On August 2, Yoshiki donated 10 million yen in a move to support the victims’ families and survivors of the Kyoto Animation fire which took place just outside of Kyoto, Japan, and left 35 dead and 10 more hospitalized. The suspect of the attack has accused the anime studio of plagiarizing a novel that he submitted previously for consideration but was rejected after the first stage of review. The animation studio has denied that they ever plagiarized the man’s work.
Yoshiki’s donation was made through his 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Yoshiki Foundation America, and the money went toward a support fund that Kyoto Animation established in wake of the arson attack.
Although Yoshiki lives far from Kyoto in Los Angeles, he was able to learn about the event through news reports on U.S. media outlets.
“I am in the United States and I learned about the Kyoto Animation fire on the local news,” wrote the artist on Twitter. “My heart aches. Japanese anime and each one of those creators is a treasure of the world. I hope they recover as soon as possible.”
Yoshiki would go on to explain how the tragic event had a deep impact on him given his 22-year-long-connection–both personal and professional–to anime. This connection moved the artist to take action in support of those suffering from the arson attack as quickly as possible.
“I’m always doing tours around the world,” Yoshiki explained. “No matter where I go, animation fans come to my concerts and support my global activities. I’m always grateful to them. And I always want to contribute to the development of Japan’s anime culture, which I consider one of the world’s treasures. I truly share the pain of those who lost their families. I really hope this will assist the bereaved, and also hope that the circle of support around them will expand.”
Yoshiki is a composer, drummer, and classical pianist who leads the rock group X Japan. He has composed music for a number of animes, including “Forever Love” which would become the theme song for Tezuka Osamu’s Buddha: The Great Departure, and “Hero” from Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary. Most recently in 2018, the artist composed the opening theme for Attack on Titan season 3, entitled “Red Swan.”
Yoshiki’s decision to donate 10 million yen follows a long history of philanthropic work through his nonprofit. In 2011, he donated 11 million yen to help victims of the Great East Japan earthquake. In 2016, he likewise donated 6 million yen in an effort to accelerate and support post-earthquake reconstruction. In 2011, he and the rest of X Japan decided to donate their performance fees from a recent festival in support of Tohoku earthquake survivors. Four years later in 2015, he donated 28 million yen from concert revenue to support earthquake reconstruction in Ishinomaki. Then in 2016, the artist managed to donate 10 million yen to support the victims and survivors of the Kumamoto earthquakes. He also donated $100,000 via the Recording Academy’s charity foundation MusiCares for those suffering after Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Although already impressive, Yoshiki’s past of humanitarian work continues from there. Last July, Yoshiki gave 10 million yen in support of reconstruction following the 2018 floods in Japan and an additional 10 million yen to victims of the Eastern Iburi earthquake. Just last month, Yoshiki donated $150,000 in support of music education. This decision followed a visit to the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. He continually supports the Japanese Red Cross, the Points of Light Foundation, the Grammy Foundation, and the Make a Wish Foundation among other charities.