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Music / X Japan

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Related Acts - members:
  • Globe, V2, Violet UK (Yoshiki, see more on Yoshiki Hayashi)
  • S.K.I.N. (Yoshiki)
  • Toshi solo works (Toshi)
  • hide solo band works (hide, Pata)
  • Dope Headz (Pata and Heath)
  • Pata solo works and Ra:IN (Pata)
  • Paranoia (Heath)
  • Loudness from 92-94, D.T.R., Kings, Otokaze, The Killing Red Addiction, Taiji With Heaven's (Taiji)
  • Luna Sea, The Flare, Sugizo and the Spank Your Juice, various unnamed solo works (Sugizo)

"Psychedelic Violence / Crime Of Visual Shock"
—X Japan band concept

X Japan is a Japanese rock band founded in 1982 by schoolmates Yoshiki Hayashi and Toshimitsu 'Toshi' Deyama. In the earlier years of their career they mostly played a hybrid of Thrash Metal, Hair Metal and Power Metal alongside some ballads, but in later years they shifted to a more progressive/experimental sound. They were not the first Visual Kei band, but they were certainly one of the movement's pioneers, and it is widely claimed that it was bandleader Yoshiki who is the Trope Namer for Visual Kei. X Japan are notable for becoming one of the first Japanese acts to gain notable success whilst being on an independent label, as well as the gravity-defying hair they sported in their earlier years (although in the early 90's the band began to wind down it's visual look, and by the time of the split in 1997, only hide's shocking pink hair remained.)

The band's membership has remained fairly consistent throughout, although in the very early days when X Japan, then just X, were touring locally, there was a spurt of support members. When the band reached the spotlight in the late 1980's, they had settled on a consistent lineup, and got through the next decade or so with only one change- bassist Taiji was replaced with Heath. Unusually, the bandleader was not a singer or guitarist, but pianist and drummer Yoshiki, who wrote most of the music and lyrics, and who had more or less total creative control over X Japan's direction. In the 80s, they were also the first Visual Kei band to appear in an American film (and may still be the only one to have done so): they appeared in a short scene in Tokyo Pop.

By the mid to late 1990's, X Japan had garnered huge popularity, and were filling enormous venues, but in 1997 they decided to split. The band members were more interested in their solo careers with hide's solo career becoming more popular, and when Toshi denounced the band and left because it was against his religion at the time, the other members chose to disband rather than replace him. Whatever had gone on, it was clear that there had been conflict somewhere along the line, because during the band's last live performance together, Yoshiki hugged Toshi, then later revealed that the hug had originally meant to be a punch.

After the split, the band went off in different directions. Toshi turned to performing 'healing music' on behalf of Home of Heart, Yoshiki set up a new project Violet UK, hide continued work with his solo band and became a founding member of the American band Zilch, and Pata and Heath, after a decent sized hiatus, developed some solo work. Yoshiki and hide were making plans to reunite the band in 2000 with hide as the lead vocalist instead of Toshi. However, in 1998, disaster struck - hide was found having allegedly committed suicide. An ambulance was called, but it was too late, and hide died on the way to the hospital.

Despite this tragedy, in 2007 a reunion was announced, with several support guitarists, and eventually ex Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo taking over from hide. Three new songs were penned for X Japan, one of which, 'IV', was used for the end credits of the 'Saw IV' film. The other two are a vocal version of 'Without You' and a rock song called 'Jade,' which Yoshiki credited to hide's inspiration. A world tour was announced for 2008 and 2009, although it was later canceled due to a worsening of Yoshiki's neck injury that demanded emergency surgery. Updates in August 2009 suggested an album will be released by the end of 2009, then updates in 2010 suggested then... though due to other happenings that production date has been moved to spring 2011... then to spring 2012... then to who knows when, though it is 98% Complete!

Vocalist Toshi developed intercostal neuralgia around November 2009 and was unable to sing or tour as a result until 2010. Later, it would be known that this was due to his life situation's stress at the time. Meanwhile, Yoshiki's recovery and rehabilitation from his neck surgery continued and continues. The band's projects including the new album and any tours, therefore, were on hiatus until their promotional video shoot in Hollywood January 9th 2010, which was held on top of the Hollywood and Highland mall and open to the public.

