Real name 沢田 泰司 (Sawada Taiji)
Aliases TAIJI
Ray (Dementia)
Date of birth July 12, 1966
Birthplace Ichikawa, Chiba
Date of death July 16, 2011
Bloodtype A
Years active 1982-2011
Current band TAIJI with HEAVENS, TSP,
Occupation bassist, guitarist
Instruments bass, guitar
Website OHP
Taiji Sawada was the original bassist of legendary visual kei rock band X JAPAN from 1986 to 1992. Since then, he had played in several different bands, until he took his life while in jail on July 16, 2011.


1982–92: Early bands and X

After dropping out of high school in 1982, Taiji formed his first band Trash, where he was the leader and guitarist. In late 1984 he switched to bass and going by the name Ray joined the metal group Dementia, staying until 1985. He then played briefly with Prowler, as well as a few shows with X. Until 1986 when he joined the very short-lived Dead Wire, whose line-up also included future SAVER TIGER and D'ERLANGER members, Kyo and Tetsu. Soon after he officially rejoined X at the end of 1986.

Although he wrote many songs for the band, "Phantom of Guilt", "Desperate Angel" and "Voiceless Screaming" were some of the few that were officially released. In 2001, some of the unpublished songs were finally released in Rose & Blood -Indies of X-. Taiji left X in 1992; the official reason given by the band was due to musical differences. However, in his autobiography Taiji claims he was asked to leave because he confronted Yoshiki due to the substantial income gap between Yoshiki and each of the other members. His last concert with the band was the last day of three consecutive nights at the Tokyo Dome, it was released on DVD as On the Verge of Destruction 1992.1.7 Tokyo Dome Live.

1992–2006: Loudness, D.T.R, Cloud Nine

In April he was invited to join Japanese metal band Loudness. He left them in November 1993, after recording only one studio album and one live album. In July 1994 he formed his own band and named it D.T.R, which stood for "Dirty Trashroad" and featured Mitsuo Takeuchi (ex-Joe-Erk) on vocals, Taiji Fujimoto (ex-The Dead Pop Stars, ex-Judy and Mary) on guitar and Toshihiko Okabe on drums.

In 1995 he also joined the short-lived supergroup Kings, with Shuichi Aoiki (Night Hawks) on vocals, Luke Takamura (Seikima-II) on guitar and Satoshi "Joe" Miyawaki (44 Magnum, Spread Beaver) as support drummer.

Guitarist Tomoyuki Kuroda later joined D.T.R in 1995, but a year later Yoshihiko left, and then the band was put on hold when Taiji was going through personal problems. During this time Taiji got divorced from his wife, whom he married in 1989, and became homeless.

In 1998 he created Cloud Nine, but left in 2001 and they decided to continue on without him. He then formed Otokaze (音風) with his sister Masayo (more popularly known as SISTER MAYO) on vocals, and the duo released one self-titled album on November 9, 2004.

In 2005 Taiji was in a motorcycle accident where he badly injured the ligaments in his foot. D.T.R resumed activity in 2006 with keyboardist Kenji Shimizu and their former support drummer Kazuhisa "Roger" Takahashi now official members.

2006–09: Taiji with Heaven's, the Killing Red Addiction

Also in April 2006, he formed another band, Taiji with Heaven's, with Taiji on bass and Dai on vocals, later guitarist Ryutaro joined. In 2009 they officially started activities, in May 2010 Takanari joined on drums and they released their first mini album on January 13, 2010.

In 2007, Taiji returned to Cloud Nine. In 2009 he announced that he would once again be playing bass in a supergroup, The Killing Red Addiction with guitarist Tatsu (Gastunk), drummer Kenzi (Anti Feminism, The Dead Pop Stars, ex-Kamaitachi) and vocalist Dynamite Tommy (ex-Color). They had their debut performance on June 22 at the famed Whiskey A Go Go, in Los Angeles, California, United States. Their second performance was in Osaka, Japan at the Shinjuku Loft on December 29, and they released a cover of Gastunk's "Devil" on iTunes on January 13, 2010.

In December 2008, Taiji's staff announced on his blog that since September his epilepsy and chronic strokes had worsened, and that he was suffering from necrosis after a hip joint replacement of the Femoral Component on his left hip. On December 2 he was hospitalized again after falling and hurting his chest and throat.

2010–11: TSP, Reunited with X

In 2010, he formed TSP (Taiji & Shu Project), with Taiji on bass, guitarist Shu (Cloud Nine, Crazy Quarter Mile), vocalist Dai (Taiji with Heaven's) and drummer Hina (Crazy Quarter Mile). Taiji with Heaven's also performed a show in Korea that year and later announced plans for further activities in the country the following year. However, these were cancelled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

On August 12, 2010, Taiji joined X (now known as X Japan) founders Yoshiki and Toshi at a press conference, to announce that he would be performing as a guest with X Japan at their August 14 and 15 shows at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

On October 9, it was announced that Dai was leaving TSP and would be replaced by Hiroshi "Tazz" Maruki, which resulted in their debut album being delayed.

On January 23, 2011, it was announced that Ryutaro was withdrawing from Taiji with Heaven's due to bad health and personal reasons. On February 17, Tokiya joined as guitarist and it was announced that Taiji with Heavens would now be written without the apostrophe.

2011: Arrest and death

On July 11, 2011, Taiji was arrested after a violent outburst on Delta Airlines Flight 298; he was arrested once landing in Saipan, he faced federal charges in the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

On July 14, Taiji was rushed to an intensive care unit at Saipan's Commonwealth Health Center after being found to have attempted suicide by hanging himself with a bedsheet in his detention cell. The hanging left him brain-dead and he was placed on life support. Taiji died on July 17 after the decision was made to pull the plug on the life support.

Band history

Guest appearances

  • BAKI - bass (solo album, 1989)
  • omnibus - bass (Cozy Powell Forever, 1998)
  • soundtrack - composer, music director (Attitude Original Soundtrack -Fuck the System-, 2008)
  • X JAPAN - played live bass at Yokohama Nissan Stadium from August 14-15, 2010.



  • Attitude Original Soundtrack -Fuck the System- - Soundtrack of the Japanese film, Attitude. Composed by Taiji, and features instrumental track of hide's song, ever free.


  • 伝説のバンド『X』の生と死〜宇宙を翔ける友へ〜TAIJI - Taiji's autobiography. Comes with a bonus CD, Jungle.
  • TAIJI復活PHOTOGRAPH - Taiji's photobook. Comes with a bonus CD, Rain Song.





  • 1985.07.28 Dementia Live!

with X


  • 1992.05.25 Black Widow
  • 1992.08.25 Slaughter House

with D.T.R

  • 1995.05.25 Chain<絆>/I Believe...
  • 2007.08.19 WISDOM/LUCIFER

with KINGS

  • 1995.10.25 MISTY EYES


  • 2001.02.?? 1st Demonstration


  • 2010.01.13 DEVIL


  • 2011.12.28 Mad Destroy (posthumous release)
  • 2011.12.28 Survivor (posthumous release)
  • 2012.07.17 Voiceless Screaming ~from Heaven's~ (posthumous release)

Guest appearances

  • 1989.12.16 The Innergates (BAKI solo album, tracks 2, 3, 6)
  • 1998.09.19 Cozy Powell Forever (omnibus album, track 6)
  • 2008.07.23 Attitude Original Soundtrack -Fuck the System- (composed)


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