost universal alcoholism and alcohol abuse in X Japan, possibly saving his life or at the very least keeping him from developing an addiction to alcohol and its additional struggle.
  • Brainwashed: Kaori and Toshi both until 2009, allegedly. Arguably, anyone in the Masaya organization. Toshi has entitled his book describing his years in the sect "Brainwashed."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Toshi, again according to himself, on his blogs until 2009. He would regularly lash out at the perceived enemies and opponents of Home of Heart, as the organization allegedly enslaved him.
  • Break Them by Talking: One of the things he claims Masaya and Kaori did to him, along with physical abuse.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Selective mutism as a result of likely PTSD and subsequent to physical injury to his vocal cords and chest for the last few months of 2009, only gaining his voice back in January 2010.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Toshi mentioned in a 2013 interview that he likes beer but falls asleep after two. This actually was good for him in at least one way - see Blessed with Suck above.
  • Careful with That Axe: Not often in studio albums and singles but more often live.
  • Cherry Blossoms: He has a 2013 solo album and title track for that album called "Cherry Blossom."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The 9/25/10 Wiltern show patter breaks.
  • Converting for Love: A good example why this is not always the best of ideas. Especially if the conversion is a condition of the "love."
  • Corporal Punishment: In his book, he claims that Home of Heart uses this on all members - adults and children, and that he was himself a victim.
  • Cover Version: Toshi covered more than a few songs in his early career up until around 1995, and has began to do covers again, including one of Billy Joel.
  • Crisis of Faith: Late 2009, when he was unable to deny any longer that Home of Heart had ruined him and literally endangered his life. He handled it by leaving and slowly beginning to rebuild his life without the sect, which he appears to have done with some success.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: One of his most common stage poses.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He alleges that Masaya and Kaori repeatedly inflicted intense beatings and other violent physical assaults, combined with intense emotional and verbal abuse. It falls under this trope because of its repeated nature and use as a tactic to break him down and keep him a compliant member of the sect.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: He claims Home of Heart did this via its intense Financial Abuse - as in, he had no money to buy food and often had to beg it from friends or others.
  • Double Entendre:
    • From his 2011 song "Hoshizora no Neptune," which is a love song for the all-important context: "I foresaw in a dream engraved beyond the hours of Uranus..."
    • The title of "Hotel D' Amour" = Love Hotel.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Closer to dysfunctional couple since no kids were involved, thankfully. The marriage consisted of one year of living together - if that - before Kaori left to live with Masaya and yet kept the Long-Distance Relationship with Toshi for the next 10 years, a relationship that consisted of making sure he was making music and money, taking said music and money, and working as Masaya's representative, making him stay in the religion out of first convincing him of its truth, then, as the years went on past 2006, extortion and blackmail and threats.
  • Easily Forgiven: His years raising money for a dangerous religious cult and his likely being involved in some way with emotional or even physical child abuse during that era are often written off. The most given rationale for this is that he was, himself, just as much of a victim as everyone else in the sect.
  • Financial Abuse: He was victimized by his ex-wife and their religious leader.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: One prominent part of his The New '10s Visual style along with...
  • Financial Abuse: He has alleged in his autobiography of his life in the Masaya sect that he was a victim of severe financial abuse inflicted by the group, to the degree of being Made a Slave.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Once he came to a local look-alike show as "rookie impersonator Toshiro" to perform "Forever Love" impersonating the 90s version of himself
  • Gaslighting: One of many means of abuse he has claimed Masaya/Home of Heart engaged in with him and others.
  • Happy Marriage Charade: He mentioned this in his press conference and elsewhere. According to him, his marriage to Kaori had become this shortly after 1998 until late 2009, when he filed for divorce.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Yoshiki for pretty much their whole lives.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: The "solo sayonara" concert held on February 24, 2010.
  • Incompatible Orientation: If he is gay or prefers men, his marriage to Kaori was this along with all the other dysfunctionality of it.
  • Incredibly Long Note: One of the masters of this in Visual Kei, and can still accomplish it on the level of much younger singers despite being in his late 40s.
  • In-Joke: ASS IN THE DARK!!!! (His pronunciation of "Earth In The Dark," one of the songs Masaya wrote for him.)
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The 2011 charity concerts tour to raise money for earthquake and tsunami victims.
    • Also horrifically inverted earlier on: he thought he was this as he fell deeper into Home of Heart and as his devotion to the sect destroyed his family relationships and friendships as well as the band.
  • Large Ham: The result of an everyday normal young man trying to be a larger than life The '80s rockstar like his BFF and his bandmates. It worked.
  • Leonine Contract: Twice.
    • His years in X Japan from 1982-1997, although it was one he agreed to out of his love for his childhood best friend and their mutual desire to make the band succeed at almost any cost to him (or to all the others).
    • Masaya/Home of Heart was even more of one, as there, he signed over all proceeds from his X Japan royalties to any money that was known he was making at all to money he didn't even have with his identity documents - all to Masaya to use as he and Kaori pleased, with zero concern for whether he even ate or lived.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: For Yoshiki.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Sadly played very straight, if he actually loved Kaori, or subverted if he was threatened with outing as gay and blackmailed into the marriage.
