Toshi (musician)

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Toshi
X Japan 20100704 Japan Expo 30.jpg
Toshi in Paris 2010
Background information
Birth name Toshimitsu Deyama
Also known as Toshi
Born (1965-10-10) October 10, 1965 (age 49)
Tateyama, Chiba, Japan
Genres Rock, heavy metal, pop
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1977–present
Labels BMG Victor, Home of Heart, Bishi Bishi (EU)
Associated acts X Japan, ToshI feat. Yoshiki, Toshi with T-Earth, Toshi with Night Hawks, Dynamite, Noise
Website toshi-samuraijapan.com

Toshimitsu Deyama (出山利三 Deyama Toshimitsu?, born October 10, 1965 in Tateyama, Chiba), known exclusively by his stage name Toshi,[Note 1] is a Japanese singer-songwriter. He is best known as vocalist and co-founder of the heavy metal band X Japan, which disbanded in 1997. Toshi then went on to have an extensive solo career. In 2007, X Japan reunited and began an ongoing world tour in 2010.

History[edit]

1982–93: X Japan[edit]

Main article: X Japan

In 1977, Toshi and his childhood friend Yoshiki formed a band called Dynamite in their hometown of Tateyama, Chiba, when they were just 11 years old. The group changed its name to Noise in 1978, while they were still in high school. At this time Toshi was a guitar player; it was following the departure of their vocalist that Toshi was selected for the position after being deemed the best singer left in the group.[1] In 1982, Noise disbanded and Yoshiki and Toshi formed a new band, they named it X while they tried to think of another name, but the name stuck. X began to actively perform in the Tokyo area in 1985 with a frequently changing lineup. They released their first album Vanishing Vision, through Yoshiki's own Extasy Records, in 1988 and toured extensively in support of the record. They would become one of the first Japanese acts to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label,[2] and later widely credited as one of the pioneers of visual kei.[3][4]

X 's major label debut album, Blue Blood, was released in April 1989 and debuted at number six on the Oricon chart.[5] Its success earned the band the "Grand Prix New Artist of the Year" award at the 4th annual Japan Gold Disc Awards in 1990.[6] Their third album Jealousy was released in 1991 and debuted at number one, selling over 600,000 copies.[7] It was later certified million by the RIAJ.[8] Shortly after the release of 1993's Art of Life, which also topped the Oricon,[5] the members of X Japan took a break to start solo projects.

1992–2007: Solo career and leaving X[edit]

Toshi started his solo career in 1992 on BMG Victor with Made in Heaven, which reached number three on the chart. His next two albums, Mission (1994) and Grace (1995), also reached the top five. Dahlia, which would become X Japan's last album, was released in November 1996 and once again, it reached the number one spot.[5] On February 17, 1997 he married actress, model, and singer, Kaori Moritani, also known as Wanku.[9] In June he first saw a concert of Toru "Masaya" Kurabuchi, a musician and the leader of an organization called Home of Heart. Toshi was emotionally touched by Masaya's "healing music", and in August the two met and became friends.

On September 22, 1997, it was announced that Toshi had decided to leave X Japan. They performed their farewell show at the Tokyo Dome on December 31. Much has been made of Toshi's departure, including allegations of Home of Heart being a cult and that he was being influenced by it.[9] Toshi refuted such claims, stating that his decision to leave X Japan dated back as far as April 1996, more than a year before he met Masaya, and that the glamorous, success-oriented life of a rock star failed to satisfy him emotionally, as opposed to a simpler life and career.[10]

Toshi at a solo acoustic show in 2005.

In early 1998 Toshi decided to donate all his money to a charity owned by Masaya. But Toshi's older brother, who was in charge of his finances, refused claiming that Toshi had been "brainwashed" and a lawsuit followed.

After X Japan, Toshi devoted his professional career to "healing music", traveling across Japan and other countries to perform acoustic concerts for small audiences under Home of Heart, Ltd.. According to their website, his Utatabi Traveling Concert tour, which began in 1999, performed over 3000 shows by 2007.[10] He has released a large amount of material: around 33 albums and singles from 1992 up until 2004. When on April 20, 2004, Lemuria, another organization owned by Masaya which also utilizes "healing music", was brought up on charges of child abuse, Toshi was involved in the court cases as a witness. After the charges were announced, Toshi decided to take a break and didn't release any material.

