Asia News: Kyohei Tsutsumi, COVID Stadium Test, Strawberry Music Festival & More
Kyohei Tsutsumi Dies
Kyohei Tsutsumi, one of Japan’s most prolific postwar pop composers, died at the age of 80 on Oct. 12, reportedly of pneumonia.
Tsutsumi, whose real name was Eikichi Watanabe, was at his peak productivity in the 1970s and ‘80s, but the approximately 3,000 songs he wrote were spread out over half a century.
Perhaps his most well-known work was the theme song to the hit TV animated series “Sazae-san,” which started in 1969 and continues to air on a weekly basis to this day. Most of his hits were for so-called idol acts, including boy bands handled by one of Japan’s biggest and most notorious talent agencies, Johnny and Associates.
Japanese Government Plans COVID Stadium Test With Baseball Games
The Japanese government has announced a test to learn more accurately how the COVID-19 virus spreads in large venues where many people are gathered.
The test will take place at Yokohama Stadium, one of the country’s premier baseball parks, for three days starting October 30. The stadium holds a maximum of 34,000 people and will be one of the main venues for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year, hosting baseball and softball games.
The test will be carried out by local authorities and the mobile game developer DeNA Co., which owns the professional baseball team, the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, for which Yokohama Stadium is their home park. According to Kyodo News Service, the governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, Yuji Kuroiwa, told a press conference, “We want to mobilize the most advanced technologies to present a model and create a path toward the success of the Tokyo Olympics.”
Over the three days of the test, regular baseball games will be played. On the first day, spectators accounting for 80 percent of the stadium’s capacity will be allowed. On the last day, the stadium will allow full capacity. Using high-precision cameras and beacons, the prefecture’s scientists will study the flow and density of the people entering the open-air stadium in various locations and the percentage of spectators wearing masks.
In September, the government eased audience limits for sporting events, but retained a ceiling of 50 percent capacity for venues that hold more than 10,000 people. These limits will be effectively lifted at Yokohama Stadium for the three-day testing period. The exceptions so far have been smaller venues that hold events considered to have low infection risks, such as classical concerts and movies. Most classical concert halls and movie theaters in Japan are now operating at full capacity.
In general, Japan, with a population of more than 125 million, has done well with the virus compared to many Western nations. As of mid-October about 92,000 people had been infected, with about a third occurring in Tokyo, where infection rates continue to spike on occasion.
Strawberry Music Festival Stages Live In China
The China Global Television Network has declared the 2020 Beijing Strawberry Music Festival a resounding success.
China’s largest pop music festival is normally held in the spring but was postponed to Oct. 5 this year because of the coronavirus pandemic by its organizer, the independent music label Modern Sky. As such, it took place during China’s Golden Week holiday, thus guaranteeing a big turnout, now that the country has deemed it has turned the corner with regard to the spread of the virus.
Nevertheless CGTN reports that anti-virus measures were still in place on the festival grounds, with masks required of all attendees, body temperature scans being performed at the entrance and disinfection stations located throughout the grounds. Also, the organizers limited the number of attendees to 25,000. Normally, Strawberry attracts about 100,000 people
All of the acts were Chinese this year, and CGTN noted that the crowd included more parents-with-young-children than in previous years, thus highlighting the notion that Strawberry has become more of a family event over the years.
Photo by Herman Lumanog/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images – Alden Richards
Alden Richards performs during the New Year 2020 countdown in Pasay City, Philippines. Richards has announced he will be hosting a virtual reality concert on Dec. 8.
Alden Richards Plots VR Concert
Asian star Alden Richards will hold his first “virtual reality concert” in the Philippines on Dec. 8, according to the event organizer GMA Network.
“Alden’s Reality” will combine “cutting-edge technology” using 360-degree production and a “full-length concert with online interaction” to celebrate the star’s 10th anniversary in show business.
The concert will be available to all of Richards’ global fans. Tickets are being sold online through GMA Network’s own home page, and Philippine fans will have the option of purchasing a VIP package that includes an exclusive VR device.
Seoul Forest Goes Silent
The Seoul Forest Jazz Festival in South Korea is taking place this year in a physical outdoor space called Seoul Forest on the weekends of Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 24-25 but will be completely silent.
Attendance will be limited and spectators will be provided with wireless headphones so that they can enjoy live music and also maintain proper social distancing.
Rex Orange County Calls Off Asian Tour
Rex Orange County’s Asia tour, which had been postponed from last May to an undetermined later date, has now been completely scrapped, with the British singer’s management concluding that the COVID pandemic will not be tamed by then.
In a statement posted by NME Asia on Oct. 13, the singer’s team stated, “We have tried very hard to plan for the future amongst the continuing global health crisis, but it has become clear that we’re unable to reschedule the PONY Asia tour dates to a new period that we are fully confident will go ahead.”
The original tour was set to visit Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo and Seoul.