Asia News: Rugby Cup, MAMA, U2 & More

Rugby CUp
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– Rugby CUp
Fans interact with players during a game between Russia and Samoa at the 2019 Rugby Cup at Kumagaya Rugy Stadium in Kumagaya, Saitama, Japan.

Rugby Cup Nearly Sells Out

Two days before the World Rugby Cup 2019 was set to start in Japan, 96 percent of the tickets to all events had been sold, according to international sports newsletter

In addition, open training sessions in Japan by three teams prior to the opening ceremony attracted some 27,000 fans alone.

In addition, media research has shown that some 100 million people in Japan are “aware” of the tournament, whose news coverage reached a fever pitch on the eve of the opening ceremony. To top it off, the home team, Japan, defeated Russia in the opening game at the main stadium in Yokohama.

Matches have been well covered and attended since then, and while the expected beer shortage has not materialized thanks to the extra attention paid by official sponsor Heineken, venues have run out of food rather quickly during games. Consequently, most stadiums have lifted the ban on bringing food from outside into the stands.

MAMA Sets Course For Nagoya

Contrary to expectations, the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), the largest K-pop awards show in Asia, has chosen the central Japan city of Nagoya for its 2019 ceremony, according to the Korea Herald.

The announcement came as something of a shock given that Tokyo and Seoul are currently in the grip of a serious diplomatic faceoff that has no end in sight.

The 2019 MAMA will take place on December 4 at the 30,000-seat Nagoya Dome, according to the show’s organizer, CJ ENM. The previous two awards ceremonies were conducted as three-day events in three separate Asian cities, but this year it has been limited to one day in one city, mainly because Hong Kong, which was a favored destination in the past, is still in the midst of protests that have made such events uncertain.

In a press release, CJ ENM said about the unexpected decision to hold the show in Japan, “The consensus was that civil and cultural exchange should be separated from political issues and they should continue on.” In addition, one executive told the media, “MAMA has undoubtedly carved out its presence as the most prominent Asian music award event…it will try to help K-pop and Asian music cross the borders of nations and culture to become a global mainstream.”

Mnet is a cable music channel in South Korea. The awards were launched in 1999 and adopted the acronym MAMA in 2009. Since 2010, the awards ceremony has been held outside of South Korea. CJ ENM will announced the talent lineup as soon as it has been organized.

U2 Sets Course For Mumbai

U2 will wrap up the 2019 edition of its 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree tour with the band’s first-ever concert in India.

The boys from Dublin will play at the 55,000-seat DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Dec. 15 in a newly added date to its Asia-Pacific leg, which also includes their first-ever show in the Philippines.

The Mumbai show will be produced by Live Nation Global Touring and organized in India by BookMyShow, which also organized Ed Sheeran’s India tour and other large-scale international productions.

In a public statement, U2’s Adam Clayton wrote, “We’re much looking forward to bringing a dash of Dublin to Mumbai, India—a country famous for its rich culture of art, music, movies, theater, literature, food and so much more. There is a lot of excitement in the U2 camp.”

The Edge wrote, “We have been around the world with ‘The Joshua Tree’ and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of this tour. Mumbai, India, we’re coming for you—I hope you’re ready.”

The last leg of the 2019 tour starts in New Zealand on Nov. 8 and proceeds to cover four cities in Australia, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Manila.

Shanghai’s Blue Note Encore

China’s second Blue Note jazz club opened in mid-September in Shanghai, according to the Global Times.

Three years ago the first Chinese Blue Note club opened in Beijing. Both openings were made possible by Jonathan Lee, an “influential Taiwan musician,” who first contacted the New York-based nightclub operator in 2014 on behalf of the Beijing Yinghuan Culture Media Company.

The Global Times notes that Shanghai has always had a certain rich relationship with jazz due to its close contact with foreigners over the past century. The Paramount club, which was quite active in the 1930s and 40s, is considered the birthplace of jazz in China. However, Beijing has had to build its jazz base from the ground up over the past three years.

Singers Cancel Penang Gig Citing Theft

Two of Taiwan’s most popular Mandarin-language pop singers, David Tao and Shin, were scheduled to play a dual concert in Penang, Malaysia on Sept. 21, but at the last minute the organizers were forced to cancel the show, saying that the lawyer who had been entrusted with the funds for the show had disappeared, along with the money. According to Malay Mail, the lawyer is believed to have absconded to China.

Tao and Shin’s managers have filed a police report in Malaysia, saying that they were sent “fake telegraphic transfer slips” of the performance fees.

In addition, the concert organizer is being cited by Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry for using three official logs to promote the concert with the ministry’s permission.

Moreover, a local hotel association was ready to sponsor the five-star hotel rooms for the two stars, as well as rooms for other artists who were to play a mini-festival next month for the same promoter. They have withdrawn the offer.

The organizer told The Star that they had given the lawyer about RM3.8 million ($900,000) in July and another RM 3 million in September to hold in escrow funds for putting the concerts together.

They realized that the lawyer was missing when they heard that the artists had not received their fees by the day of the show. Fans had already arrived at the venue, the Spice Arena, when they learned that the show would be cancelled. To make matters worse, there would be no refunds.

However, there was a silver lining. Tao and Shin announced that they would play for their fans in Penang on Sept. 28 for free at a venue to be announced on the condition that the organizers apologize to the fans.