Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan, known simply by Yoshiki, is planning to undergo emergency cervical disc replacement surgery on May 16 in Los Angeles. The band had planned for promotional activities throughout May, which are now postponed, and the band reportedly may have to also postpone several tour dates throughout July, August and September.
The surgery comes as a result of Yoshiki’s intense drumming style, which caused a diagnosis of cervical foraminal stenosis in 2009. Although he underwent a cervical laminectomy and cervical foraminotomy after the initial diagnosis, the drummer later suffered a herniated disc which has worsened over the past six months. Yoshiki experienced serious symptoms, such as numbness and paralysis of his left hand and arm, leading to a second diagnosis of cervical forminal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the cervical disk space.
According to a neurosurgeon in Japan who saw Yoshiki, his neck had experienced severe damage that was comparable to the type of damage professional rugby players are forced to retire from. Yoshiki’s orthopedic spine surgeon in the U.S. recommended he undergo the cervical artificial disk replacement.
“It was decided upon consultation that he will undergo emergency surgery as the condition of his neck at present will interfere not only with his career as an artist, but also with everyday life. From viewing the results of the MRI and CT scans, the damage is so severe that it is apparent that he has experienced considerable pain while performing. As this would be his second such procedure, we eliminated the option of a cervical foraminotomy, an operation in which a portion of bone is removed,” Yoshiki’s Japanese neurosurgeon, Dr. Tommy Tomizawa, told Loudwire.
X Japan’s management has stated, “Following Yoshiki’s operation, a discussion whether to cancel, postpone or move forward as scheduled will be held amongst the agent, promoter and management. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience this will cause to fans and everyone involved. We’ll keep you informed as more details about the band and Yoshiki’s post operation plans become clearer.”
X Japan was formed in the late ‘90s in Chiba, Japan by Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshimitsu Deyama, known as Toshi. The band was influenced by American and British heavy metal and glam rock bands, and has since developed to incorporate those elements along with those of symphonic power ballads. The band’s last studio album to be released was 1988’s Vanishing Vision, after which the band took a hiatus from 1997 to 2007. Since reuniting, the band has completed a series of shows, festivals and tours. The band’s sixth album and first in 20 years was supposed to be released in 2016, but was postponed due to band member Pata’s hospitalization for a severe blood clot. Last month in April, the band stated that the sixth album would be ready for release in the next few months, but Yoshiki’s surgery has since introduced further complications for the band’s schedule.
Read our review of X Japan’s We Are X, an album released in March, which is the soundtrack for a documentary film of the same name detailing the band and their career. Last year, we also had the opportunity to interview Yoshiki about We are X and their forthcoming album.