Taiji (musician)

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Taiji Sawada.JPG
Taiji performing with X circa 1990
Background information
Birth name Taiji Sawada
Also known as Ray
Born (1966-07-12)July 12, 1966
Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan
Died July 17, 2011(2011-07-17) (aged 45)
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, United States
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar
Years active 1982–2011
Associated acts
  • Trash
  • Dementia
  • X
  • Loudness
  • D.T.R
  • Kings
  • Cloud Nine
  • Otokaze
  • the Killing Red Addiction
  • Taiji with Heaven's
  • TSP
Website taiji-tsglaston.com
Notable instruments

Taiji Sawada (沢田 泰司, Sawada Taiji, July 12, 1966 – July 17, 2011) was a Japanese musician. Better known by his stage name Taiji, he was most widely known as former bassist of the heavy metal band X (currently known as X Japan), with whom he also served as an occasional songwriter and acoustic guitarist. After leaving X in 1992 he went on to work with many other bands, including Loudness and D.T.R.


1982–92: Early bands and X[edit]

After dropping out of high school in 1982, Taiji formed his first band Trash,[1] where he was the leader and guitarist. In late 1984, he switched to bass and going by the name Ray joined the metal group Dementia,[1] staying until 1985. He then played briefly with Prowler, as well as a few shows with X.[2] Until 1986 when he joined the very short-lived Dead Wire, whose line-up also included future Saver Tiger and D'erlanger members, Kyo and Tetsu. Soon after he officially rejoined X at the end of 1986.[2]

Although he wrote many songs for the band, "Phantom of Guilt", "Desperate Angel" and "Voiceless Screaming" were some of the few that were officially released. In 2001, some of the unpublished songs were finally released in Rose & Blood -Indies of X-. Taiji left X in 1992, the official reason given by the band was due to musical differences. However, in his autobiography Taiji claims he was asked to leave because he confronted Yoshiki due to the substantial income gap between Yoshiki and each of the other members.[1] When asked about Taiji's departure in 2016, Yoshiki said that while he really respected Taiji's musical skills and still does, he "crossed the line of our band's rules" and "To this day I still don't know if the decision was right or wrong, but we didn't have a choice."[3] Taiji's last concert with the band was the last day of three consecutive nights at the Tokyo Dome, it was released on DVD as On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live.

1992–2006: Loudness, D.T.R, Cloud Nine[edit]

In April he was invited to join Japanese metal band Loudness.[4] He left them in November 1993, after recording only one studio album and one live album. In July 1994 he formed his own band and named it D.T.R, which stood for "Dirty Trashroad" and featured Mitsuo Takeuchi (ex:Joe-Erk) on vocals, Taiji Fujimoto (ex:The Dead Pop Stars, ex:Judy and Mary) on guitar and Toshihiko Okabe on drums.[5]

In 1995 he also joined the short-lived supergroup Kings, with Shuichi Aoiki (Night Hawks) on vocals, Luke Takamura (Seikima-II) on guitar and Satoshi "Joe" Miyawaki (44 Magnum, Spread Beaver) as support drummer.

Guitarist Tomoyuki Kuroda later joined D.T.R in 1995, but a year later Yoshihiko left, and then the band was put on hold when Taiji was going through personal problems.[5] During this time Taiji got divorced from his wife, whom he married in 1989, and became homeless.[1]

In 1999, he created Cloud Nine, but left in 2001 and they decided to continue on without him.[4] He then formed Otokaze (音風) with his sister Masayo on vocals, they released one self-titled album on November 9, 2004.[6]

In 2005 Taiji was in a motorcycle accident where he badly injured the ligaments in his foot.[citation needed] D.T.R resumed activity in 2006 with keyboardist Kenji Shimizu and their former support drummer Kazuhisa "Roger" Takahashi now official members.[7][5]

2006–09: Taiji with Heaven's, the Killing Red Addiction[edit]

Also in April 2006, he formed another band, Taiji with Heaven's, with Taiji on bass and Dai on vocals; later guitarist Ryutaro joined.[4] In 2009 they officially started activities; in May 2010 Takanari joined on drums and they released their first mini-album on January 13, 2010.[4]

In 2007, Taiji returned to Cloud Nine.[4] In 2009 he announced that he would once again be playing bass in a supergroup, The Killing Red Addiction with guitarist Tatsu (Gastunk), drummer Kenzi (Anti Feminism, The Dead Pop Stars, ex:Kamaitachi) and vocalist Dynamite Tommy (ex: Color).[8] They had their debut performance on June 22 at the Whiskey A Go Go, in Los Angeles, United States.[8] Their second performance was in Osaka, Japan at the Shinjuku Loft on December 29, and they released a cover of Gastunk's "Devil" on iTunes on January 13, 2010.