Toshi announced in a subsequent press conference that he had left his religion, and accused its leader and his ex-wife of taking all his income for over 12 years, filing fraudulent tax returns and taking out loans in his name without his knowledge. For a while, Masaya still owned many of Toshi's official properties and necessitated that Toshi change his stage name to Tosh1 as well as not have his own online sites for around a year until the legal matters were settled.

In 2010, the band played Toshi's, ahem, Tosh1's, "solo sayonara" show to raise money for him in Tokyo on February 24th, and recorded a new video since then as well as making several public appearances. X Japan played a set at the 2010 Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, and has also played an outdoor 2-day live at Yokohama's Nissan Stadium in Japan. Taiji Sawada rejoined the band then as a second bassist, but played no further gigs with them despite plans to do so...

The band began a successful North American tour on September 25, 2010, playing in Los Angeles on that night, then going to Oakland, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Chicago, Toronto, and New York City. Almost all venues were sold out. Later, it would be revealed that Yoshiki had been in incredibly poor health for most of the tour and it was "miraculous" that he managed to play all of the scheduled gigs.

On July 17, 2011, Taiji Sawada, the former bassist who reunited with them for the Yokohama 2010 gigs, allegedly committed suicide in Saipan in the CNMI. Except he may have not committed suicide, but could have been a murder victim, and no one really knows except for him and whoever else was directly involved.

The band is still working on the album projected for an unknown date, allegedly. They completed a successful world tour in 2011, including gigs in South Korea, China, and Thailand. They are also very active in charity work related to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and the Thailand floods of 2011, auctioning off goods, donating large sums of money, and occasionally doing relief work themselves.

The band has won the Best International Band award via fan vote in 2012 at the Revolver Magazine Golden Gods Awards, defeating Rammstein, Lacuna Coil, Meshuggah, Behemoth, and Sepultura in the vote. Yoshiki Hayashi has become the composer of note for the 2012 and 2013 Golden Globes, which is more detailed on his page.

A new Greatest Hits Album was released as of 2014 called X Japan - The World, while they announced a new stylistic look. They would later hold a concert in October 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York - the very venue they had tried to introduce themselves to the Western world at back in The '90s.

In 2015, the band announced their new album in twenty years, as well as a documentary about the band, slated for a March 2016 release and to be premiered at the Wembley Arena in London. Instead, it was premiered at the Sundance film festival in January 2016, and will premiere globally on October 21, 2016.

The Wembley Arena show slated for 2016 was canceled and moved to 2017, due to Pata's suffering life-threatening complications of alcoholism (liver and gastrointestinal damage including portal thrombosis and diverticulitis). The album was also delayed once more, with a release date pending. The band is once again active as of 2016 with Pata's successful recovery, planning three shows slated for the Visual Japan Summit (a three-day visual kei festival in Japan), as well as a series of solo events for Yoshiki.

On November 7, 2023, it was announced that bassist Heath passed away from cancer last October 2023 at the age of 55.

Predominant Members

  • Toshi- Vocals, occasionally guitar (on Voiceless Screaming, on a cover of KISS's "Hard Luck Woman", and in his solo work). Can play piano and has done solo piano duets with Yoshiki.
  • Yoshiki - Drums, piano, keyboards, bandleader, can play guitar to a limited degree but has done so rarely.
  • Sugizo - Guitar, violin.
  • hide - Guitar, backing vocals, deceased 1998
  • Pata - Guitar, very rare backing vocals, very rare bass in their cover of T. Rex's "20th Century Boy".
  • Heath - Bass single instrument player. Deceased 2023
  • Taiji - Bass, lead guitar on Voiceless Screaming, rare backing vocals. Deceased 2011.

Significant Ex-Members

Guest Members:

Not a member but deserves major honorary mention

  • Soichiro "Ume" Umemura - Vocalist of Tokyo Yankees, but in X Japan's early days as X, he was "that tall blonde roadie". Can be seen in footage of pretty much every tour up to 1993 (he makes an appearance onstage in Chi to Bara/Rose and Blood to carry a fainted Yoshiki off, and he can be seen prominently in Violence in Jealousy and On The Verge of Destruction footage among others). Deceased 2007.
  • I.N.A. - Worked with X Japan as a mixer and programmer before becoming a member of hide's solo backup band. Still works with X Japan and often blogs about their tours. Chief programmer for hide's solo works and worked with other side projects Zilch and Dope HEA Dz. Was the primary creator and operator of the hologram of hide for the 2008-09 shows, which kind of makes him a performing member of X Japan in his own way.

