Asia News: Seoul Delays Concert Resumption, Tokyo Theatre Found To Be COVID Hub & More

Seoul Stalls On Plans To Resume Concerts
The Korea Herald reports that the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Seoul and nearby cities has led to a halt in the resumption of “large concerts” in the capital city. 
Songpa Ward in the southeastern part of the city announced on July 21 that it was prohibiting all indoor events of more than 5,000 people. Many of the sport facilities built for the 1988 Seoul Olympics are located in the ward. 
The move comes as the local government reports dozens of new infections every day in Seoul. Most of the infections are connected to “small marketing events” and “religious gatherings.” The biggest event affected by the new restriction is a series of trot concerts slated to take place from the end of July to August 8 at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium. About 5,200 people were expected to attend each of the 15 concerts in the series at the 15,000-seat hall. 
The concerts are based on a popular TV music program called “Mister Trot,” and would have been the first large indoor concert in Seoul since the pandemic started. The concerts were first announced in February. 
Trot is a form of popular music exclusive to Korea that developed during the Japanese colonial period. It fell out of favor during the rise of K-pop in the 90s but has recently enjoyed a resurgence of popularity. 
Tokyo Theatre Found To Be Hub For COVID Infections
COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Tokyo, and much of the blame is still borne by the city’s entertainment industry, which has been allowed to carry on with business, albeit with restrictions. Several weeks ago, it was reported that a legitimate theater in the Shinjuku district of the capital had been the source of a large cluster of infections – as many as 75 – after a performance of a musical called “The Jinro,” which features a number of male “idols.” 
On July 27, the musical’s production company, Rise Communications, revealed that the “majority” of audience members in the front row were not wearing face shields, despite the fact that Rise says it had adhered to guidelines to prevent any spread of the virus during performances. 
According to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, Rise announced, “Though we distributed face shields to the front row spectators and asked them to wear them, the majority did not wear them.” 
Audience members were also prohibited from interacting with the performers, but nevertheless waited outside the theater after the performance and approached the actors as they left. 
Despite this failure to comply with guidelines, the show will continue to be staged. Rise promised to “take stricter measures to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Malaysia Mobilizes Creative Industry To Support Music
The Creative Industry Task Force of Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Ministry is planning to set up a national organization to support the country’s music industry, according to a report in the July 26 edition of the Malay Mail. Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, the minister of communications, said that the new body will be “responsible for administering matters related to music, including song production.”
The Creative Industry Task Force is chaired by Saifuddin and Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, the minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture. Saifuddin explained that, just as Malaysia has a National Film Development Corporation that defines what a film is and isn’t, the new music body will make the same kinds of decisions with regard to songs.
“For music we have a copyright act,” Saifuddin was quoted as saying, “for regulation purposes and so on, but there is no responsible body to manage the administrative side of music production.” 
The minister compared the aims of the new body to what the South Korean government does regarding the music industry in that country and said that he will study the South Korean model for ideas on how to proceed. 
Saifuddin talked to reporters after meeting with other government officials involved in culture and tourism. One effort would be in the area of promoting nasyid music in line with other native cultural products, such as halal food and muslimah clothing. “People view nasyid as a part of music, but it is in a world of its own,” Abdullah told reporters. Nasyid is a vocal music form indigenous to Malaysia and Indonesia that is performed a cappella or with percussion instruments.
Billie Eilish Postpones Japan
To the surprise of no one, Billie Eilish’s Sept. 2 concert at the Yokohama Arena in Japan was postponed on July 27. 
The local promoter, Creativeman Productions, announced that they were “currently adjusting” for the new date, which would be announced sometime in the future, and that all tickets sold for the September show would be honored on the new date unless the ticket holder wished to apply for a refund, which they can do until Aug. 31. 
Though Billie Eilish’s official Twitter account announced on May 13 that all dates on her Asia tour would be postponed, Creativeman waited until the end of July to make the matter official in Japan.

Jay Chou
AP Photo / Chiang Ying-ying
– Jay Chou
Taiwanese performer Jay Chou takes over Taipei World Trade Center in Taiwan Sept. 28.

Jay Chou Promises Magic Show After Joining Kuaishou Platform
Mandopop superstar Jay Chou made his livestreaming debut on June 26 via China’s short video sharing platform Kuaishou and attracted more than 68 million total viewers, according to a press release from Kuiaishou Technology. 
After creating a Kuaishou account in early June, Chou promised fans a live “magic show” if he could garner 10 million followers on the app.
During the livestream, Chou joked, “To be honest, it’s definitely harder to perform a magic show than a live music concert.” 
Chou is known to Westerners for his roles in various Hollywood movies, including “The Green Hornet” and “Now You See Me 2.” In the Chinese speaking world, Chou has sold some 30 million albums. As of the end of July, his newest song, released on June 11, had been streamed 19.4 million times.
Chou has already collaborated with Kuaishou on a number of projects. The platform has a copyright deal with the artist to host more than 170 music video clips that users can incorporate into their own short Kuaishou videos.