In December 2008, Taiji's staff announced on his blog that since September his epilepsy and chronic strokes had worsened,[9] that he was suffering from necrosis after a hip joint replacement of the femoral component on his left hip,[9] and that on December 2 he was hospitalized again after falling and hurting his chest and throat.[9]

2010–11: TSP, Reunited with X[edit]

In 2010, he formed TSP (Taiji & Shu Project), with Taiji on bass, guitarist Shu (Cloud Nine, Crazy Quarter Mile), vocalist Dai (Taiji with Heaven's) and drummer Hina (Crazy Quarter Mile).[2] Taiji with Heaven's also performed a show in Korea that year and later announced plans for further activities in the country the following year.[10][11] However, these were cancelled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

On August 12, 2010, Taiji joined X (now known as X Japan) founders Yoshiki and Toshi at a press conference, to announce that he would be performing as a guest with X Japan at their August 14 and 15 shows at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.[12][13]

On October 9, it was announced that Dai was leaving TSP and would be replaced by Hiroshi "Tazz" Maruki, which resulted in their debut album being delayed.[14]

On January 23, 2011, it was announced that Ryutaro was withdrawing from Taiji with Heaven's due to bad health and personal reasons. On February 17, Tokiya joined as guitarist and it was announced that Taiji with Heavens would now be written without the apostrophe.

2011: Arrest and death[edit]

On July 11, 2011, Taiji argued with his female manager, named KT, on Delta Airlines Flight 298 during the final approach from Japan to Saipan. After the argument became physical, he was restrained by other passengers and a flight attendant, and he was moved to another seat, but his aggression persisted as he continued to punch windows and kick other seats. He was arrested upon landing in Saipan.[15][16][17] He faced federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.[15] On July 14, Taiji was found unconscious in his detention cell, appearing to have attempted suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet. He was rushed to an intensive care unit at Saipan's Commonwealth Health Center, where he was observed to be brain dead. His comatose body was placed on life support.[16][18][18][19][20] His fiancée came to the hospital and said that there were no marks of strangulation on his neck. In her book Taiji she wrote that she asked that his body be returned to Japan, but it was instead cremated without an autopsy.[21] Taiji died on July 17 after his mother and fiancée made the decision to turn off his life support system.[20][22] His fiancée started a petition called: "Taiji voiceless truth" pleading for the investigation into his death be reopened.[23][24]


Came with Taiji's autobiography titled Uchuu o Kakeru Tomo e: Densetsu no Bando X no Sei to Shi.
Came with a photobook titled Photograph.
With Trash
  • "Toramaturi Ondo" (1982)
With Dementia
  • Dementia Live! (June 1985)
With X
With Loudness
With D.T.R
  • Dirty Trashroad – (July 1, 1994) #13[27]
  • Dirty Trashroad ~ Acoustic (July 1, 1994) #18[27]
  • "Chain<>/I Believe..." (May 25, 1995)
  • Daring Tribal Roar (May 25, 1995) #35[28]
  • Drive To Revolution (August 1, 1996, live and remix compilation album)
  • "Wisdom/Lucifer" (November 10, 2007)
With Kings
  • "Misty Eyes" (October 25, 1995)
  • Kings (November 1, 1995) #36[29]
With Cloud Nine
  • "Bastard" (November 2000)
  • "1st Demonstration" (February 2001)
  • Hard 'N' Heavy Religion 2 (February 14, 2008, with the song "Hells Rage")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 3 of We Rock magazine.
  • Hard 'N' Heavy 2010 (February 13, 2010, with the song "Bastard")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 15 of We Rock magazine.
With Otokaze
  • Otokaze (November 9, 2004)
With The Killing Red Addiction
  • "Devil" (January 13, 2010)
With Taiji with Heaven's
  • Taiji with Heaven's (February 13, 2010)
  • Hard 'N' Heavy 2010 (February 13, 2010, with the song "Keep the Faith")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 15 of We Rock magazine.
  • Hard 'N' Heavy Religion 2012 (February 14, 2012, with the song "Killer")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 27 of We Rock magazine.
  • The Virgin (February 28, 2015)
With TSP
  • Hard 'N' Heavy Religion 2011 (May 14, 2011, with the song "Rest in Peace")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 21 of We Rock magazine.
  • Hard 'N' Heavy Religion 2012 (February 14, 2012, with the song "Freeze")
Various artists compilation album in Vol. 27 of We Rock magazine.
  • Mad Cluster (June 6, 2012)
  • The Last Resistance of the Firebird (September 26, 2012)

