YOSHIKI Imprint Ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre (Live Report)
YOSHIKI: Under The Sky (Film Review)
Photos and words by Christan Copeland
Japanese artist and musician extraordinaire YOSHIKI made history on September 14 as the first Japanese artist to have his hand and footprints immortalized at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.
The prestigious ceremony, which has honored groundbreaking artists in the entertainment industry since 1927, included a bevy of distinguished guests, media, and high profile speakers who lent their voices to the significance of YOSHIKI’s musical contributions as a global artist and humanitarian.
The ceremony’s speakers included the illustrious music executive Guy Oseary, the legendary Gene Simmons of the groundbreaking rock band KISS, and award-winning actor Lee Byung-Hun, who previously received his handprint honors alongside fellow Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki in 2012.
Lee Byung-Hun offered this earnest testimonial to Yoshiki’s accomplishments:
“[YOSHIKI’s] music filled my teenage years. X Japan was so popular in all of Korea and Asia… nowadays we have streamers, so everything can be seen and heard around the world, but back then we didn’t have the same technology… that’s what makes what Yoshiki’s done so impressive.”
Music executive Guy Oseary also reflected on his time knowing YOSHIKI with this statement:
“YOSHIKI is a true artist. To see what he has accomplished over the last 25 years since I first saw him, is remarkable. It’s an incredible feat to survive and accomplish all the things that he has in the music business. It’s not easy at all… and he’s continually innovated and pushed himself.”
Oseary continued his reflection on YOSHIKI’s all-encompassing dedication to creating music for the world.
“His songs are his children, his art is his life, and he gives 100 percent. He’s dedicated to pushing the envelope all the way up… He doesn’t really see a ceiling; he just sees the next chapter.”
Gene Simmons – an integral catalyst to a young YOSHIKI’s rock star aspirations – offered accolades for his fellow musician.
“I am here to honor a one-of-a-kind not only personality but a multi-instrumentalist, a real tour de force… This is a talent, a giant in the industry… this honor today – it’s about time. And you need to do yourselves a favor: music has no boundaries; music is the universal language- and you need to find out about YOSHIKI and his creative babies X Japan and The Last Rockstars. Your life will be better for it.”
After receiving glowing praises from esteemed friends and industry colleagues, YOSHIKI arrived on stage. His gratitude was palpable as he thanked his friends and peers for unwavering support.
“And to my fans: You are the reason I still breathe. You are the reason I still exist. I cannot count how many times I wanted to give up. I never even thought I’d be passing my father’s age… but I didn’t give up. I kept on going. I kept going because my fans had been there, my mother had been there. I wanted to prove that nothing is impossible. I wanted to prove that a person from Asia, a person from Japan who didn’t speak English, could still pursue the American dream, could still pursue the Hollywood dream; regardless of race, regardless of who you are.”
YOSHIKI took a poignant moment to dedicate this honor to his late mother, who remained his steadfast supporter and nurtured his dreams, “She was the very first person to see my hands and feet; and now she can see them from the sky, looking down here at Hollywood.”
After offering endless thanks for all the love and support he has received, YOSHIKI ended with heartfelt final words: “If I can make it, anybody can. Please believe in yourself, nothing is impossible, be your own Rockstar.”
YOSHIKI’s fans cheered loudly from across the barricaded street as he left his handprints and footprints in the cement along with his signature drumsticks.
The celebration continued with the L.A. premiere of YOSHIKI’s documentary Under the Sky. Yoshiki describes the film’s message is about people helping each other. Born out of the isolation of the COVID era, the performance documentary focuses on YOSHIKI’s drive to connect and heal others through music.
Through the lens of Under the Sky, Yoshiki demonstrates the universal language of music. Incorporating simulcast performances with multi-genre artists extending across continents and time zones, the performances feature a variety of world-class artists including Sarah Brightman, Scorpions, Nicole Scherzinger, The Chainsmokers, and The Last Rockstars members HYDE and SUGIZO. The story of each song is revealed in video chat interviews combined with YOSHIKI’s candid thoughts and emotions, resulting in evocative, heartfelt, and uplifting musical performances.
Members of the premiere screening in L.A. quietly took in the sounds and sights for the first half-hour, before each progressive performance induced louder cheers. The end of the screening erupted in loud applause, and YOSHIKI entered for a casual Q&A, where he described the arduous but fruitful three-year journey of this labor of love. At the intimate after-party and reception, hosted by the wonderful partners at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, YOSHIKI warmly greeted his guests and collaborators, joined in toasts to a remarkable day, and capped off the night in true YOSHIKI fashion, with a live piano performance of “Swan Lake’.
YOSHIKI’s disarmingly casual and charmingly elegant documentary masterfully reflects the artist’s enduring grit, triumphant spirit, and phenomenal accomplishments. While this movie is a must-see for fans of YOSHIKI, X Japan, and The Last Rockstars, the documentary is also for fans of music in its purest form; when it is borderless, limitless, and connecting with all walks of life.
YOSHIKI’s accomplishments and endeavors serve as a gentle yet powerful reminder of music’s power to touch the soul and give comfort. At the end of it all, we all live under the same sky, so let us live with love and unite through music.
YOSHIKI: Under The Sky