Ideas
July 11, 2022 2:37 PM EDT
Yoshiki is a composer, classically-trained pianist, rock drummer, and the leader of the rock group X Japan which has sold more than 30 million records. Named "one of the most influential musicians and composers in Japanese history,” his projects include theme songs for Hollywood films and the Golden Globes. He has performed at Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, and Carnegie Hall.

As a Japanese musician who spends much of his time in Los Angeles, I hear news of guns all the time. I never thought I’d hear this kind of news in Japan. But the shocking assassination of our former prime minister has shattered that.

I came to know Shinzo Abe not through politics but through music, including working together to promote tourism to Japan. Even though I’m not a political person, I have met many government leaders across the political spectrum during my career. My music has been used in political campaigns. I was asked to compose a piano concerto for the 10th anniversary of Emperor Akihito and performed it again at the end of his reign.

Prime Minister Abe with Yoshiki and the First Lady Akie Abe
Courtesy Yoshiki Former

Abe-san was special. He was smart and shrewd, exuding confidence and optimism about Japan and its place in the world, and in my experience kind and unfailingly polite. He always kept positive with a smile on his face, no matter the circumstances. It made the people surrounding him feel comfortable and relaxed. It was not hard to tell why he became the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japan’s history, or why his influence will continue even after his tragic death.

I hope that the world takes from this horrible moment a reminder.

We need more love not weapons.

Praying for a peaceful world.

May he rest in peace.

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