Studio Albums

  • Vanishing Vision - 1988
  • Blue Blood - 1989
  • Jealousy - 1991
  • Art of Life - 1993
  • Dahlia - 1996
  • X Japan The World - 2014, a "best of" Greatest Hits Album / compilation consisting of tracks from other albums, and a live version of the single "Without You"
  • X Japan - Revives Records - 2015, another Greatest Hits Album, potentially the first half of the long-awaited post-reunion album.


  • "I'll Kill You" - 1985
  • "Orgasm" - 1986
  • "Kurenai" - 1989
  • "Endless Rain" - 1989
  • "Week End" - 1990
  • "Silent Jealousy" - 1991
  • "Standing Sex" - 1991 (One of the only songs not to appear on a studio album: it is restricted to the single and to live performances.)
  • "Say Anything" - 1991
  • "Tears" - 1993
  • "Rusty Nail" - 1994
  • "Longing" - 1995
  • "Dahlia" - 1996
  • "Forever Love" - 1996
  • "Crucify My Love" - 1996
  • "Scars" - 1996
  • "The Last Song" - 1998
  • "I.V." - 2007 (in Saw IV) 2008 (on Itunes)
  • "Without You," - began to appear in 2002 as Yoshiki's solo song, officially began to be played as an X Japan song around 2008-09
  • "Jade" - 2009 debut, complete single debut in 2011
  • "Born To Be Free" - 2010, complete studio single released in 2015
  • "You With Crystal Piano" - 2010 (available on Toshi's myspace, released on a Toshi solo album and not as XJapan)
  • "Scarlet Love Song" - 2011 (theme song for the Osamu Tezuka film "Buddha")
  • "Hero" - 2014 (A case of Rearrange the Song: originally theme song for Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary, became a Violet UK song, then was debuted as an X Japan version in a 2014 "surprise video shoot" in Japan, became a part of X Japan's concert setlist at Yokohama 2014. Violet UK version is officially released on the film soundtrack. X Japan version still does not have a complete studio version released.)
  • "Beneath The Skin" - 2014 (Another case of Rearrange the Song - this one was written by Sugizo and Yoshiki for the failed superband S.K.I.N. in the mid 2000s. The X Japan version debuted at the 2014 Yokohama Arena shows adds lyrics, changes most lyrics to English, adds a drum section by Yoshiki, increases the speed/tempo of the song, and obviously has Toshi as the vocalist rather than GACKT.
  • "Born to Be Free" - 2015

The Movie:

We Are X - 2016, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. A promotional piece/ documentary about the band which focuses on Yoshiki and glosses over some of the past issues and the like, but which seems to have been somewhat well received both among fans and non-fans who saw it.

Related Bands

A full list of the bands signed by Yoshiki and hide during the days of Extasy Records as an indies label can be found at Extasy Records. It used to be listed in this article, but due to the creation of that article and the formatting issues it presents here as a floatbox, it's been moved.

Useful Notes relevant to XJapan:

Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse | The '80s | Los Angeles | Japan | Heavy Metal | Names in Japanese | The '90s | Punk | Suicide | The New '10s

XJapan's Music Provides Examples of:

