Asia: Yokohama, Bieber, Chris Brown, Linkin Park

New Yokohama Arena

A new arena dedicated to music will be built in Yokohama, Japan, by the Japanese ticket vending and event publishing company Pia.

The 10,000-seat venue, which doesn’t have an official name yet, will cost 10 billion yen ($89.3 million) to build and should be completed by 2020. It will be built in the Minato Mirai area of Yokohama, which is close to the port, and will cover 12,000 square meters of rented land and rise four stories high. According to Japan’s premiere financial daily, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the main impetus for the building is an acute shortage of large venues for concerts in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, despite the fact that Japan’s concert business is booming at the moment, having doubled in terms of revenues in the past five years. The main problem is that in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, many venues used for concerts are being either renovated or completely rebuilt because of aging, and those that remain open tend to also host sporting events, thus limiting their use for music.

The Pia arena will be used only for concerts, and the company predicts more than 200 shows a year once it is opened.

Pia, apparently, can afford the arena. Company revenues for the last fiscal year, which ended in March, rose 10 percent year-over-year to 152.8 billion yen, with operating profits increasing by 17 percent to 1.7 billion yen.

Both numbers are all-time highs for Pia. The newspaper points out, however, that with concerts declining in number over the next three years despite present demand, long-term demand could be adversely affected, assuming the concert market will lose momentum.

So the faster Pia gets the arena open, the sooner it can preempt such a negative consumer reaction.

Linkin Park Fallout

Linkin Park was scheduled for three arena shows in November in a suburb of Tokyo, and the death of lead singer Chester Bennington has obviously put those shows in doubt. As of July 25, the shows’ promoter, H.I.P., posted a notice on the home page for the concerts acknowledging Bennington’s death but saying that it would inform ticket holders of the status of the concerts “soon.”

Meanwhile, Takahiro Moriuchi, the lead vocalist of Japanese hard rock band One OK Rock, which was slated as the opening act of the Linkin Park shows in Japan and a few in the U.S., posted a message on his Instagram account mourning the death of Bennington.

Moriuchi wrote, “No words to express what I’m feeling right now. Can’t believe we were supposed to meet in just a few days … You were an inspiration to me and so many others … and the reason we started our band. My thoughts go out to your family, friends, bandmates and loved ones. You will truly be missed. RIP.”

Bennington’s death also was felt in China. According to, about 39 million messages about Bennington were posted on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, after his death was reported. Many of the posts thanked the Linkin Park singer for giving fans hope and the will to live through traumatic experiences.

One user wrote, “I still find it hard to believe that the voice that gave me the will to fight and led me from desperation to hope has chosen to bid goodbye to this world. I hope you get what you wish for in the other world.”

Linkin Park performed in China several times, including five cities in 2015.

Chris Brown Suing Promoter

Chris Brown
Scott Legato /
– Chris Brown
“The Big Show at the Joe,” Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Mich.

Chris Brown is reportedly bringing a lawsuit against a promoter in the Philippines who, he claims, tried to cheat him out of $300,000. The incident in question started in 2014 when Brown was slated to perform at a New Year’s Eve show in Manila but had to reschedule due to passport problems. Eventually the shows were rescheduled for July 2015 and went ahead as planned, but Brown says when he tried to leave his hotel the next morning he was stopped by armed men.

A lawyer for the arena where he played told him that he would arrested if he didn’t pay the promoter, Jose Victor Banos Biongco, $300,000. Brown refused to pay and called an immigration lawyer who was able to get him out of the country, according to XXL magazine.

Now he is suing, saying that the incident caused him emotional distress.

Bad Bieber

Though Justin Bieber has since canceled the remaining dates on his “Purpose” tour, including a number in Asia, two weeks ago he became the latest Western entertainment target of Chinese authorities who effectively banned him from performing in Beijing because of his “bad behavior.”

The controversy started July 18 when some fans asked the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture why Bieber hadn’t included the capital in his tour of Asia, which was set for the early fall.

In a statement, the bureau responded, “His series of misbehaviors while living abroad and during his performances in China has caused public resentment.

To regulate the domestic entertainment market and purify its environment, we find it inappropriate to bring in performers with bad behaviors.” Bieber’s “bad behaviors” have been enumerated in detail in the Western press, and while in China for a concert some years ago he had some of his entourage carry him up onto the Great Wall, which may have offended some Chinese.

Another stunt that may have offended the Chinese government was a visit Bieber made to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

The shrine memorializes all the Japanese soldiers who died in World War II, including Class A war criminals. China resents anyone who worships there. Bieber seemed innocent of these offenses when he prayed at Yasukuni, only trying to curry favor with Japanese fans.

Bieber’s ban was covered by every possible media outlet, but only CNN tried to find out if, in fact, the Canadian singer left China off his “Purpose” itinerary because he had to.

The cable news service says it called a ticketing website that appeared to be selling tickets for two Bieber concerts in September, one in Beijing and another in Shanghai.

The person who answered said that if the Beijing authorities’ announcement was true, they would refund the tickets. No such shows, however, were listed on Bieber’s own website. An official of the Shanghai cultural authority also told CNN that if Beijing had decided to ban Bieber concerts, it would do the same.