Written by Jack Herbert
Ill-fated visual-style rock kooks
X Japan (known simply as 'X' in Japan) were the founders of the eye-catching Visual-Kei ("visual style") rock movement.
The band was formed in 1976 by 12-year-olds Yoshiki (drums) and Toshi (vocals). By the time they released their first single, 'Orgasm', in 1987, they had added two guitarists (hide, Pata) and a bassist (Taiji) to the line-up.
Typically for a Japanese rock band, X Japan's music was very diverse - ranging from abrasive speed metal to romantic piano ballads.
In May 1997, Toshi left the band after he joined a cult. The band broke up in September and hide formed the imaginatively-named band, 'hide with Spread Beaver'.
On May 2nd, 2000, hide was found dead in his apartment - hung from a doorknob with a towel. It is still a mystery whether this was a very imaginative suicide or murder (for which there are no apparent motives), or a very unfortunate accident.