  • Ace Custom: The musical version: The Extasy Records studio, which can be and has been used for many artists, but is specifically customized for X Japan, Violet UK, and Yoshiki's solo works. Yoshiki's acrylic "crystal" drum kit and piano, and his drum configuration. Taiji's bass setup. hide's guitars. Sugizo has a few guitars and one violin that are this, as well.
  • Advertising Disguised as News: For a while at the beginning in Japan they used variants: getting interviewed whenever they could for any reason possible, getting on shows for any reason possible, and even staging performances and "inviting" the media to attend (usually without the entire news organization knowing they were covering a staged, planned performance until they already had), the most famous of these being ORGASM at YASHIRO NOODLE SHOP. They tried it again in 2010-11 with Yoshiki making a few US TV appearances (around the Lollapalooza tour then over his charity efforts for the Tohoku quake) but, due to the increased presence of PR and staging that made it look even more fake, it only appealed to fans.
  • After the End / Alien Invasion: The theme of the 1994 anime Rusty Nail PV. In a destroyed world under attack by aliens, Toshi's and Pata's and Heath's characters are fighting for La Résistance against the aliens, where hide's character is their representative, controlled by a Hypno Trinket eye. Yoshiki's character is Crystal Dragon Jesus and the only one who can get hide's character out of his Meat Puppet status and end the invasion, drawn back to the destroyed earth by Toshi's character's prayer for help...
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Taiji in the Celebration PV.. along with one on his lap.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: In the 2010 Jade music video, Yoshiki becomes a werewolf.
  • Amen break: At least used by Yoshiki (obvious, his being the drummer)
  • Annoying Arrows: Played straight and then averted in what exists of the 2010 Kurenai PV footage (the pachinko clips) - in one of its alternate endings, Yoshiki catches a flaming arrow in his hand saving the princess from it. In another, he takes an arrow through the shoulder - which causes him to collapse and die inside the burning castle.
  • Anorgasmia: It's possible that this is referred to in the lyrics of Orgasm, along with, obviously, it and the song being an aversion of the trope.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: The 1987-93 live concert intro, delivered in Toshi's best Metal Scream: "ALL RIGHT YOU MOTHERFUCKERRRSSSSSS!!!", later replaced with a different intro, though it would reappear once, in the 2008-09 countdown gig.
  • Audience Participation Song: Kurenai, at least during the last live.
    • "X" And its most legendary participation, the X jump? Millions of fans doing it at the same time = 2.0 earthquake.
    • In the 2008 and 2009 lives, it was "Tears" and "X."
    • In 2010, "IV," "Endless Rain", and "X".
    • In 2014, almost every other song.
  • Avant-Garde Metal: Their style, pretty much all along, has been fusing genres of metal, rock, and neo-classical music that purists would say have absolute zero place with each other. It's Crazy Enough to Work.
  • Ax-Crazy: A recurring theme (possibly due to Author Appeal - Yoshiki, hide, Taiji, and Toshi all suffered from mental illness to varying degrees) in X Japan's lyrics. If they're not inside the mind of someone who is Ax-Crazy ("Stop Bloody Rain," "I'll Kill You," "Kurenai," and "Week End") they're a deconstruction of Ax-Crazy ("Week End"), exploring the boundary between sanity and Ax-Crazy ("Art of Life") or telling the story of someone who is Ax-Crazy ("Rose of Pain.")
  • Badass Driver: Subverted in the 2010 version of the Rusty Nail PV. Toshi looks like he's going to be the Badass Driver, until his self-driving car hits LA traffic (in the future, some things never change, after all...), but it's Heath, playing the role of the Badass Biker, that gets him to where he's going.
  • Badass Biker: Heath played the role in the 2010 Rusty Nail PV as a Call-Back to his predecessor as a bassist.
  • Blood Bath: The song "Rose of Pain" from their album Blue Blood is about the Trope Namer Elizabeth Báthory and hints at this practice.
  • Booze Flamethrower: Taiji did this in the ORGASM at Yashiro Noodle Shop demo/PV/media attention seeking bid. Both Taiji and hide did it onstage in the early days of the band. There is in fact some 1987-88 concert footage of Taiji and hide actually both doing it at the same time in a classic stunt to create an "X" with the flames.
  • Bound and Gagged: Yoshiki, although bound and blindfolded, not gagged, in White Poem PV and live.
  • Break-Up Song: Silent Jealousy, Say Anything, and along with being a sad love song, Crucify My Love
  • BSoD Song: Two. "Art of Life" is the most famous, as it is Yoshiki's. "Drain" is arguable, but some see it as the beginning of hide's fall into a spiral of depression and self-harming behavior...
  • Careful with That Axe: Toshi in live performance, though not on studio albums for the most part. In some intros to "Sadistic Desire," hide on backing vocals.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: The band until roughly 2011, when Pata dropped Visual Kei as a style.