2007–present: X Japan reunion and renewed solo career[edit]

According to a report by the newspaper Sponichi, Toshi visited Yoshiki in Los Angeles in November 2006 to work on the song "Without You" as a tribute to former X Japan guitarist hide, who died in 1998.[11] In March 2007, Toshi announced on his website that he and Yoshiki had recently resumed working together, stating that a "new project" would commence soon.[12] Rumors of a X Japan reunion subsequently began, and in June Yoshiki was reported as having expressed interest in a tour (beginning in Los Angeles), "Without You" being released as a single and that he was in talks with Heath and Pata regarding their participation.[11] On October 22, 2007, X Japan announced their reunion and released the Saw IV theme song, "I.V.".[13]

With X Japan's restart came a restart of Toshi's solo activities. On June 11, 2008, his new band Toshi with T-Earth was announced, with a line-up of Phantasmagoria guitarist Jun, and guitarist Touya and bassist Ruka from the band Charlotte. For their live shows they would switch between La'cryma Christi's drummer Levin and Luna Sea's drummer Shinya. Their first album Earth Spirit was released on August 8, they dubbed their music "eco hard rock", as the reason for starting the band was to draw attention to the environment. In October, T-Earth performed two shows in South America, in Chile and Brazil. Their second album Haruka Naru Toki wo Koete, was released on November 26.[14]

Toshi performing with T-Earth in Brazil 2008.

In April 2009, it was announced that 13 year old drummer Riku, would be joining the group and that anyone who wanted to could apply to join, the only requirement was "people who want to save the Earth". In July, 18 year old guitarist Ryo and 24 year old bassist Kain officially joined the band. On August 13, they released an album in 2 versions: Hontou no Ai and its English version, Truth.[14]

On January 18, 2010, Toshi filed a lawsuit against his record company Home of Heart, Ltd., accusing them of claiming all of his income over the past 12 years, eventually forcing him to announce bankruptcy.[9] Effectively severing ties with the company and its leader Masaya. He also divorced his wife Kaori Moritani, who had also been working for Home of Heart, Ltd., in February of the same year. Toshi even disclosed how they "effectively have not been husband and wife" saying: "Aside from having met her occasionally related to work, I do not know anything about her actual life." Toshi also claims that she had been living with Masaya for the past 10 years.[9]

On February 8, Toshi opened a new official website, which announced that he would release one last mini album, entitled Samurai Japan, on February 24. The website, album and merchandise all have his name written as ToshI, possibly suggesting that Home of Heart, Ltd. has the rights to his previous stage name. The songs were completely composed and produced by Toshi and feature X Japan's Pata and Sugizo. His "last solo concert" was on February 24, which he performed with X Japan's members as guest musicians.

On November 22, Toshi announced the first performance of his new project, entitled ToshI feat. Yoshiki, would be held on January 24 and 25, 2011. It was a high-end dinner show, where the attendees were served a French meal by renowned chef Mikuni Kiyomi, and enjoyed a piano duet by Toshi and Yoshiki, an orchestra was also utilized. It was also announced that the duo would release their first songs earlier that month.[15]

In response to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan on March 11, Toshi performed eight concerts throughout western Japan. All of the shows were acoustic due to the electricity shortage and featured X Japan's Heath, Luna Sea's Shinya and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa. All proceeds were donated to the Japanese Red Cross to aid the victims.[16] On June 22, Toshi released two songs, "Hoshizora no Neptune" and "Haru no Negai", as digital downloads that are available overseas.[17] It was announced that Toshi had joined European record label Bishi Bishi in September 2011.[18]

On March 27, 2013, Toshi released his first full-length album since restarting his solo career, Cherry Blossom.[19] The single "Love is Maria" was also released that day, both are available worldwide in 111 countries.[19] His next album Crystal Rock Chapter 1-3 was released on June 12.[20]

Toshi released the book Brainwash ~Comeback from 12 Years of Hell~ (洗脳 ~地獄の12年からの生還~ Sennō ~Jigoku no 12-nen Kara no Seikan~?) on July 23, 2014, which talks about his leaving X Japan, being "brainwashed", reuniting with X and going bankrupt.[21] On August 25 he will hold a special concert at Zepp Diver City where he will be supported by a one-off band consisting of Kei (baroque), Yuu (Merry), Akinori (lynch.) and Shinya of Dir en Grey.[22]

Music[edit]

When Toshi first went solo in 1992, his music was uplifting rock with a lot of ballads, but after X Japan's disbandment and his joining of Home of Heart, it became almost entirely acoustic. Since 1998, Home of Heart's leader Masaya wrote all of his music, which they refer to as "healing music".

Toshi with T-Earth, created in 2008, played a type of music (also completely written by Masaya) they called "eco hard rock". Although the lyrics were not always about the environment, the objective of the band was to draw attention to environmental issues.