Other work[edit]

  • The Inner Gates (Baki, December 16, 1989, bass on "Taste of Flower", "A Kiss in the Storm" and "Flying")
  • Cozy Powell Forever (Various artists, September 19, 1998, bass on "Kill the King")
  • Vol. 21 of Rockin 'f magazine (June 14, 2006)
Various artists compilation DVD, features an interview with Taiji, rehearsal and other footage.
  • Vol. 24 of Rockin 'f magazine (December 14, 2006)
Various artists compilation DVD, features an interview, studio rehearsal and live footage of D.T.R.
  • Attitude the Original Soundtrack -Fuck the System- (July 2008, music director for the movie)
  • Vol. 17 of We Rock magazine (December 14, 2010)
Various artists compilation DVD, features an interview with Taiji and Dai from Taiji with Heaven's, and live performances of "Black Vampire" and "Freeze" by TSP from April 24, 2010.
  • Legend of Phoenix (December 14, 2011)
Tribute DVD to Taiji in Vol. 26 of We Rock magazine, composed of various footage of his bands from 2000 to 2011, mostly those included within issues of Rockin 'f and We Rock.


  1. ^ a b c d Sawada, Taiji (2000). Uchuu o Kakeru Tomo e: Densetsu no Bando X no Sei to Shi. Tokuma Shoten. ISBN 978-4-19-861174-3. 
  2. ^ a b c "Biography". taiji-tsglaston.com. Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  3. ^ "I am Yoshiki – Pianist, Drummer and Leader of X Japan. Ask me anything!". Reddit. 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "TAIJI With HEAVEN’S – In The Blood". carlbegai.com. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  5. ^ a b c "D.T.R". jame-world.com. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  6. ^ "Otokaze". jame-world.com. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  7. ^ "May TAIJI's soul rest in peace." (in Japanese). KENJI SHIMIZU blog. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. 
  8. ^ a b "THE KILLING RED ADDICTION – Japanese "All Star" Band Featuring Ex-LOUDNESS / Ex-X JAPAN Bassist And DIR EN GREY Executive Producer Announce Live Date For West Hollywood". bravewords.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  9. ^ a b c "Ex-X JAPAN / Ex-LOUDNESS Bassist TAIJI SAWADA Hospitalized". bravewords.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Former X JAPAN member, TAIJI, to promote in Korea". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  11. ^ "元Xメンバー・TAIJI、韓国で本格始動宣言". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  12. ^ "X JAPAN Featured On FUSE TV And FOX NEWS". blabbermouth.net. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2017-04-15. 
  13. ^ "TAIJI's Urgent Battle Entry at X JAPAN's Live at Nissan Stadium". Music Japan Plus. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2017-04-15. 
  14. ^ "Dai leaves TSP". jackup.co.jp/tsp/index.html. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  15. ^ a b "Unruly plane passenger arrested". mvariety.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  16. ^ a b "Former "X" member, TAIJI arrested in Saipan + attempted suicide". tokyohive.com. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  17. ^ Agence France-Presse/Jiji Press, "Former X rocker dies in Saipan", Japan Times, 19 July 2011, p. 2.
  18. ^ a b "Sawada tries to kill self in jail". saipantribune.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  19. ^ "Unruly plane passenger brought to ICU". mvariety.com. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  20. ^ a b "Musician Sawada dies". saipantribune.com. Retrieved 2014-09-13. 
  21. ^ http://www.tamd.org/
  22. ^ "Former X member Taiji dies in Saipan". natalie.mu (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  23. ^ http://www.taiji-tsglaston.com/
  24. ^ http://ameblo.jp/xjapanxx/entry-10977113468.html
  25. ^ a b LOUDNESSのシングル売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-02
  26. ^ a b LOUDNESSのアルバム売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-02
  27. ^ a b DIRTY TRASHROADのシングル売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-02
  28. ^ D.T.R.のアルバム売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-02
  29. ^ KINGSのアルバム売り上げランキング oricon.co.jp Retrieved 2011-01-02

Further reading[edit]

  • Uchuu o Kakeru Tomo e: Densetsu no Bando X no Sei to Shi (宇宙を翔ける友へ: 伝説のバンド X の生と死) by Taiji Sawada, Tokuma Shoten, 2000, ISBN 978-4-19-861174-3

External links[edit]