About 25,000 fans, many with flowers for their fallen hero, gathered Thursday at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Honganji Temple to mourn the passing of X Japan guitarist Hideto Matsumoto.
Matsumoto, known as Hide, was found hanging by a ripped towel around his neck in his apartment on Saturday. He died later the same day. He was 33. The reason for his suicide is not known.
The funeral began at 1 p.m. at the Chuo Ward temple and was attended by X Japan’s four other members — Yoshiki, Toshi, Pata and Heath — as well as leading artists from the country’s music industry. Twelve guitars used by the musician were displayed under a photograph of Matsumoto in the center of an altar, and Toshi sang X Japan’s 1996 megahit, “Forever Love,” dedicated to Matsumoto.
“This is like what we see in a TV drama,” said Erina Yamazaki, 19, from Yokohama. “I don’t think it’s real.” The youth also said she believes Matsumoto’s death was an accident and not a suicide. “We just couldn’t believe it,” said Takaki Sato, 17, from Higashi Matsuyama, Saitama Prefecture.
Sato and two of his friends are members of an X Japan cover band and will continue their music to mourn their hero. The three had been at Honganji Temple since Wednesday night.
Referring to attempted suicides by at least two of Matsumoto’s fans, Yoko Kasahara, 25, a longtime follower who came Wednesday from Niigata Prefecture with her 2-year-old son, said, “I hope that nobody does that again. If you really care about Hide’s feelings, I don’t think you can kill yourself.”
Fans from across the country started to gather around the temple Monday evening — after the location of the funeral was announced. About 12,000 had visited the temple as of Wednesday night.
The fans, mostly in their teens, cried out the rock star’s name as his coffin came out of the temple at around 3:40 p.m. Thursday. Some fans fell as they were pushed from behind by others wanting to get a glimpse of the hearse. There were no injuries reported.
Police said 15,000 people had gathered at the temple by noon Thursday. They mobilized about 230 officers for security.
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