Other Languages: Español

Translator: Juria

The article begins with the reporter saying the photo shoot was planned to start at 5 in the afternoon.
The reporter was waiting for Yoshiki with the staff at a hotel lobby, and after 1 hour passed, the staff apologized and said Yoshiki was going to be late so they would start at 8. Reporter had time to watch the F1 Grand Prix that was on tv and when they realized, it was already 11.
It was only at 11:58 when they arrived at the underground photography studio.
(Translator’s note: I condensed the above text because it drags on for a while… Actual report starts from now on.)

00:08. Yoshiki arrived wearing a kimono. The mainly black, old style kimono suits him well, you can even feel the seductiveness. Half of the studio is separated, surrounded by blackout curtains, inside there are 6 mirrors. One large mirror faces a group of 5 smaller mirrors, forming a faint rounded shape.

For all music magazines to report, Yoshiki is doing the same thing for all. He is now reflected by all mirrors, completely naked. The mirrors, front and back reflect all of Yoshiki without any restrictions. The image of a monitor on the set shows a view of Yoshiki from the back, like there are 5 of him in line.

Before long, video director Gotou gives directions and they begin filming the television spot. Stepping up to one mirror, the kimono dressed Yoshiki approaches the image of himself in the mirror. While he stares at his image, his kimono sash unfastens and we can now see the fair complexion of his neck to chest. The image in the mirror repeats the movement. From his shoulders to arms to stomach, the kimono falls down smoothly. On his back there is a tattoo of a dragon. With also large scale roses drawn. This image painted on his back goes over the curve of his butt and extends down to the thighs in a masculine style.

Having “Standing Sex” as the background music, Yoshiki loves himself in the mirror.
As if “standing sex” with himself in the mirror.
Such exchanged love in ultimate narcissism is also, at the same time, “eternal unrequited love”.
Because they can never truly embrace each other. In the monitor, the dragon on his body seem to dance.

Cut.

“The song isn’t very fitting here”, whispered Yoshiki as he was checking the scene from just now, on the monitor. Maybe it’s because of the speed of the song, and the mood and sense of time of the video. And also, even Yoshiki himself questions the extreme visuals, “Is this really going to be shown on TV?”. We all wonder if it will really be shown without any problems.

00:21. The second shooting starts. This time, the BGM is “Love Replica”. As Yoshiki takes the kimono off little by little, we can now the the red reverse side of it. He now moves in a more brisk way, seeming to fall into the world of questionable sensuality. On the monitor, we can see the image of Yoshiki, excluding his arms and face. The painting of the dragon is moving in liveliness.

This piece is work of painter Ryouji Kasumi from many of Toei’s mafia movies. Kasumi, who has a career of over 40 years says that “the finished work is more beautiful than the real thing”. The painting took around 3 hours to be completed and during that time, Yoshiki had to stay completely still, but in truth, they seemed to be in cooperation. “He has good skin, so it was easy to work. It became tempting to actually tattoo it on him”, Kasumi says.

1:05. After who knows how many takes, the set went through a change. The next scene is for photographing, and a vertical cracked mirror is used. Yoshiki is photographed from stomach and up.

01:32. After returning from the waiting room, Yoshiki appears once again. While waiting for the set to be readied, he says, “This time, it’s all very simple to understand. That just now, I don’t know…” and laughs. Being surrounded by so many mirrors, it’s as if there is a lessened sense of action. Because of the simple set, you can perceive glances and looks very well.

Surrounded by music magazine photographers, facing the mirrors, once again Yoshiki becomes naked. “This far, it’s inevitable not to feel ashamed!” and laughs. To expose himself like this, not wearing a single stitch, and to say he had the courage for it, it is only natural for him to feel embarrassed.

01:35. With “Silent Jealousy” as the BGM, Yoshiki now caresses the mirror. The kimono is fallen, revealing his shoulders to waist, his shoulders swing, and the painting of the dragon also moves. In the monitor, we can see him brushing his hair upwards, with a expression of longing. After, his hair moves from side to side rapidly. Every and each movement looks bizarrely charming. Like stealing a glance at sex, the unrealistic scenes are enough to even leave you with a sense of guilt in mind.

Cut.

“Ah, I’m so tired. I’m going to die.” The photo shoot only continues to increase his nervousness. It’s understandable he is now exhausted. “Because I haven’t been sleeping.” Yoshiki talks to his photographer acquaintances, never taking the smile out of his face. I wonder what is it that gives him such strength.

02:45. For the 3rd scene, on the floor there is a elliptical shaped mirror. Yoshiki lies sprawled over it, getting closer together to his reflection. The other side can also be seen, standing out against the dark background. We can see Yoshiki’s breathing and temperature in the air of the studio. Even though, the mirror looks like it is cold as water. As the painting of the dragon undulates, the large scale flowers also seem to be in full bloom, and Yoshiki continues to shower love over his reflection as we hear the sound of the fabric sliding down to where his hips start. He really acts as if desire can’t be satisfied…

02:57. After checking the last scenes on the monitor, the session ends. Charming Yoshiki poses accordingly for the magazine photographers. His hair with light waves, down over to his waist, surpasses any fashion model with splendor.

Even if it has become very late at night or even so, how tired he must be, his artistic radiance does not fade away. As all of the photo sessions of that day ended, when Yoshiki returned to the waiting room, it was 03:20.
The city was fast asleep, not seeing the cars that went and returned on the roads.
The world was, before long, heading towards morning.

This photo session took place on October 23.