In 2010, after announcing that he would be ending his solo activities, Toshi released Samurai Japan, which he wrote, produced and arranged by himself.

Discography[edit]

As ToshI[edit]

Albums
  • Cherry Blossom (March 27, 2013)
  • Crystal Rock Chapter 1-3 (June 12, 2013)
  • Crystal Rock Chapter 1-3 English Ver. (August 7, 2013)
Mini-albums
  • Samurai Japan (February 24, 2010)
  • Live Samurai Japan (October 10, 2011, live)
  • Samurai Japan English Ver. (March 11, 2012, worldwide digital: July 3, 2013)
Singles
  • "Otoko no Pride" (December 27, 2010, fan-club only)
  • "Crystal Piano no Kimi" (January 24, 2011, ToshI feat. Yoshiki, CD and DVD)
  • "Hoshizora no Neptune" (June 22, 2011, digital download)
  • "Haru no Negai" (June 22, 2011, digital download)
  • "Haru no Negai/I'll Be Your Love" (August 18, 2011, ToshI feat. Yoshiki, sold at concert only)
  • "Hoshizora no Neptune/Spring Request (Haru no Negai English Version)" (August 18, 2011, sold with photobook only)
  • "Kokoro no Naka wa Itsumo Red" (October 10, 2011, fan-club only)
  • "Love is Maria" (March 27, 2013)
DVDs
  • ToshI feat. Yoshiki Special Concert Luxury Box Set (June 25, 2011, ToshI feat. Yoshiki, 4 DVDs and CD)
  • Live Samurai Japan Special DVD Box (January 15, 2012, 4 DVDs and CD)

As Toshi[edit]

Albums
  • Made in Heaven (November 21, 1992), Oricon Peak Position: #3[23]
  • Mission (June 11, 1994) #3[23]
  • Grace (March 29, 1995) #5[23]
  • Aoi Hoshi no Tabibito (January 22, 1997) #15[23]
  • Canary (April 22, 1998, with Taro Hakase) #36[23]
  • Toward the Way (December 25, 1999)
  • Utatabi ~Utsukushi Machi e~ (December 4, 2004)
  • Earth Spirit (August 8, 2008, Toshi with T-Earth) #300[23]
  • Haruka Naru Toki wo Koete (November 26, 2008, Toshi with T-Earth)
  • Hontou no Ai (August 13, 2009, Toshi with T-Earth)
  • Truth (August 13, 2009, Toshi with T-Earth, English version of Hontou no Ai)
Singles and mini-albums
  • "Made in Heaven" (October 21, 1992) #2[24]
  • "Looming ~Tashikametai~" (May 21, 1993, with Night Hawks) #12[24]
  • "Always ~Tsutaetai~" (May 21, 1993, with Night Hawks) #9[24]
  • "Paradise" (September 8, 1993, with Night Hawks) #5[24]
  • "My Treasure" (December 16, 1993) #13[24]
  • "Bless You" (May 18, 1994) #10[25]
  • "Naite iru no wa" (July 6, 1997, with Night Hawks)
  • "Sayonara no Kisetsu ni..."(December 16, 1994) #21[24]
  • "Asphalt Jungle " (March 15, 1995) #14[24]
  • "Morning Glory" (August 7, 1996) #22[24]
  • "Hoshi no Butoukai" (January 8, 1997) #28[24]
  • "Hana ~Inochi no Mebae~" (April 24, 1997) #65[24]
  • "Natural High" (November 21, 1997, with Taro Hakase)
  • "Sayonara" (April 1, 1998) #47[24]
  • "Kimi wa Inaika" (July 23, 1998) #35[24]
  • "Ai no Uta wo Utaitai" (March 25, 1999)
  • "Beautiful Love Song" (March 25, 1999, English version of "Ai no Uta wo Utaitai")
  • "Inochi" (June 30, 2000)
  • "Jibun ~Daite Yaritai~" (April 30, 2001)
  • "Perfect Love' (November 30, 2002)
  • "Ame no Naka no Ano hi no Boku" (February 24, 2004)
  • "Sekai ga Hitotsu de Areba ~Orchestra Version~ (May 25, 2004)
  • "Sekai ga Hitotsu de Areba ~Acoustic Version~ (May 25, 2004)
  • "Earth in the Dark ~Aozora ni Mukatte~" (May 26, 2008) #118[24]
  • "Seiki Jidai" (July 25, 2008)
  • "Beautiful World" (July 25, 2008)
  • "Pain" (March 15, 2009, English versions, includes T-Earth songs)
  • "Taisetsuna Mono" (April 8, 2009)
  • "Utsukushii Sora wo Kudasai" (June 10, 2009)
  • "Itsumademo" (August 13, 2009, feat Wanku)
  • "Arigatou no Uta" (September 11, 2009)
  • "Chikyuu Mada Arimasu ka" (December 19, 2009, Toshi with T-Earth)
  • "Kurisutaru Piano no Kimi" (September 2010)
Duet albums
  • Toshi Duet I ~Eien ni Tabi Suru Koto~ (September 30, 2008, with Tierra and Kaori Moritani)
  • Daichi wo Shizumete (April 8, 2009, Toshi & Wanku)
Live album
  • Live is Best (June 21, 1997)
Compilation albums
  • Single Selection: Sacrifice (June 24, 1998) #90[23]
  • Healing ~Ai no Uta wo Utaitai~ (February 25, 2008)
  • Best I ~Ai no Uta wo Utaitai~ (March 25, 2008)
  • Best II ~Perfect Love~ (March 25, 2008)
Home videos
  • Toshi ~Prelude~ Made in Heaven (February 24, 1993)
  • Grace Live (June 21, 1995)
  • Aoi Hoshi no Tabibito (February 24, 1997)
  • Live Spring to Your Heart ~Aoi Hoshi no Tabibito~ (April 23, 1997)
  • Toshi with T-Earth 2Days Final Live in Tokyo (February 25, 2008)
  • Toshi with T-Earth Summer Live in Akasaka Blitz (November 25, 2009)
  • Toshi & Wanku Summer Live in Akasaka Blitz (November 25, 2009)
  • Toshi Zenshuu (February 1, 2010, CD and DVD)
  • Toshi & Wanku Duet Zenshuu (February 8, 2010, CD and DVD)
  • Toshi with T-Earth Zenshuu (February 12, 2010, CD and DVD)
  • 2008 Toshi Collection (March 5, 2010, CD and DVD)
  • 2009 Toshi Collection (March 5, 2010, CD and DVD)