  • Cool Bike: These have made a few appearances in PV:
    • Courtesy of Taiji Sawada, you have the old-style Honda (e.g. no fiberglass casing) bike in Week End PV, and the Harley in Celebration PV.
    • In the 2010 Rusty Nail PV, Heath has a Honda sportbike.
  • Cool Car: The self-driving Maserati in 2010 Rusty Nail PV. The real car actually belongs to Yoshiki, though it is obviously not self-driving.
  • Cover Version: Their very first song as a band (while still consisting of Yoshiki and Toshi alone) was "In The Mirror" by Loudness. More covers in their early days as a band (including, but not limited to, "Anarchy In The UK," "20th Century Boy" (which is probably their most famous cover since it was performed with Kurenai as the B-side to the Kurenai single and in at least one show and one TV appearance), "Ode To Joy/Beethoven's 9th" (also a very famous cover due to its being a part of many performances of a certain more well known song), "Black Diamond," Hanoi Rocks's '"Tragedy," and more.)
  • Darker and Edgier: When they debuted in 1987, they were this to pretty much all of the Japanese music industry. There was a reason that Yoshiki had to make his own label for the band - no other label would take them until they proved that people really wanted to hear them and see them despite their not being bubblegum pop and, at the time, being part of a scary underground scene no one understood with connections to delinquents, overemotional and over the top displays, and songs about sex, drugs, violence, and all three in combination. It took them until 1989 to get their first major label signing with Sony/Columbia for Blue Blood, and even for a short while after hitting the mainstream they were still seen as this, only completely beginning to lighten and soften once Taiji left the band and once artists such as Kuroyume cornered more extreme lyrics and actions. While very few would consider them this as of The New '10s (both because many of the most shocking things they did are normal for rockers and metal artists at least now, and because they have gone Lighter and Softer), it was their being this way in their time that paved the way for modern Darker and Edgier acts such as Dir en grey and The Gazette.
    • The cover of the Born To Be Free single is so, compared to any of their post 2008 work.
  • Decapitated Army: In the 1994 anime Rusty Nail PV, the only time the alien invasion in the postapocalypse world is defeated is when hide's character's control eye is broken, and the one-eyed monster using him as the target is turned into roses via Yoshiki's character's throwing roses at it.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • In the lyrics of Endless Rain, the singer makes an implied one to his lover.
    • In the 1994 anime Rusty Nail PV, Toshi's character to the girl he saved and Yoshiki's character to hide's character.
  • Despair Event Horizon: A common theme in the band's lyrics and videos: the concept of reaching the Despair Event Horizon and going beyond, either into Ax-Crazy or into survival.
  • Deus ex Machina: Yoshiki in the 1994 and 2010 Rusty Nail PV s. Played with in two ways in the 2010 Kurenai PV: played straight in one ending, where he rescues the princess in the castle by appearing and fighting his way out with her, averted in another where he gets shot by an arrow and becomes a Failure Hero in a Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Diabolus ex Machina:
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: In one PV there is a scene that is either director's cut or outtake (no one knows for sure) that was one thing that fueled the Taiji/Yoshiki ship - a bed scene showing an equally angry and pleased Taiji leaving the bedroom where Yoshiki lay in bed.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted, for the most part. The band's popularity outside of Japan actually happened as a result of piracy and copying: first via underground DJs in China and Thailand and other Asian countries who happily pirated and played their work, then globally via the Internet and especially YouTube, where their music and visuals really stood out and gained a lot of attention. Yoshiki knows this, and as a result is very lax on even complaining about piracy and has even gone out of his way to encourage "semi-official" bootlegs and has not gone out of his way to get video footage removed from YouTube.
    • Played straight, however, by some of the other companies involved such as TV broadcasters who've done their interviews and the like. This is why there is an effort to download and duplicate interviews and appearances and the like, because some very interesting footage has disappeared this way, including the interview where Taiji was beyond high and attacking the station mascot and having giggle fits, and the appearance where a fangirl asked Toshi to sign her dildo.
    • Played straight to a laughable degree by EMI, which managed to delete the Jade PV off X Japan's own Youtube channel for copyright violation. Which led to the ironic situation of anyone who wanted to see it or link to it having to link to actually pirated versions until someone made them aware of their error.
