Yoshiki was born to parents who owned a traditional kimono shop (the kimono shop would later be sold in order to start his own record label). However, his father also played many instruments as well as tap danced. Every year for his birthday, his father would give him an instrument to play; unfortunately, his father committed suicide when Yoshiki was 10 years old (his mother continued the tradition, giving him a drum set for his 11th birthday). The death of Yoshiki's father would eventually take a toll on him - he revealed that he attempted suicide many times until his mother gave him his drum set. After discovering metal bands and rock music, he turned his focus from classical to rock n' roll. At the age of 15, he formed his first band with his childhood friend and classmate Toshi - which would later be known as X Japan.
Yoshiki was often sick - doctors told his mother that he would not make it into his adult years. He had a severe case of asthma and was a very weak individual; therefore, he was always in the hospital.
Yoshiki formed X Japan with vocalist Toshimitsu "Toshi" Deyama in 1982. Four years later, he founded his own independent label, Extasy Records, in order to distribute the band's music.Their breakthrough came in 1989 with the release of the Blue Blood album. After three more albums and several tours, the group broke up in 1997 but releases of arranged material and reissues continue until today (X Japan also re-united in 2007).
Aside from his work with the group, Yoshiki has also collaborated with several noted artists such as Iron Maiden and Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Beatles producer George Martin and various others on the international Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass. As a producer, he has provided several bands with first time recording contracts through Extasy Records, i.e. Luna Sea, Glay and Zi:Kill.
After X Japan disbanded, his next major endeavor was expected to be work with the band Violet UK, but the release of a debut album was postponed repeatedly. Beside a symphonic concert performed in 2002 and released on DVD in 2005 (which contained arrangements of old X Japan songs along with music supposedly created for Violet UK), no major publication of the group has yet surfaced.
In 2003, Yoshiki worked with the lead singer of Pussycat Dolls Nicole Scherzinger on in his Violet UK project. She sang the English version of "I'll Be Your Love" live with the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra. The track also appeared on the 2003 Various Artists album Exposition of Global Harmony.
Yoshiki remained active as a producer, i.e. for the bands Dir en grey and TRAX and has also briefly joined the pop band Globe.He also contributed the theme song for the Expo 2005 and music for the movie Catacombs. More recently, he has helmed the "JRock Revolution" festival in Los Angeles, California. During which his participation in the supergroup S.K.I.N. alongside pop/rock artists Gackt and Miyavi, and former Luna Sea guitarist Sugizo was announced.
Yoshiki confirmed that X Japan would reunite in 2007, with a new single and a tour. On October 22, 2007 they appeared together for the first time in over 10 years at a public filming of the promotion video for their new single "I.V." which was created for the movie Saw IV.
On September 20, 2007, at a Catacombs preview in Japan, it was announced that Yoshiki will be producing the rock musical Repo! The Genetic Opera and its soundtrack, along with composing one extra track for it.
In March 2008, X Japan performed shows on three consecutive nights in Japan's Tokyo Dome.
In May 2010, Yoshiki made a
X Japan has since performed at Yokohama's Nissan Stadium and completed their first North American tour, which began on September 25 in Los Angeles and continued with stops in San Francisco, Canada, Seattle, Boston, Chicago and New York City.
On January 27, 2011, it was announced that Yoshiki will be hosting his own satellite radio show on Sirius XM's the Boneyard. The hour long program will be called "Yoshiki Radio" and will be broadcast once a month, starting in February.
On February 8th, Yoshiki and Jay FR (producer of "Tokyo Girls Collection") announced "Asia Girls Explosion", a fashion and music show. The event will take place on March 6, with special
Besides continuing his career in classical and rock music, Yoshiki also has a wine brand, his own comic (produced by MARVEL's Stan Lee), a Hello Kitty doll titled Yoshikitty, and he started his own kimono line (in an effort to revive his families' line of work) where he designs his own kimonos which infuse traditional Japanese styles with his own rock n' roll taste.
Yoshiki has many famous friends, fans, and acquaintances which include Stan Lee, Gene Simmons (of KISS), MAYDAY, and much more.
Today, Yoshiki lives in Los Angeles, California.