With X Japan[edit]

Main article: X Japan discography

Other work[edit]

  • The Inner Gates (Baki, December 16, 1989, backing vocals on "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Flying")
  • Shake Hand (L.O.X, June 25, 1990, lyrics and lead vocals for "Daydream" and "Tragedy of M")

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Currently stylized as ToshI and previously in all capital letters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview with Yoshiki". nipponproject.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ Yang, Jeff; Can, Dina; Hong, Terry (1997). Eastern Standard Time. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 264. ISBN 0-395-76341-X. 
  3. ^ Minnie, Chi. "X Japan Best review". Asia Pacific Arts Online Magazine. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  4. ^ Strauss, Neil (1998-06-18). "The Pop Life: End of a Life, End of an Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  5. ^ a b c "X JAPANのアルバム売り上げランキング". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  6. ^ "The Japan Gold Disc Award 1990". golddisc.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  7. ^ "Oricon Weekly Album Chart for the third week of July 1991". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  8. ^ "RIAJ CERTIFIED MILLION SELLER ALBUMS". ocn.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  9. ^ a b c d "X Japan vocalist Toshi Bankrupt?". bionicbong.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  10. ^ a b "Interview with Toshi". iyashi-no-concert.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  11. ^ a b "X Japan Reunites for New Single, Tour". roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  12. ^ ""New Project" announcement". iyashi-no-concert.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  13. ^ "Official announcement of X Japan's Aqua City performance". xjapan.ne.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  14. ^ a b "TOSHI with T-EARTH". jame-world.com. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  15. ^ "Toshi feat Yoshiki special dinner show". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  16. ^ "X Japan's Toshi to hold charity concert tour". bionicbong.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  17. ^ "New Music From X JAPAN Singer Available From HearJapan - June 21, 2011". roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  18. ^ "More Artists Join European Label Bishi-Bishi". jame-world.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  19. ^ a b "ToshI to Release New Records Worldwide!". musicjapanplus.jp. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  20. ^ "X JAPAN's Toshl, “I don't think we've succeeded yet. Our success will start from now.”". barks.jp. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  21. ^ "ToshI to release book "Brainwash ~Comeback from 12 Years of Hell~"". musicjapanplus.jp. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  22. ^ "Toshl「洗脳~地獄の12年からの生還~」刊行". oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). 2014-07-27. Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g ToshIのアルバム売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-01
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m ToshIのシングル売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-01
  25. ^ Toshiのシングル売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-01

Further reading[edit]

  • Brainwash ~Comeback from 12 Years of Hell~ (洗脳 ~地獄の12年からの生還~ Sennō ~Jigoku no 12-nen Kara no Seikan~?), Kodansha, 2014, ISBN 4-0621-8657-8

External links[edit]