Asia News: D-Crunch, Taylor Swift, Rugby World Cup, Scalpers

D-Crunch Abruptly Cancels Kuwait Dates
A performance by the K-pop group D-Crunch in Kuwait was cancelled seemingly minutes before the 9-member boy band were set to take the stage on Oct. 27. The show was part of a free concert celebrating Korean-Kuwaiti ties featuring traditional Korean musicians and other Korean artists. 
D-Crunch was to be the final part of the show and according to Gulf News it was clear that the audience was mainly there to see the group, the only K-pop act on the bill. However the band came out, with some members reportedly having tears in their eyes, to say they couldn’t perform. 
According to the Straits Times, permission for the band to perform was rescinded from on high, though no explanation was given for why the Kuwaiti authorities called off the show and why they did it so abruptly and late. 
The Straits Times said that various media thought that “the authorities were not happy about the D-Crunch members’ stage personas as well as lifestyle choices,” but the group had earlier performed in Abu Dhabi as part of another Korean festival with no problem. One local commentator said he didn’t understand the cancellation because “K-pop is not controversial, it’s all clean choreography.” 
The suspicion is that the authorities may have caved at the last minute to more conservative elements in Kuwaiti society, even though one member of the group told an interviewer before the cancelled show that they specifically changed part of their act so as to “fit Middle Eastern culture.” Strangely, the Korean embassy in Kuwait lauded the concert as a complete success without mentioning D-Crunch’s cancellation.
Taylor Swift
Photo by Dave Hogan/ABA/Getty Images
– Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift performs during the “City of Lover” concert at L
Taylor Swift Rumored For Shanghai Singles’ Day
The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Taylor Swift will perform at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena on Nov. 10 as part of the Alibaba Group’s annual Singles’ Day extravaganza with the show being broadcast live throughout China. 
Swift is especially popular in China, where her latest album sold more than a million copies during the first week it went on sale. 
Singles’ Day was created about twenty years ago as an alternative to Valentine’s Day and takes place on Nov. 11. Starting in 2009 the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group took advantage of the holiday to turn it into a huge shopping event that usually racks up bigger sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Last year’s event grossed Alibaba $30 billion in just 24 hours’ time.
Secondary Scores On Rugby World Cup Tickets
Prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 final between England and South Africa in Japan on Nov. 2, tickets on secondary sales websites for the game were going for between $1,000 and $5,000. The face value of the cheapest ticket to the final was about $230. 
According to Reuters, English scalpers were evident “on the streets of Tokyo and Yokohama” selling second-hand tickets, despite warnings from the organizers that people who purchased tickets from “unauthorized sellers” would be refused entry at the stadium. 
So far there had been few reports of that happening, and ticket resale sites told people who bought their tickets through them that they would refund their money if turned away. A spokesman for one of the websites, Viagogo, told the Guardian that “the market is working perfectly.”

Rugby Cup
Stu Forster/Getty Images
– 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.

Scalper Arrested Over Arashi Tickets
It’s not clear if Japan’s new anti-scalping law had any effect on the RWC, but the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on Oct. 24 that police had for the first time charged an individual with violating the new law. An unidentified 24-year-old woman was charged with reselling four tickets to concerts by the popular Japanese boy band Arashi between June and September. The face value of two of the tickets was 5,000 yen ($46) and that for the other two was 9,000 yen. She sold all four for a total of 423,000 yen ($3,880). The suspect has reportedly admitted to the allegations.
Arashi have announced that they will suspend activities as a group at the end of the year, so tickets to their concerts have been very hard to come by. The suspect, who apparently has resold other tickets to Arashi concerts and events since the beginning of the year, bought the original tickets through both legitimate outlets and secondary sites. Police say according to her phone records she resold at least 17 tickets to 10 concerts and events, for which she received almost one million yen. 
The high price of the resold tickets is mainly due to other services the woman offered to customers. People who buy Arashi tickets through authorized vendors must register their personal information so that the person’s ID can be checked when they arrive at the venue. The suspect would provide fake ID for buyers of the tickets that match the names registered for the tickets. Consequently, the police have also charged the woman with forgery. In addition, many of the tickets were originally sold to Arashi fan club members, which means the woman had to provide fan club registration information to the buyers. 
The tickets were offered and sold through so-called flea market apps, which are very popular in Japan right now. Asahi says that the ticket sales would be camouflaged by being offered on sections of the apps reserved for things like home electronics. 
The seller would specify the gender and age of acceptable buyers since they had to match that of the original purchaser. Six flea market apps have now said they will crack down on the practice, but resellers are already switching to social media sites like Twitter or overseas second-hand ticket sites. Asahi says that online scalping is still very prevalent. 
The suspect said that she carried out the reselling scheme to fund her travels as she followed Arashi all over Japan during their final nationwide tour. The new anti-scalping law went into effect in June.