Don’t Forget Your Permit

The offices of Avex Entertainment were raided by police on June 10 in connection with a publicity event that the record company staged for J-pop superstar Ayumi Hamasaki back on April 7.

Hamasaki was set to appear on a special stage erected in front of a department store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Only involved people and a select group of fans had been informed of the appearance.

The purpose was to publicize the singer’s autobiography, which had just been published, as well as her new album, Next Level.

Before showing up at the department store at about 3 p.m., Hamasaki visited three CD stores in the area. Though she didn’t sing and was on stage for about three minutes, a crowd estimated at about 8,000 people quickly gathered, spilling out onto the streets and causing traffic problems.

Avex and the department store expected a larger than normal crowd and hired 70 security guards to control them. There was no panic or injuries reported, but police say that Avex and the department store should have applied for approval beforehand to use part of the roads. Consequently, the two companies face charges under the Road Traffic Act.

In a similar incident that ended differently, Yoshiki, the drummer and leader of visual-kei group X-Japan, visited a bookstore in Kyoto June 10 to greet fans and talk about a new book, “Yoshiki,” which is supposedly the true story of the singer’s near-death experience.

The visit was supposed to be a surprise and, in fact, Yoshiki only thought of it the night before but announced it on his personal Web site.
By 7:30 a.m., about 300 fans were crowded in front of the bookstore.

Twenty security guards had been posted, but after the star’s Mercedes-Benz pulled up they couldn’t stop the throng from almost crushing him as he entered the building.

Media reports say that he ended up spraining the fingers of his right hand, though no one made a joke about Yoshiki surviving another near-death experience.

So far, police haven’t raided any record companies in relation to the incident, but these things often take time.