Asia News: Japan Split Over Olympics, Supersonic Still Scheduled For September
AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko – Tokyo Olympics Torch
Former judo Olympic medalist Tadahiro Nomura holds the Olympic torch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games during a press conference in Tokyo Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The Tokyo Olympics open on July 24, 2020.
Survey Shows Japan Split Over 2021 Olympics
In a recent survey conducted by a Japanese media company, Japanese respondents seemed to be evenly split regarding the prospects for next year’s postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo.
About one third looked forward to the games taking place in July 2021, another third said they thought the games should be postponed for yet another year to 2022 due to uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic, and the final third thought it’s better to cancel the Olympics altogether.
The website Japan Today posted an editorial pondering the “economic ramifications” of sticking to the current Olympics plan, which it called “risky.” The idea is that the Games will provide Japan with a certain level of needed economic stimulus in 2021 and for the future.
However, most of the money for Olympic infrastructure has already been spent, so there will be no further demand in that category. The tourism sector would normally be expected to benefit greatly from the Olympics, but there’s a chance that, even if the Games take place as planned, very few people will travel to Japan to watch them, meaning only locals will attend, and even that is hardly guaranteed.
The conventional estimate is that a complete cancellation of the Games would result in a 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) loss for Japan, while a one-year postponement will mean a 600 billion yen loss. And will NBC still pay out 11 trillion yen for the broadcast rights? More to the point, will all the Japanese companies who counted on the Olympics to add to their bottom lines see any windfall at all even if the Games take place?
In the end Japan Today says “losses will be manageable” as long at the Olympics are held in Tokyo, be it in 2021 or 2022, and, emotionally speaking, the Olympics may just be what the Japanese public needs to regain confidence as it emerges from the pandemic, but that scenario is based on the idea that the pandemic will have ended or, at least, will have become manageable in the meantime.
Supersonic Still Planned For September
Fighting the odds, the Japanese pop festival Supersonic, which is slated to take place Sept. 19-21 in Tokyo and Osaka, is not only still on the schedule, but its organizer, Creativeman Productions, announced a third round of acts on June 26.
In addition to already announced headliners Liam Gallagher, The 1975, Steve Aoki and Fatboy Slim, new acts include Nicky Romero, 88Rising, m-flo, Bad Hop, Novelbright, Vaundy and the Black Eyed Peas, whose possible participation was leaked a few weeks ago.
Several weeks ago organizers launched a crowdfunding project to raise money for facilities and other measures to mitigate any COVID-19 effects at the festival, and as of June 30 they had raised more than 12 million yen ($111,000), thus surpassing their goal of 10 million yen.
Filipino Pop Takes Cues From K-Pop
Like many music styles in Asia, Philippine pop now takes many cues from K-pop and the newest sensation in the southeast Asian archipelago is directly connected to South Korea.
Filipino boy band SB19 is the product of ShowBT Philippines Corporation, a local arm of the South Korean company ShowBT, founded by Geong Seong-han, who told Forbes that when he first visited the Philippines for research five years go, “I noticed the Filipino fans’ enthusiasm and energy for K-pop. That, plus the advantage of [Filipinos] being fluent in English opened an opportunity and possibility for overcoming K-pop’s weaknesses.”
The five-person group that Geong eventually formed was “handpicked” from among a wide range of male K-pop fans. As in the Korean tradition, the quintet underwent training for three full years before releasing their first single, “Tilaluha,” in 2018, and have been releasing songs ever since, including “Ikako,” which is about the coronavirus.
Members of the group told Forbes that while the K-pop model was important in terms of technical discipline, they wanted to promote their identity as Filipinos, especially when singing in another language.
One said that SB19 is frequently mistaken for a K-pop group and that misconception will likely continue as long as they remain slightly “under the radar.” They mean to be the Philippine pop “stepping stone” to the rest of the world, meaning a group that will pave the way for what they call P-pop.
Again, as with many K-pop acts, SB19’s relative success can partly be attributed to their aggressive social media presence. The group regularly shares new content on their social media accounts and holds “mention parties” on Twitter, where fans interact directly with the group in real time.
Hong Kong Disneyland Reopens
Hong Kong Disneyland officially reopened on June 18 with all visitors required to make advance reservations for tickets through the park’s website.
Magic Access members can make reservations up to eight days in advance, while general guests can make reservations up to seven days prior to their planned visit. Free admission and no reservations apply for children under three years of age. During the reservation process, all guests must make a declaration of health. Social distancing is being observed and, according to Travel News Asia, most attractions and restaurants are open. Masks are mandatory and body temperature will be monitored at the entrance. There will be no close interactions with characters.
Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea reopened on July 1 after being closed for four months.
The parks’ operator Oriental Land, said in a statement that the number of visitors will be limited to 15,000 a day and, as with Hong Kong, those visitors must make reservations online beforehand. Also, social distancing and mask-wearing will be the rule. The rides will reportedly be cleaned “more regularly” than in the past, and guests are asked to “refrain from vocalizing loudly” while on rides.