KISS makes final stop in Tokyo Japan

KISS Tokyo Dome photo illustration. All photos, illustrations and artwork by: Edward L. Holland, Joshua David, Alain Bellicha and Keith Leroux
KISS Tokyo Dome photo illustration. All photos, illustrations and artwork by: Edward L. Holland, Joshua David, Alain Bellicha and Keith Leroux

KISS makes final stop in Tokyo Japan

by Edward L. Holland
Stripes Japan

From the four corners of the Big Apple to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and around the world a multitude of times, KISS made one final stop during their ongoing End of the Road Tour in Tokyo last year on Nov 30, 2022.

KISS End of the Road paintings

Billed as the “Final KISS,” the group now in its 50th year currently includes long haul veterans Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and seasoned MVPs Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer who replaced founders Peter Criss and Ace Frehley years ago.

It certainly felt like the final ceremonious bow at Tokyo Dome, a last kiss off to members of the KISS Army Japan from the band that chartered their own jet to the Far East first in 1977.

KISS bows to Tokyo by Keith Leroux

Approximately 30,000 faithful gathered last year and hung out like “Creatures of the Night” through an almost twenty-song set list that covered the majority of their heavy hitters at the park.

The love affair between the group and Japan started in 1974 with their second album Hotter than Hell, adorned with Japanese text and imagery heavily bent on the lucrative record market overseas.

The band, dubbed the “Messengers from Hell” raged like a forest fire, inspiring musicians like pianist and drummer, Yoshiki of X Japan, who joined them on stage during Tokyo and Osaka stops in 2019.

Yoshiki and KISS perform Beth at Tokyo Dome 2019

Speaking briefly in Japanese and joking in between songs it historically might be the loosest and tightest the retirement-ready rockers have been in years.  

Nostalgic goodbyes bring the adventurous out of the woodwork, and fans from north to south plus travelers from Germany, Australia, Paraguay, Belgium, America and elsewhere flocked to the dome.

Japanese and foreign fans saw and some fortunately met their idols in face paint backstage for possibly the last time on tour. Though the band will cease to exist as an on-the-road “War Machine,” the corporate juggernaut arm will continue to grab public attention in various ways.

Backstage before the big event

There are those who adore and some who despise them, and the bassist turned business man, Simmons said in a recent interview to American Songwriter, “Love your fans, they are your boss!”

There is no denying that the spectacular band, one of the hottest in the world will be treasured eons into the future, longer than the messengers themselves, thought possible.

In the same interview co-founder, guitarist and lead singer Paul Stanley said, “We’ve survived and thrived and at this point, KISS is eternal.”

About 100 concerts were added to the 2023 tour, allowing time for masses to catch their rock comic-book heroes another time before they plan to make their final “Larger than Life” curtain call in New York City.

Special thanks to Yudai Moriya, Orika Hanamura, Alain Bellicha, and Keith Leroux of KISS for their gracious assistance and photographs for this article.

Orika Hanamura proudly displays custom KISS kimono at Tokyo Dome

Edward L Holland is a photojournalist, tours and travel manager, a recipient of a community service award from the cabinet office of the Government of Japan, and a member of the KISS Army since 1977.

KISS Army Japan gather at Tokyo Dome

Crowd fills into Tokyo Dome

Black Diamond finale photo illustration

KISS Army banner at Tokyo Dome

Tokyo Dome Staff Get KISSed

Everything turns Rose Red on the floor of Tokyo Dome

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content

Around the Web