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Band set to bring X-factor to China

THE Japanese heavyweight band X-Japan will stage a concert in Beijing's Bird's Nest at the end of this year or next year. Band leader and drummer Yoshiki Hayashi arrived in Shanghai last Sunday to meet his fans and release new concert plans for the Chinese mainland.

X-Japan was founded in 1982 by Yoshiki and the vocalist Toshimisu Deyama (better known by his stage name Toshi), originally named X. The group achieved its breakthrough success in 1989 with the release of its second album "Blue Blood." By 2007, the band had sold more than 20 million records and more than 2 million music videos.

The band disbanded in 1997 after three more albums. On June 4, 2007 it was announced that the band would reunite with a new song released via a digital download in January 2008 and live performances scheduled for March and May. The news was greeted with great enthusiasm by fans all over the world.

As well as Yoshiki and Toshi, the current members of the band include Tomoaki "Pata" Ishizuka on guitar, Yune "Sugizo" Sugihara on guitar, violin and backing vocals and Hiroshi "Heath" Morie on bass and backing vocals.

They started their world tour at the beginning of this year and the band has performed in Taiwan and Hong Kong. This time Yoshiki came to the Chinese mainland and included fan meetings in Beijing and Shanghai to show that they were really looking forward to the planned concerts.

More than 20,000 fans in Shanghai applied for admission to the fan meeting at the Shanghai Luwan Gymnastic Stadium, but only 2,000 people were lucky enough to be chosen to meet their idol face to face. There were still hundreds of fans who were waiting hopefully outside the stadium that day.

The band has also been to Sichuan Province to visit victims of the earthquake.

"We gave music instruments as gifts to the children there. We hope they can enrich their life with music," said Yoshiki. "We would definitely go to Sichuan again to visit the children there."

The pandas in Sichuan also attracted the band members. "We made panda toys after we went back to Japan. Every band member has one and they have been named 'X-Japanda,' " he said.


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