Asia News: Knotfest Japan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, AKB48 & More

Scott Legato
– Slipknot
Slipknot delivers chaos and head-turning tunes at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich. on August 12.
Knotfest Japan Teases Lineup
Slipknot and Japanese promoter H.I.P. have announced some of the participants in the third Knotfest Japan, which will take place March 20-21 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba city, a suburb of Tokyo. 
Slipknot themselves will be headlining both days of the festival, which will also feature Korn and Anthrax as alternating support acts. 
According to Loudwire, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor was once in line to join Anthrax and Korn leader Jonathan Davis had recently gone on the record as feeling a certain “camaraderie” with Slipknot. 
Registration for presale tickets has already started. Tickets for the day with Anthrax start at 9,800 yen ($90), while those for the Korn day start at 15,800 yen. 
Sakamoto Denies Affiliation With Xiao Ying
Management of Ryuichi Sakamoto, the former Yellow Magic Orchestra member and Academy Award-winning film score composer, has been trying to quash rumored claims by a well-known Chinese pianist that he is a “disciple” of Sakamoto. 
According to the South China Morning Post, Sakamoto’s team did not mention the pianist by name, but has been saying that there is no truth to the claim. 
The pianist himself, Xiao Ying, came forward on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo to apologize for the fuss and assert that he never made such a claim. 
He says he has written to the Japanese composer to apologize and clarify that he never said he was “a disciple or apprentice” of Sakamoto. 
Apparently, the latest confusion was caused by a Chinese promoter who billed Xiao as “Sakamoto’s disciple” for a concert the pianist was doing last June. 
Xiao said he was not aware of the billing and did not approve the promotional content. He also said he asked the promoter to amend the wording right away. 
Xiao’s management issued a statement on Sept. 25 stating that internet users had hurt Xiao’s reputation by elaborating on the false connection with Sakamoto. 
However, the statement also said, “We have only advocated Xiao as a ‘young pianist Mr. Sakamoto viewed favorably’ and never described him as an apprentice on any occasion.” 
The company denounced any advertising or PR materials that say as much. 
Chiaki Nozu/WireImage
– Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto perform at Barbican Centre on June 20, 2018 in London, England.

The flurry of apologies came one day after Sakamoto’s management released its own statement on Instagram saying, “Ryuichi has never had a discipline or apprentice, always preferring to pursue his musical adventure alone, now and in the future.” 
At that point, a number of internet users indicated Xiao as the unnamed culprit, using screenshots of concert advertisements describing Xiao as Sakamoto’s disciple and claiming Xiao used the composer’s fame for “personal gain.”
Some of the concerts cited included one in which Xiao conducted a “dialogue with Ryuichi Sakamoto” through rearranged versions of his music, and a review by China National Radio that said Xiao’s style was similar to Sakamoto’s and which quoted Xiao as saying he had a personal conversation with Sakamoto in 2017. 
Other Weibo users seem to feel that Xiao has been referencing Sakamoto in promotional materials for years and was simply caught in the act this time. 
Sakamoto is extremely popular in Asia and last year won the Filmmaker of the Year Award at the Busan International Film Festival for his soundtrack work. 
AKB48 Apologizes For ‘Date Tickets’

Japan’s biggest female idol collective, AKB48, has apologized to fans for advertising so-called date tickets to their events. 
According to website SoraNews24, the tickets were part of a package for the group’s performances at the Hakataza theater in the southern Japan city of Fukuoka in November. 
One of the packages was described in promotional literature as “Date Tickets: Experience what it’s like to be an AKB48 member’s lover!”
According to the description of the “service” involved, the ticket would permit the holder to meet with a different member of the troupe on each performance day of the Fukuoka run and watch the concerts as they are performed by other members of the 48-strong collective, which tend to put on shows 16 members at a time. 
Following the concert, the date ticket holder would accompany one of the girls to visit with the AKB48 members who had just performed.
As SoraNews24 pointed out, there was no indication that the “date” would have any romantic connotations, nor that the ticket holder and the chosen member would be alone with each other at any point. In addition, it seemed, from the number of Date Tickets available (100) and number of AKB idols involved (3), that the “dates” would not be one-on-one. 
The plan quickly drew an angry response due to the suggestive naming. AKB management quickly apologized but did not withdraw the offer, instead simply renaming it the “Let’s Cheer On the Performing Members With Other Members” ticket package, which is a mouthful but hardly sounds as suggestive. 

Rugby World Cup Cautions Against Fake Tickets
The organizers for the Rugby World Cup 2019, currently underway in Japan, are warning fans to not buy tickets from vendors other than those that have been officially recognized Reuters reports. 
Organizers reportedly said “hundreds” have so far been turned away at stadium gates due to fake tickets. 
After the Japanese national team, called the Brave Blossoms, miraculously defeated Ireland, considered the second strongest squad in the tournament, tickets for all upcoming games have been a hot item in Japan. Some fans have told the media that they will do anything to get hold of tickets. 
The organizing committee told Reuters that they have little information about where the bogus tickets may have originated or even how many may be out there, but there have been fakes spotted at every game so far. In fact, about 200 fake tickets were “recorded” at the New Zealand-South Africa match on Sept. 21.
Generally speaking the fake tickets were most likely purchased on secondary ticket sites that are not being closely monitored. And, of course, there are always scalpers hanging around the stadiums before games, despite the Japanese authorities’ stepped-up measures to keep them away.
In related news, the organizers of next year’s Tokyo Olympics are now investigating the illegal purchase of 6,900 tickets worth about 180 million yen ($1.67 million) obtained through the official lottery process for Japanese residents. The tickets were registered and paid for with fake IDs, according to police. 
Demand for Olympics tickets has reached 10 times the number in supply, and while new laws were recently passed to crack down on scalping both online and off, there are still a lot of holes in the system. 
Would-be purchasers who apply for tickets online must provide a name and verifiable identification. However, tickets provided as gifts from official sources and sponsors do not require names or IDs.