Despite being billed as a solo tour, X Japan’s Yoshiki Hayashi’s “Yoshiki Classical” tour is undoubtedly deeply rooted in the lore of one of the biggest rock acts of the country. The concert at Tokyo International Forum on Dec. 6 was packed with tear-jearkers, highlighting a career — and life — filled with both triumph […]

As we sit down for an interview, Tokyo Comic Convention Committee Chairman Mitsuaki Munegumi casually points to a glass case in the center of the room. “There’s actually a real ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber in there,” he says, and reaches over. He pulls out a hilt prop that the Count Dooku character, played by the late […]

The members of Ogre You Asshole are bracing for something. At least, that’s what the title of their seventh album, “Handoru o Hanasu Mae Ni” (“Before Letting Go of the Handle”) suggests. (The album’s official English title is the less tense “Everythingsomethingnothing.”) “It’s not really an emotional state, like dread or excitement, but just the […]

Not many musicians are able to say that they’ve taken the stage at both New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall, two of the most prestigious venues in rock and classical music, respectively. Drummer, pianist and songwriter Yoshiki Hayashi, however, is stepping up to take claim of that title. “At this point, I […]

Despite what his mammoth bass guitar sound may suggest, rock band Crypt City bassist Kentaro Nakao is comically self-deprecating at times. “This sounds terrible, but I have no commercial ambitions for this band,” he says with a laugh. His band’s new album, “Chant,” will be self-released on vinyl and cassette only. And it will only […]

The last time we truly heard from singer-songwriter and J-pop megastar Hikaru Utada was at a concert on Dec. 9, 2010, at Yokohama Arena. Captured on the home-video release “Wild Life,” the glorious two days of concerts concluded with a performance of “Time Will Tell,” the companion track to her 1998 debut single, “Automatic.” “Time […]

Yusuke Kobayashi, singer and guitarist of rock band The Novembers, is wearing a black Pink Floyd T-shirt and sipping a tea as I sit down to chat with him in a cafe in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighborhood. Outside, Typhoon Mindulle is causing a bit of chaos, which is fitting because Kobayashi himself cuts a rather intense […]

Though seasoned music festival veterans overseas, the four members of British rock band Bo Ningen had never been to a Japanese event until Fuji Rock in 2013. “It was really fun compared to festivals in other countries,” says singer and bassist Taigen Kawabe. “It’s clean, safe, the food is good and the sound was great. […]

When looking at the pedigree of rock quartet Muddy Apes, it’s hard not to mention the term “supergroup.” After all, the band’s members — which consist of bassist Taka Hirose of British rock act Feeder, guitarist Kiyonobu “Inoran” Inoue of Japanese arena-rock band Luna Sea, vocalist Masaki “Maeson” Maenosono of Japanese rock group 8otto, and […]

From superheroes to presidential elections, 2016 seems to be a year of infighting and rivalries. It has even trickled down into Japanese rock, as Sugizo and Inoran, the two guitarists from renowned rock act Luna Sea, went toe to toe with their respective solo bands in their first double headliner show together on June 9 […]