  • Made a Slave: He claims that this was and is Home of Heart's modus operandi toward its members, including himself. According to him, members are enslaved by the group, including intense physical, emotional, and financial abuse in said enslavement.
  • Malicious Slander: See the second Abomination Accusation Attack above, which is almost certainly this.
  • Metal Scream: One of the best Metal Screamers out there when his voice is top form and he's live...
  • Melismatic Vocals: He can do this and combine it with the Metal Scream, which creates the Last Note Nightmare on Jade for X Japan.
  • Mind Rape: His description of the process of Home of Heart membership and its results for him.
  • More than Mind Control: As expressed in the title of his book and its content, he accuses Home of Heart of having done this to him personally, as well as to its other members - it is how they accomplish the brainwashing.
  • Pædo Hunt: See Abomination Accusation Attack and Malicious Slander. A repeated (yet almost certainly false) rumor on 2ch Tanuki involves accusations that Toshi molested/molests children.
  • Painted-On Pants: Usually leather ones, as well.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: He's likely one of the shortest active vocalists in the world aside from Dir en grey's Kyo, barely above 5"5 outside of platform boots and without the assistance of the Hitler Cam and similar tricks. He is also one of the best power vocalists currently in Hard Rock / Heavy Metal.
  • Precision F-Strike: The lyrics to "Desperate Angel," his X Japan song co-written with Taiji. Some versions of ''Born to be Free," specifically live concerts and the studio single version. (In TV lives, he does a Last-Second Word Swap for "sucker" or "falcon.")
  • Punishment Box: He claims (and this was proven in other news media investigations and the like) that Home of Heart uses these. On children.
  • Ode to Sobriety: One that rode the borderline between the first and second types in "Say I Love You" from 2011. It was written for an anti-methamphetamine campaign by the Metropolitan Tokyo Police, which would put it firmly as a type two of that trope - except two of his late bandmates had been rumored to have abused the drug at points, which would make it closer to a sad type one.
  • One of Us: The English-speaking fandom of figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu often joke that no matter how much of a fanyu you are, you can't be more of a fanyu than ToshI. He collaborated with Hanyu for two of the skaters' programs during Fantasy on Ice - Crystal Memories and Masquerade. He stayed up the night before the event to make a bedazzled Winnie the Pooh shirt (Hanyu's Good Luck Charm) and tweeted often about Hanyu's competitions. He coined the nickname "Yuzu-numa" (Yuzu swamp) because once you get into the fandom, you can't get out.
  • Religion Rant Song: Airport, which is the third kind, albeit symbolically, about his feelings regarding leaving Home of Heart and beginning anew in his mid-forties.
  • Rule of Drama: A great example why all rockstars who don't want to end up in worse trouble than their Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll counterparts, instead seeking life's answers via religion, need to practice safe sects.
  • Samurai: The theme of his last "solo" concert and farewell to his solo career (before he restarted it with the money no longer going to Masaya), and one of his songs for it.
  • Scam Religion: Invoked Trope: He accuses Home of Heart/Masaya of being exactly this in his book, and his song Airport, mentioned above, is about leaving it.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Toshi is almost always wearing dark sunglasses post 1997.
  • Too Much Information: Also undoubtedly the 09/25/10 Wiltern show MC to some (although not to others), either as a result of his performing a "Blind Idiot" Translation on his own remarks or his coming out of the closet onstage.
  • Trauma Button: Yoshiki's dark and depressing lyrics were this for him, enough to worsen his depression and sense of social disconnection, which made him easy pickings for Home of Heart when Kaori promised it would heal his mind and make him a better person.
  • Uranus Is Showing: "Hoshizora No Neptune"/"Neptune of the Starlit Sky," a Silly Love Song with the following:
    I send to you from my heart as a diamond's glare
    The everlasting glow of the planet is the Neptune of the star lit sky
    I foresaw in a dream engraved beyond the hours of Uranus
    my one and only prayer held within my heart
  • Visual Kei: One of the Trope Makers in The '80s and The '90s. He entirely dropped the style and the scene, denouncing it as evil, around 1996 (when he became more involved with Masaya's sect). As of 2008, he adopted the style again for performances, but more in a more "wealthy Western rockstar" look than a return to Visual Shock, though around 2013 and onward, he's thrown himself back into the style completely and is one of its most notable figures, often organizing jam band shows and appearing with other visual artists.
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: Not often (because he has one of the widest ranges for active vocalists), but sometimes does happen to him. One of the saddest examples was 1997 Last Live for X Japan, where he was often crying too much to sing properly, and a more recent example was when he was slightly off-form at X Japan's A-Nation performance of Born To Be Free.
    • Also occasionally happens 2008 and onward when he tries for the Metal Scream and hasn't prepared himself properly (due to falling out of practice for so many years and due to being a smoker) - the result sounds like a chicken or parrot screeching, as opposed to what he's going for.