As promised, the following day after the performance in Yokohama Arena for Violence In Jealousy Tour, there was a notice that this photo session was scheduled at 5 PM. Arriving at the location, the female staff who welcomed us said with a bitter smile, “Today we’ll follow the plans”.

After the staff guided us to the interiors, we saw the elaborate, isolated set. On the right, there was a wall with a embossed man’s head. This head is designed with ruffled hair and beard, the eyes are raised and somehow he reminds me of a character from an ancient tale. From his mouth goes out a thin stream of water, very much like in the style of roman baths.

But to unfortunately kill the mood, the set is, in fact, made of a material like polystyrene foam. But in no way it is in the realm of ‘tacky’, instead, it is a beautiful work of art. The stream falls on a water surface of a deep green color. On the right side of the wall, there are many thinly veiled lights, shining down softly.

In accordance to staff’s words, not exceeding 5PM, Yoshiki arrives in a white bath robe.

After this session, Yoshiki will go to yet another appointment in his schedule, and today all the plans seem to be advancing well.

Undressing from the bath robe, Yoshiki is only wearing a necklace of 7 rows. Straddling the green water tank, he now stands on water and as he begins to wet his hair, it is already a sexy scene. Even after the “Weekend” and “Silent Jealousy” videos, it seems like Yoshiki’s beauty and sensuality increases when he is moving in water, I think.
The “man who looks good even when dripping with water” checks his reflection on a mirror outside of the water tank and sinks down to the stomach in the water.

As Yoshiki says “Let’s begin”, the photo shoot for the new single cover started.

Maybe it’s because of the subtler eye make-up, but Yoshiki himself also looks like an sculpture. The planning behind these ideals are ideas of the designers who listened to the song and created the visuals out of their impressions. Every day, they discussed ideas for the visuals. And always to achieve the expression of ‘Beauty’.

“It’s cold…” whispers Yoshiki, holding himself, as the sound of the camera shutter goes off. Surely our skin feels cold. Even us, who were all dressed up, without taking anything off, felt cold. There’s no doubt that Yoshiki, in the water, had his temperature drop significantly. The staff, outside of the water, were waiting for him with towels, a bathrobe and warm drinks.

5:19. “What kind of poses should I do?”, asks an assertive Yoshiki and the photographer signals. A pose where he is holding the stream of water, upper body turned, looking up. Yoshiki checks himself in the mirror, and with each signal, he changes poses little by little. Extended arm. Turning over. It seems to be difficult to keep the pose where he is catching the water stream with his hand, because it splashes on him. The sound of the shutter stops. Then, Yoshiki looks down and massages his shoulder, he must be very tired. Once again we can hear the sound of the cameras starting, and Yoshiki quickly returns to posing, stretching his back muscles.

5:30.With his hand on the wall, Yoshiki turns about under the stream of water. His eyes are intently fixed on the opposite side of the water. Then, Yoshiki suddenly repeats this. Then he comes closer to the edge of the water tank, where there is a big circular heater of around 50 or 60 cm. After warming his back, the photo session then continues. The water hitting his arms and thighs make a loud noise. Also, as the water is directed over his head, falling on his back, his hair is now also completely wet.

5:33. Because of Yoshiki’s request, we stop now here for a break. “I’m going to die here. Enough.” Yoshiki left the studio saying this, but wearing a calm smile. As our actor leaves, the temperature of the water is slowly heated. The many photographs were printed as polaroid shots. They were sent to the waiting room, where Yoshiki is, to be checked out.

6:05. Yoshiki comes back with a light cigarette in hand. “Hey. Sorry for the wait.”, he says, looking down. In case these words are not meant for the photographers or staff, but to us who are collecting material for magazines, then he shouldn’t have mentioned about a “wait”. Instead, we “can wait”. Because it’s hard work in not so good circumstances.

After little under 30 minutes of interval, Yoshiki does not miss the chance to thank everyone. Even from a glimpse of his attitude, one can see how charming he is as a person.

6:07. After getting back inside the water tank, Yoshiki is surprised. “The water now is warmer than before. Did you get it warmer?” The staff nods positively. The water was warmed to be like a lukewarm bath.

The photo shoot resumes. On his knees with the water around his elbows, Yoshiki now holds some water in his hands. Turning his back, swinging his shoulders. He extends his hand to the face that seems to spit water. The left wall also has a stream falling. The water falling on his arm splashes. We can clearly see the contour of the curves on his thin back. As he turns again, soon the camera shutter goes off.

6:20. Extending his arms, he leans in, clinging to the surface of the walls. Moving the soles of his feet, the water becomes agitated and one by one there are waves.

6:25. Yoshiki is now submersed halfway into the water. His hands touch the floor of the water tank as the stream hits his shoulder blades with force. The ends of his hair are also underwater and, maybe it’s to blame my imagination, but it seems like sometimes Yoshiki sighs with discomfort.

To make the cover for a small, 86mmx165mm single, all of these things and time and people are employed. But even for a thing of small dimensions, to the person or people represented, it’s a projection of themselves, a very important sphere. In this situation, the cameras are absorbing all of Yoshiki without leaving anything out.

Now, Yoshiki is immersed deeper. The water is level with his shoulders, the stream falling above his head. As if saying “however you please”, he leaves the rest of the work to the water. With only the sound of the stream and camera shutter, the atmosphere because tense, yet with echoes of cool calmness. As the fantasy mood fades, captured in the water, he drifts.

06:27. “Ok, good job!” the applauses start. It’s the end of the session. A wet Yoshiki wraps himself around a bath robe and leaves the studio.

Outside, the temperature is low enough for us to shiver. And in a clear sky, we can see the light of a full moon.