  • Distressed Dude: Yoshiki, in quite a few PVs and in one live (White Poem II)
  • Disturbed Doves: Sugizo stirs up a flock of these in Rusty Nail 2010 version, in a scene seen as him paying tribute to hide.
  • Dominatrix: These appeared in White Poem PV and live.
  • Double Entendre: Quite a few. That said, the songs in which they are included are often incredibly lacking in any subtlety at all.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The videos for "Week End" and "Jade.". Also happens in live shows and pretty much elsewhere
  • Dramatic Wind: Makes appearances in the 2010 Rusty Nail PV, most notably in Yoshiki's scene of walking to and from the helicopter and in Sugizo's doves scene.
  • Driven to Suicide: Yoshiki in the original Kurenai PV, Yoshiki and hide in the Week End PV, Yoshiki in the Silent Jealousy PV.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In the Week End PV, Pata. In 2010 Rusty Nail Toshi in a different sense - trying to numb himself to the boredom of his Gilded Cage..
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: "Week End." The song's chorus is about the suicidal/homicidal narrator being at "his wit's end" and "at the world's end" due to Yoshiki's odd wordplay. It makes sense, though: the idea being, "the end of a life" is indeed the "end of the world." For who's dying, anyway....
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: Implied in the "future Los Angeles" of Rusty Nail 2010. A bit Lighter and Softer than the original anime Rusty Nail PV, which was set After the End during an Alien Invasion as mentioned above.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The one-eyed monster alien and its minions in 1994 Rusty Nail PV.
  • Epic Rocking: Art Of Life is the band's most extreme example, its full version clocking in at 29 minutes (33 in one live version). Orgasm and X live (usually around 15-30 min for the former, 10-12 min for the latter though both's studio versions are ordinary length for rock songs), and Rose of Pain full version (10-11 minutes) all are as well.
  • Everybody Smokes: Cigarettes show up in their videos and lives and the like a lot, which does give them a dated look when they do, since many modern bands at least try to keep it off camera for either their own feelings in the matter or not wanting to upset Moral Guardians.
  • Fanservice: It exists.
  • Finger Gun: Both Taiji and hide would use this gesture in PVs and onstage.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Yoshiki plays into this a lot.
  • Gadget Watches: Sugizo has one in Rusty Nail 2010 version.
  • Gasshole: A small meme once originated about Yoshiki being one, because of a pic that captured a pyro going off behind him that looked as if he was blasting fire from his ass and because of his love for McDonald's.
  • Genre Roulette: They've been thrash metal, speed metal, Visual Kei, Post-Visual Kei, Visual Kei again, glam metal, Gothic Metal, Goth Rock... as the band themselves says, no label is sufficient enough for them.
  • Gilded Cage / Lotus-Eater Machine: The "Luxury Life" segment of Rusty Nail 2010 - Toshi is stuck in one of these. It's a subverted Shout-Out as well - he was living in a situation that was anything but a Gilded Cage and yet trapped in that living situation the same way, in Real Life.
  • Going Commando: There's some onstage pics of nearly all the members that look like they were doing this at one point or another. Most infamously, Toshi at one 2009 gig where this apparently combined with Raging Stiffie, and Heath at Lollapalooza 2010.
  • Gratuitous English: Happened a lot in the early days due to Toshi not a having a very good grasp on English yet (and also because hide and Yoshiki's lyrics weren't exactly very good English, either). Reaches Narmful levels with hide's conversation with Cinderella in the PV for "Celebration".
    hide: You wanna free damn?
    Cinderella: Yes!
    hide: Ret's go to Hebble!
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Inverted in Art of Life with "all I see is drowning in cold gray sand..."
  • Greatest Hits Album: more than one.
  • Grief Song: Tears, which was written for Yoshiki's father who committed suicide when Yoshiki was 10. Without You and Jade are both written for late guitarist and Yoshiki's best friend hide.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: The theme of Art of Life, which is both the band's and Yoshiki's magnum opus and one of their most life-affirming songs.
  • Heavy Meta: See "Easy Fight Rambling" and arguably "Desperate Angel." "Joker" could arguably be this, if some of the song's lines do indeed refer to mitsukano Compensated Dating exchanges in Visual Kei.
  • High-Class Gloves: Yoshiki and Heath have worn these on occasion.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Yoshiki in the 2010 Kurenai pachinko vid.
  • Horrible History Metal: Rose of Pain, about Elizabeth Báthory.
  • Iconic Item:
    • Yoshiki's clear Plexiglas grand piano. After the 2011 tsunami, he auctioned one off for over $200,000 to raise money for relief efforts.
