Asia: Dua Lipa Shanghai Stalled, Namie Amuro Farewell, BTS Song Pulled

Dua Lipa
Rod Tanaka /
– Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa is moved by the music at Ogden Theatre in Denver Feb. 5.

Security Stalls Dua Lipa Shanghai Show 
British pop star Dua Lipa’s first-ever concert in Shanghai was interrupted when security guards dragged several fans out of their seats and then out of the auditorium. 
The concert took place at the National Exhibition and Convention Center on Sept. 12, and various videos have been circulating since then showing security guards “shoving and dragging concertgoers from the venue,” according to the New York Times. Several media reported that the targeted fans were waving rainbow banners in support of LGBT causes and that the guards confiscated the banners, though it’s unclear whether the people who were removed were holding such banners. In any case, Lipa herself witnessed the violence and became visibly upset during her performance. In one video, she is crying. 
During the show announcements were made in the auditorium warning the audience not to stand on the seats, but witnesses have said none of the people removed were standing on their seats. They were, however, dancing. 
Later, Lipa posted on Instgram, “I will stand by you all for your love and beliefs and I am proud and grateful that you felt safe enough to show your pride at my show.” A spokesperson for Lipa told the Times that the singer had nothing to add and the company that produced the concert refused to comment on the incident.
Several days later, it was reported that the security guards had been detained by police. Apparently, the staff at the venue had been accused in the past of manhandling fans for standing up or waving flags. The two guards have been given 10-day detentions for “beating other people,” according to The Daily Mail. Police say the guards “argued with a small number of fans while maintaining order at the concert and kicked some of the fans. 

Namie Amuro’s Farewell Gig
Namie Amuro, who has been called the most popular J-pop star of the Heisei Era (1989-present), officially retired from show business the day after her final concert Sept. 15 at a special venue erected for the occasion in Ginowan, Okinawa, where she grew up. 
About 3,500 people came from all over Japan for the historic occasion, which also featured other J-pop stars as guests, including soul singer Ken Hirai, local folk-pop band Begin, and Okinawan punk trio Mongol800. Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai, with whom Amuro has collaborated, also performed. Amuro is very popular in Taiwan.
The 40-year-old Amuro, who has been performing since she was 15, wore her trademark long boots and sang eight songs during the show. There was no encore. 
Amuro’s retirement should have been big news in Japan but was overshadowed by the various natural disasters that have befallen the country in the last week or so, including flooding and landslides in central Japan and a deadly earthquake on the northern island of Hokkaido. Nevertheless, television and publications were full of tributes to Amuro and testimonials from her millions of fans. 

BTS Song Pulled 

Photo courtesy of PMKBNC Press
BTS performs for a packed house at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 25-26.

At the last minute, one of the new songs that was to be featured on K-pop boy band BTS’ new “three-sided single” for Japan was pulled. 
The song, “Bird,” was written by Yasushi Akimoto, the famous writer-producer for the all-female Japanese idol collective AKB48. When BTS’ fans learned that their heroes had recorded an Akimoto composition, they protested the single due to Akimoto’s reputation as a right-wing nationalist. 
The Korean peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945. Among the misdemeanors cited by Korean fans was an AKB performance in which one member wore a jacket with the rising sun symbol, a much derided image in Korean society as it was the symbol of the Imperial forces that controlled Korea. In addition, a spinoff AKB group produced by Akimoto caused a stir when in 2016 they performed in uniforms that resembled Nazi regalia. Akimoto and Sony Music later apologized.
The new BTS single, which is in Japanese and will only be available in Japan, will replace “Bird” with remixes of two other BTS songs. It is set for release in November and will coincide with a BTS Japan tour.