Elon Musk’s recent Twitter rebrand has been brought to a halt in Japan, following clashes with the trademarked name of hit rock band, X Japan.
This month social media users were left surprised after Twitter owner Elon Musk rolled out a surprise rebrand for the platform – renaming it as X and scrapping the original bird logo. Now, the site is simply going by X in the United States, and each location that has a dedicated Twitter page has been updated to ‘X’, followed by the name of the country.
However, this is proving to be an issue in Japan, as the brand name has already been trademarked by hit J-rock band, X Japan.
Formed by members Toshi and Yoshiki in 1982, the four-piece have recorded together on and off for decades, and remain one of the highest-selling bands in the country. Now, the band have kept Twitter (X) from infringing on their name, and also released their first new single in eight years.
The track – titled ‘Angel’ – is their first new song since 2015’s ‘Born To Be Free’, and was written by the band’s leader, composer, drummer and pianist Yoshiki. Featuring vocals sung in English, it contains emotive lyrics including “Where do we go, I asked myself, I asked my shadow/ Twilight’s still throwing the silhouette ahead/ The edge of the night drapes the shade in New York City/ If I could fly from skyscrapers I’d be flying to you/ Like an angel.”
‘Angel’ also arrives five years after Japan X played live, with their final shows taking place at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan in September 2018 – the same year that they also appeared at Coachella and released the documentary We Are X.
Speaking with Consequence in a new interview, Yoshiki explains the motivation behind the song, and confirms that it took so long as he was also juggling “a billion” other projects in recent years.
“I wanted my fans to know I’ve been working on X Japan, regardless of my billion other projects. Also, I’ve been fighting internally inside my heart to create the best art through X Japan’s filter,” he said.
“Musically, I originally composed this song for my classical solo project… but eventually I started thinking this would fit with X Japan’s style. I wanted to add an aggressive side to this beautiful melody,” he continued. “Lyrically, I wanted to write something about how people in this world are suffering. People are hurting, including myself. I wanted to emphasise that you will also be loved. I’m saying, ‘Try to love, don’t give up. Don’t die.’ That’s also a message to myself.”
Speaking out on the potential conflict that may emerge from the recent Twitter rebrand, Yoshiki also said that while he “respects” Musk, he doesn’t want fans to fight about the topic, but rather seek a “positive” solution.
“First of all, I respect Elon Musk. I think he is very innovative and inspirational. I named the band ‘X’ decades ago in Japan,” he told the outlet. “It’s not about what I should decide, but what fans should decide. At the same time, I don’t think this is something people should fight about — let’s make something positive out of this.”
He also reassured concerned fans on the platform following news of the rebrand, and wrote a bilingual tweet telling them that he thinks the band’s title is already trademarked, and therefore should prevent the social media platform from taking over the name.
— Yoshiki (@YoshikiOfficial) July 24, 2023
However, he didn’t mention whether or not the trademark is registered outside of Japan as well, and it remains unclear whether the copyright would be enough to prevent the platform from simply calling itself ‘X’ within the country.
In other Twitter news, earlier this year it was reported that Elon Musk‘s new feature for Twitter Blue subscribers — the ability to upload two-hour videos — has been used for film piracy. It was revealed after one verified user took advantage of the new feature and uploaded Shrek The Third in its entirety.