It was a day that got very cold. Yoshiki was being filmed for the television show ねるとん紅鯨団 and being interviewed and photographed for many magazines. We started to take photographs for our company’s commemorative book, “Memorial Photo Album” planned to go on sale in March, but it was already past 10. The last scheduled work for that day was a filming planned to start at 11. As the schedule was little by little getting delayed and as every work is of very high standards, requiring a high level of effort, Yoshiki has reached the peak of fatigue. Perhaps he has crossed his limits long ago, but maybe it is that the commonly said “fighting spirit” words between the band is what keeps him going.
The photography studio has a high ceiling, is a spacious but chilly place. In the center, there is a specially built pool. Some steam rises from the difference with the outside temperature. As we get a report about the shooting, it seems like Yoshiki will film a scene where he is jumping into the pool… Saying that, in relation to X, the actual scene spot has changed, because many people of the press keep coming and going incessantly. A little far from the pool, there are assembled a platform and background/mat for photographing.
Above the structure, the staff are on standby, showering Yoshiki with roses. The roses are… blue.
Yoshiki chose the best fitting outfit from dozens of costumes.
11:40. He appears on studio, wearing a black outfit and with a bottle of Evian in hand. From that second onwards, the atmosphere at the photography studio changed. As we heard the director say “So, let’s start?” we all went to our posts of work.
From now on, starting this new thing made us feel a deep sense of nervousness, but in a good way, as Yoshiki was now standing up on the high platform. From behind him, there was smoke and in that direction the lights also shone. Yoshiki had a single rose flower in his mouth.
”Are the roses good in this direction?”
”What about the view?”
After Yoshiki personally checked everything, the first cut was finished. Yoshiki repeated a scene, taking his time. The TV spot is a small world of a few seconds. In it, this single scene is made of 3 or 5 seconds, and needs a lot of takes. After remaking the scene many times, Yoshiki whispers, with a dry smile, “That rose tastes bitter”. With these few words, the group of reporters smile as the atmosphere softens a bit.
Next up, I’ll try to describe for our readers(and maybe in special for our readers who like to dress up?!) what his outfit looked like.
The jacket is knee length size, the type that is shaped at the waist. It is mainly in black but all around there is a gold lamé like material, giving it a gorgeous look.
On the arms, from the shoulders, there is a black Organdy kind of material, woven with golden threads in a lattice pattern, and also with frills from the cut of the sleeves.
Returning to the subject, after when Yoshiki was checking the takes himself on the monitor, I was staring intently at the details of his costume.
Noting down important points such as the sleeves, and then I noticed some more unusual things like how pretty his hands are.
He is wearing the jacket over just his bare skin.
For bottoms, he is wearing glossy leather pants with a specific lateral.
He is wearing short boots a little higher than the ankles, a 5 buckle type. Not less than that.
As the session went well, we progressed to the second cut.
This time, it’s a scene where Yoshiki is standing up and falls down into the background mat.
Because of the neck and back pain he has felt since the Tokyo Dome live, our surroundings have been arranged with these concerns in mind, so that Yoshiki is comfortable to work.
The time is now beyond 12:00, late at night. The temperature inside the studio has dropped sharply.
While being photographed, the song ‘Tears’ is constantly played on repeat as the BGM and Yoshiki sings it to himself from time to time.
In this scene, behind him, roses are falling like as rain.
Then the director instructs him, “So, you can fall down whenever you want”, meaning that the VTR will start whenever Yoshiki decides it is appropriate.
”It’s hard to do this, yeah”, says Yoshiki.
After a second so that we could relax, again in a moment we’re entering the world that is only Yoshiki.
As the studio falls in total silence, we concentrate on his steps. His body slowly falls down, the mat taking him in.
”Didn’t he raise his hands too much?”
”Maybe too exaggerated”
While looking at the rewinding VTR, he hears the staff’s opinions.
”Yeah, that’s it”
With an agreement, the scene will be repeated once more. 3 times, 4, 5, 6 times… When the director is asking “Let’s take a look at the VTR? You’ve fallen already 2 or 3 times”, Yoshiki rises as if his body is a little too heavy and falls into the mat for 7, 8, 9 times.
Finally, it is time for the main scene. The one where he falls into the pool, the main scene of the day.
”Can I touch it?”
Putting his hand in the water, he checks for the temperature. The plan is for Yoshiki to fall into the pool dressed the way he is.
Furthermore, a staff member from the back does a demonstration for rehearsing, falling into the pool as Yoshiki watches how to do it. A huge sheet of water sprays over us as Yoshiki falls down into the pool, and in the moment he fell, he shouted with a loud voice, “Is this for real?!”. The whole studio was filled with laughter, but looking at his face it is really like as if he is asking ‘Do I really have to do this’? I want you to imagine that. He was just standing with his back facing to the pool, and then he fell. He was probably scared of falling into it.
This far into the filming, there is no way it can be rejected, and also there isn’t anyone to do the stunt. Crucial moment. As the VTR starts to roll, a lot of time has passed. Everyone is holding their breath as they concentrate on Yoshiki. I said it is a long time, but rather a few seconds. It is a frightening silence, and until he breaks it, the time really seems to turn into hours. Holding a rose in his mouth, breathing deeply, he fell into the water.
I think it really hurts. When he fell, the water splashed with a loud noise. It must have really hurt.
The cameras of the reporters, who are giving total coverage of this session, approach closer to the completely wet Yoshiki in the pool. The director signs them to hold back. Unexpectedly, Yoshiki says, “Go ahead and photograph all you want, I know how troubling it is to everyone.” He says it in a cheerful way, but it seems like physically, he is tired ‘over capacity’.
”Let’s do it, let’s do it!”
He requests the staff to continue. From here, there is a break for rest, maybe that day Yoshiki wasn’t even standing up with ease, and he himself knows it well, with harsh concentration he managed to do everything. When he fell into the water, the impact was so strong, that his necklace broke off, when he stood up there was steam rising from his body. You can also see how exhausted he is by the way his chest moves when he breathes. After slowly standing up, he runs his hand through wet hair. And also during all that time, ‘Tears’ was still playing as the BGM.
Brushing off the dripping water, the falling into the water scene is repeated many times. Our words became less and less as we watched and when we worried how many times was this going to be filmed, the director signaled it was the end.
Yoshiki took off the wet heavy jacket and the staff brought him a white robe.
As the director’s voice echoed, out of nowhere everyone started clapping their hands. It was a demonstration of respect from the staff and reporters to Yoshiki who didn’t give in to exhaustion.
If it were a live, surely this would be the part where the audience asks for an encore.
Yoshiki now leaves the studio with a smile on his face. The clock marks to 1 AM. As we go outside, it’s freezing to the point we can see our breathing turn into white fog. This long day of work finally ended for Yoshiki. We wonder how many seconds long this TV Spot will be, yet Yoshiki gave it his best. We cannot confirm that this TV Spot will be shown on air, but works like this are accumulating every day. If there is a compromise, working hard will pay off later. Doing things as best as you can is always a plus. The truth is, that Yoshiki didn’t complain a single time about things like, “It’s cold!”, or maybe, “I’m tired!” and such. It was a short session, but there is a lot that we learned that day.