    • hide's yellow, heart-covered guitar.
    • The KB-Criminal bass that was designed for Taiji by Killer Guitars.
  • I'll Kill You!: The band's very first song (see the discography above).
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Played straight sometimes, averted others. Often dependent on performance.
  • Intercourse with You: Many songs, especially before 1993.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Sadistic Desire, 'White Poem.''
  • Instrumentals: Most of the band's albums include at least one, with "Dear Loser", "XClamation", and "Piano En Es Dur" being entirely instrumental and "Give Me the Pleasure", "Prologue - World Anthem", and "Love Replica" only containing brief spoken word parts.
  • Language Barrier: One reason the band didn't take off outside of Japan until the mid 2000s and its boost from piracy and more open-minded fans, despite being on par with the Big Four metal bands in The '80s: many Western metalheads of the time just couldn't get their heads around a heavy Japanese accent (which was why Loudness and Show Ya didn't do very well in the West either) much less lyrics that weren't in English.
  • Large Ham Title: Blue Blood, Rose of Pain, and Art of Life all could be considered Large Ham Titles
  • Last Note Nightmare: 'Jade.' 'I.V.' could also qualify.
  • Laughing Mad: hide. 1992 On The Verge Of Destruction hide no heya/hide's room. That weird, chilling laugh is possibly the inspiration for Kefka, and it adds to the eerie atmosphere of the guitar solo and scene. Possibly actually was made on drugs (or at least lots of alcohol).
  • Lead Bassist: Taiji, back in the 80s and early 90s.
  • Lighter and Softer: The band has seemed to self-censor itself slightly since the reunion, aside from Toshi going off-script with Too Much Information or Yoshiki's love of the Precision F-Strike. Most if not all of the Intercourse with You and BDSM songs are not performed live anymore, and while some of this is most likely due to physical capacity (e.g. Stab Me In The Back and Standing Sex both require drumming that would likely leave Yoshiki in the hospital if he tried it at this point) there may be other reasons as well.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Inverted in the Dahlia PV - the imprisoning machine gave the girl nightmares of torture and suffering and pain until she broke away from it.
  • Loud of War: Used in the Celebration PV song with the piano solo. Damn.
  • Masquerade Ball: What exists of a non-live PV for Jade is this.
  • Melismatic Vocals: Toshi is quite capable of this, and can also easily combine it with the Metal Scream. This combination created the Last Note Nightmare on Jade.
  • Metal Scream: Quite a few songs, most common in live.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Toshi sometimes does this onstage.
  • Misogyny Song: "Sadistic Desire" and "Vanishing Love." Possibly "Standing Sex," if you take the more heterosexual interpretation of it as opposed to the "rough sex between men" interpretation.
  • Monster Misogyny: The POV of the subject of Sadistic Desire. Played for titillation, which is what made the song a Misogyny Song. (Although, some people just don't care about what the lyrics mean...)
  • Mooning: There is one very old black and white newspaper pic where Taiji and Yoshiki mooned the reporters.
  • Moral Guardians: A straw moral guardian is parodied in Celebration, although the young age of the kid the parent is guarding actually makes the parody fall flat.
  • Motor Mouth: hide on backing vocals in some songs and some of his hide no heya/hide's room performances.
  • Murder Ballad: Week End. The lyrics are about a murder-suicide from the point of view of the ones committing them, and the music video consists of all of the band members dying in various ways. Bolivian Army Ending, Downer Ending, Everybody's Dead, Dave are all invoked in the universe of the PV.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: Sadistic Desire, which is this trope from the murderer/rapist's POV.
  • My Nayme Is: Overlaps with Stage Names for hide, Pata, Sugizo. Taiji, who went by that name as a nickname offstage as well, rather than his birth name Yasuda.
  • Narm: The announer playing over the loudspeaker during the World Tour: Live In Tokyo 2009 gig says this rather ridiculous line seemingly out of nowhere. (In Harsh Vocals):
    • The entire sketch that opens the Celebration video. It somehow manages to be even narmier than the Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It" video that so obviously inspired it.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Both averted and played straight. Averted in that Taiji and Heath both have large and dedicated fan bases. Played straight in that large portions of the Taiji fanbase dislike Heath, and that some Heath fans don't like Taiji or Taiji fans much.
  • Ode to Intoxication: Easy Fight Rambling, Joker, Standing Sex, the non gay sex Jealousy version of Stab Me In The Back, at least...
  • One-Letter Name: The used to be known only as "X".
  • One-Mario Limit: Musicians named Yoshiki or Hideto in Japan usually need to alter their names, e.g. to Hyde or hide-zou rather than hide, or Yoshiki (last name) rather than just YOSHIKI, to avoid confusion.
