Asian News: Ayumi To Retire?, Boardwalk Issuing Amuro Refunds, Police Warn Of Ticket Scams In Singapore

Ayumi Hamasaki
VCG/VCG (via Getty Images)
– Ayumi Hamasaki
Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki attends Alvin Goh FUN & SEXY birthday party on February 22, 2016 in Hong Kong, China.

Ayumi To Retire

Japanese press is reporting rumors that J-pop star Ayumi Hamasaki will announce her retirement on Oct. 2, which happens to be her 40th birthday. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it should be noted that Namie Amuro, the biggest J-pop star of the last 30 years, recently retired at the age of 40 herself and had one of the best years of her career in terms of both money and publicity, an aspect that the media has been quick to pick up on.
It’s estimated that in the final year of Amuro’s career she racked up sales of 6 billion yen ($53 million).
The news site Nifty reported that this latter aspect of Amuro’s retirement may have much to do with Hamasaki’s timing, since her own career has been suffering in the past few years. According to the report, when Hamasaki was in her 20s, she brought in 3 billion yen a year, making her one of the biggest earners in Japanese popular music history. A lot of that revenue was due to CD sales, but in the past 10 years only a handful of top idol acts in Japan have been able to sell that many CDs, which are still popular in Japan but only among fans of certain acts and of certain generational demographics. Hamasaki’s fans haven’t necessarily grown with her. Her records sales have dwindled and streaming remains an outliers preference.
Nifty surmises that Hamasaki’s retirement might simply be a ruse to reignite her career. She announces she’s quitting, puts out a best hits album that sells huge numbers, does a long, sold-out tour, and then leaves the stage – -only to return a year or so later in a well-publicized comeback that garners its own attention and attendant revenue streams. It’s been done before in Japan, quite often, in fact, though usually the artist waits more than a few years to come back.
Nifty notes that Hamasaki has a personal staff of about 30 people, even though she hardly needs them right now wit her career somewhat in limbo. She earns income by selling properties she owns. Obviously, she feels she needs to keep loyal people around her for any future endeavors.
Boardwalk Issuing Amuro Refunds
Boardwalk, the Tokyo-based company that handled tickets for Namie Amuro’s big farewell tour between February and June, will refund certain fans who were turned away from concert venues to see her shows because of the types of ID they presented when they showed up.
Mainichi Shimbun reported that during the period in question, social media was filled with posts saying that people who showed disability certificates to prove their identities when claiming e-tickets at Amuro’s concerts were refused entry. Boardwalk only sold e-tickets for Amuro’s concerts in order to prevent the resale of tickets to people masquerading as those who had purchased the tickets and registered their names when doing so. Photo IDs were required when claiming the tickets at the venue.
In Japan, people with developmental, psychological and physical disabilities are issued special ID certificates by the government, and Boardwalk had initially explained that such IDs would be valid when presented at the venue to pick up tickets. However, starting in March, the company announced it would only recognize IDs issued for physical and psychological disabilities, not developmental disabilities. Apparently, many people with developmental disabilities who had bought tickets weren’t aware of the announcement and they were denied entry.
The company has apologized for the confusion and notified the public that it would refund any ticket that wasn’t used because the purchaser was turned away. Boardwalk explained that IDs issued to persons with developmental disabilities are not uniform in terms of “names and styles,” so they decided to remove such certificates from the list of IDs that were valid for claiming tickets since they took longer to check.
Police Warn Of Ticket Scams
In anticipation of concert appearances by several high-level international pop stars, Singapore police are once again alerting the public to be on guard for online ticket scams. In the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, Sam Smith, Mariah Carey and Maroon 5 will be holding concerts in Singapore, and as tickets go on sale, the police have issued a news release describing the various scams that resulted in at least 120 reports of ticket cheating in 2017.
In such cases, according to Channel News Asia, persons who paid for their tickets either did not receive them or received fake tickets.
The main advice given by police is to beware of tickets being advertised for less than the face value. Another sign of a scam is sellers who use local bank accounts or who provide images of drivers licenses as proof of identity. Purchasers should only use shopping platforms that release money to the seller upon receipt of the ticket. The best method is to meet the seller in person and pay only after inspecting the ticket, though in that case it’s important that the buyer recognizes a genuine ticket.
So in the end, the only way to guarantee buying a real ticket is to buy it from an authorized dealer, though, obviously, for concerts that sell out rather quickly there will always be suckers.