Former X Japan Bassist Dies

Taiji Sawada, the original bassist for X Japan, died at the Commonwealth Health Center on the island of Saipan July 17. He was 45.

Though no official cause for Sawada’s death was available at the time of the announcement, media in Japan reported that Sawada was hospitalized three days following an attempted suicide.

He had been on life support in the center’s intensive care unit before his family decided to take him off when it became apparent he was brain dead.

Sawada allegedly became violent July 11 during a Delta flight preparing to land at Saipan International Airport. Reports say he punched a window, kicked the seat in front of him and assaulted the flight attendant.

After landing, Sawada was arrested and the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a complaint, charging him with interfering with the performance of a flight attendant.

The complaint said Sawada was in the business-class section and got into an argument with a female passenger whom some Japanese media identified as his manager.

Sawada was jailed and supposed to appear at the U.S. District Court in Saipan the morning of July 15, but was found hanging from a bedsheet in his cell the night before.

Sawada joined X Japan in 1986 and left the group in 1992. In his autobiography he cited the reason as being dissatisfaction with the uneven pay distribution among the various members of the group. He claims that when he brought the subject up, the band’s leader, Yoshiki, asked him to leave.

He then joined the legendary hard rock band Loudness but stayed with the group for only a year. For the next 18 years he played with various hard rock groups, many of which he founded.

In 2010, he joined X Japan as a guest for two reunion concerts.