  • One-Steve Limit: The possible reason why they haven't been going just by X since the late 80's/early 90's, to avoid confusion with X the American punk rock band — who allegedly sued them over the name and forced the name change, although they deny doing so.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the old concert open, in the lyrics for "Desperate Angel" and "Born To Be Free," and in backing vocals for "Joker."
  • Putting on the Reich: Three band members have done this, although more often in photoshoots or the like (where hide and Sugizo tended to do so)
  • Rage Against the Reflection: In hide's part of the Week End PV.
  • Rearrange the Song: Yoshiki really likes "Silent Jealousy" and has rearranged it at least twice for side projects, among other songs...
  • Revolving Door Band: While their lineup eventually stabilized, the band rotated musicians very frequently in their early days. To put things into prespective, hide and Pata were the band's 10th and 11th guitarists, respectively, and Taiji was briefly a member in 1985 before rejoining for a more permanent position from 1986 to 1992.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Easy Fight Rambling."
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training:
  • Sanity Slippage: A common theme in lyrics, accentuated by music or the lyrics/singing "falling apart." Rose of Pain, Voiceless Screaming, Art of Life, Drain are all major examples, though there are many more.
  • Self-Harm: Quite a few of their songs and PVs depict or imply Self-Harm or the intentional seeking of injury/pain. The most visually explicit would be the PV for Week End or White Poem, and the most lyrically explicit direct reference to self-harm would be in the 2014 song Hero, with a direct reference to cutting.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: A fairly large portion of early X's musical output (including, among others, Orgasm, (which may even be about both if the part about trying and failing for it is a reference to one of MDMA's more notorious effects) Stab Me In The Back, Joker, Vanishing Love, and Standing Sex), and the band members' personal lives, especially in regard to hide and Taiji.
  • Shout-Out: Yoshiki started out as a KISS fan, as did hide. There are therefore a fair amount of KISS shoutouts in X Japan, as well as shoutouts to other Western metal, rock, glam, and punk bands....
  • Signature Style: Early on, they played a hybrid of extreme Thrash Metal and Hair Metal, which, during The '80s, would have caught metalheads off-guard, as both genres were seen as polar opposites and therefore very difficult, if not, nigh-impossible to combine. From Art Of Life onwards, they changed their musical stylings in favor of a more progressive sound that still features their established glam-inspired thrash, but now in Uncommon Time and with neoclassical passages (and sometimes, ballad passages) thrown in.
  • Something about a Rose: Roses (and thorns) are a favorite metaphor of Yoshiki's, appearing in many songs.
    • In the 1994 anime PV for Rusty Nail, Yoshiki's anime avatar used roses as his weapon.
  • Spiritual Successor: They're regarded as the Japanese answer to Judas Priest.
    • Their non-Japanese fandom community has drawn comparisons to being a fusion of the KISS Army with Deadheads, with the propensity of fans to follow the band literally around the world or around their countries, for the sheer amount of fan creations and fan support and fan devotion in general, and for the fan communities that fans on similar sides of the various broken bases/able to overcome their differences create.
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: The original and single and live version of Stab Me In The Back, which is about male/male sex. (The album version on Jealousy has the lyrics changed to be more ambiguous and about sex on drugs.)
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: One of the "Hanako"/"toilet ghost"/"well ghost" type can be found in the Silent Jealousy PV, though a slight subversion in that her hair is long and curly not straight.
  • Talky Bookends: The video for Celebration.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Zigzagged but mostly played straight over the 2008 reunion and forward, which used to have songs such as Stab Me In The Back, Orgasm, Standing Sex, and the like - as well as lots of onstage man-on-man fanservice - as a regular feature of the setlist for almost all live shows. Post 2008, Orgasm was the only one to remain in the setlist (and only then for certain shows for the full version - the gigs outside Japan didn't even feature the full version, if they featured it at all), and most of the homoerotic fanservice became more of the Witty Banter and Call-Back variety.
  • Try Not to Die: In the lyrics of "Born To Be Free."
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The original one for "IV." Justified in that the song was the closing song to Saw IV.
  • Virtual Ghost: hide's hologram in the 2008-2009 performances.
    • Also for Yoshiki in the 2010 North American Tour, as mentioned above.