Radiohead Irks Tokyo

Radiohead caused quite a commotion in Japan Feb. 18 following the sudden release of the band’s latest album.

Radiohead announced earlier in the week it would start making The King of Limbs available for download Feb. 19, but on Feb. 17 a mysterious Japanese-language message appeared in the band’s Twitter feed, stating simply, “Shibuya Hachiko Friday 6:59.”

Shibuya is the area of Tokyo with the city’s highest concentration of young people, and Hachiko square is the area’s main meeting point. Though no further details were given, the message spread like wildfire, prompting speculation that the band might actually show up in Hachiko at the appointed time.

As the time neared, that possibility was effectively squelched by the band itself who, obviously informed of all the ruckus it was causing, released a statement through its Japanese record company, Hostess Entertainment, that it would not, in fact, be in Japan, but that in any event something “special” would happen.

Consequently, Hachiko, which is surrounded by tall buildings with large video screens attached to them, became packed during the afternoon with Radiohead fans who expected something “special.”

Eventually, concerns for public safety won out and whatever it was that was supposed to happen was “called off,” according to Hostess. The “event” would be moved to a special website dedicated to the new album.

Nevertheless, the crowds remained – for nothing. In fact, those who visited the website saw nothing either, since it crashed, perhaps because of an overload of traffic.

As many predicted, the event turned out to be the album’s first video, for the song “Lotus Flower,” which was relegated to YouTube.

Much ado about nothing? Maybe, but everyone in Japan knows about that album now, even people who couldn’t care less about Radiohead.