X Japan frontman appears to fight back tears as he talks with a Nobel Laureate about the pandemic.

Yoshiki from X-Japan is one of the country’s most famous and talented musicians, and he’s also known for being one of the most generous, donating 10 million yen to Kyoto Animation after the deadly arson attack, and even making donations for Australian bushfire relief.

Now that the world is under threat from the coronavirus pandemic, Yoshiki has revealed he’s donated a total of US$24,000 to St. Vincent Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles, divided into eight separate donations of $3,000 each to the following branches: Long Beach, Culver City, West Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Downtown, Orange County, Pasadena, and Santa Monica.

Yoshiki, who’s been based in L.A. for about 20 years, says he’s been involved with Meals on Wheels, a federally supported program that delivers meals to elderly people who cannot prepare meals at home, for ten years. He decided to make the donation in response to the difficulty elderly people are facing in buying food and supplies, especially now that it’s being recommended they avoid supermarkets to avoid contracting the virus.

He said:

“I think now is the time to support each other — it’s time to not just give and take but to give. It’s particularly important to consider those who are most vulnerable to the current crisis right now. I would like to make this donation in the hope that it will help the elderly who find it difficult to go out and make meals for themselves, and remind everyone, not just people in L.A., of the meaning of give and take. Even I’m finding it harder than usual to find supplies for meals. I hope that this situation will end as soon as possible.”

Yoshiki is not just donating his money to a worthy organisation during the current crisis – he’s also giving up his time to discuss how we can actively protect the older and more vulnerable members of our societies during this time. Joining him for the discussion is Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka, a medical researcher who is the director of the iPS Cell Research Institute at Kyoto University.

The discussion, which is framed as an interview, took place on 11 March, and was uploaded to Yoshiki’s official YouTube channel with English subtitles yesterday.

The 50-minute video covers a wide range of issues, with Yoshiki asking some of the questions that foreign reporters have been asking professionals in Japan, including whether or not the number of cases being reported in Japan is accurate.

Yamanaka says that, while he’s not an expert in this field, his opinion is that Japan is not testing enough compared to other countries like South Korea or Italy. He says if Japan were to test more, they would find more cases, but then again, doing that would flood hospitals with less severe cases so that medical staff would be unable to treat those with more severe problems.

Yamanaka therefore believes Japan shouldn’t just blindly test everyone, and he maintains that he has faith in the doctors and professionals who are tackling the virus at the frontlines and making decisions about what moves to take next.

Yoshiki and Yamanaka go over some other issues like places to avoid, ease of transmission and the effect of clusters, like the one found at a live music venue in Osaka. Throughout the discussion, the main message appears to be aimed at a younger demographic, as the two want young people to be aware that they could carry the virus with little or no symptoms, endangering older and more vulnerable people.

Yoshiki also reveals that when he posts on social media to say he believes concerts at this time could be dangerous, the for and against reactions begin to roll up. This appears to trouble the star, and at the 46-minute mark of the video Yoshiki seems to even tear up, finding it hard to speak as he says:

“I go to tweet these kinds of things and for as much as I’m tweeting recently, I get stopped by my staff a lot. You might ask: why is that necessary? But with the criticism that comes with my tweets, my staff often ask me not to take the risk. There’s a lot of risk factors. All of my broadcasts are constantly being checked by my staff, almost like being screened. So there’s always something where they ask me to stop…but I feel that raising a problem also has meaning, you know? I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut like this anymore.”

Yoshiki says a lot of sponsors and people who he represents would like him to avoid any and all conflict as much as possible, which he says is understandable. However, he feels he has to stand up for what he believes in. In early March, for example, Yoshiki refused to do a no-audience coronavirus concert out of concerns for staff who would be putting themselves at risk of catching the virus by being in close quarters in spaces that weren’t well-ventilated.

While he doesn’t want to cause confusion or panic with his messages, Yoshiki does want to better educate everyone on the potential dangers of the coronavirus. It’s something he’s clearly passionate about as well, as the video ends with him wiping away a tear and grabbing a box of tissues.

While nobody in the music industry, least of all Yoshiki, wants fans or live venues to suffer at the moment, the coronavirus pandemic poses an unprecedented threat to society that needs to be brought under control. Not just for the sake of young music fans, but for everyone everywhere, and particularly the older generation too.

Now is the time to give by giving up what we once took for granted and showing compassion and patience for others, which is something we can all do by staying at home, washing our hands…and not panic-buying or panic-stealing toilet paper.

Source: PR Times
Images: YouTube/Yoshiki 
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