Asia News: Storm Ends Final Day Of Rock In Japan, Scalping Doesn’t Pay For Crime Syndicate; Psy’s Summer Drag


Meari Blows Out Final Day Of Rock In Japan

The final day of Rock in Japan, which has traditionally been Japan’s biggest summer music festival in terms of attendance, was canceled at the last minute because of the approach of tropical storm Meari.

This year’s festival, which took place over two successive weekends comprising five days – Aug. 6-7 and 11-13 – was the first to take place in its new location at the Soga Sports Park in the city of Chiba, which is directly east of Tokyo across the bay.

Several days before the final day, the headliner, Keisuke Kuwata, canceled his appearance after he tested positive for COVID.

In any case, the unexpected intensification of the tropical storm into near-typhoon strength prompted the organizers, Rockin’ On magazine, to call off the final day.
Kuwata’s appearance had been a big deal.

He is the leader of Southern Allstars, perhaps Japan’s biggest classic rock act, which usually hosts its own festival-like concert in the summertime.

Refunds will be available starting at the end of August.

In other Japanese festival news, The Libertines canceled their appearance at Summer Sonic, which takes place simultaneously in Tokyo and Osaka Aug. 20-21.

The organizer, Creativeman Productions, said it had been negotiating with “related organizations” for “several months,” but in the end they decided that it would be difficult to obtain visas for the band.

Instead, a live performance by the group “specially recorded for Japanese fans” will be broadcast.

Scalping Doesn’t Pay For Crime Syndicate

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported Aug. 12 that one of Tokyo’s oldest organized crime syndicates, the Anegasaki-kai, has decided to call it quits because its main source of income, ticket scalping, was no longer lucrative.

Headquartered in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, the organization on July 25 notified other so-called yakuza groups that it was dissolving its organization, according to Asahi’s sources within the police department.

Anegasaki-kai has been around since the 1910s, and though it has never been officially designated by the police as a “crime syndicate,” which would automatically make it the target of the country’s Anti-organized Crime Law, the police considered the group dangerous due to its occasional involvement in violent incidents.

However, like most yakuza organizations, the Anegasaki-kai’s membership in recent years has been shrinking because of greater police crackdowns and an aging membership.

But the final blow was the COVID pandemic, which greatly diminished its coffers since the Anegasaki-kai has the yakuza scalping monopoly in Tokyo.

During the pandemic, public events did not take place.

The group’s methodology was to hire parttimers to buy tickets in bulk for baseball games and concerts, and resell them outside the venues on the day the events take place at a markup.
The group also made money running stalls at summer festivals throughout the capital, but those were also canceled because of COVID.

Moreover, many sporting event and concert organizers are now selling tickets electronically, thus making it more difficult for the Anegasaki-kai to ply its trade, so to speak.

Apparently, the aging membership is not tech-savvy.


Another Plagiarism Scandal

The Korean music business has been hit with yet another plagiarism accusation.
On August 5, veteran K-pop group Girls’ Generation released a new album to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The title track was accompanied by a music video.

3 Asia PSY
SWAG STYLE: Korean superstar Psy performs during Seoul Festa 2022 “K-Pop Super Live” concert at Jamsil Sports Complex on Aug. 10, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea. His “Summer Swag” tour has been plagued with complaints about water waste and venue damage. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

However, about a week later, Japanese fans of the group, via social media, accused Girls’ Generation of using a logo for the video that was identical to one used for the 15th anniversary of the Tokyo DisneySea resort in Japan.

The director of the video, Shin Hee-won, immediately took to Instagram and apologized after admitting that he had, indeed, used the logo without sufficiently looking into its provenance.

According to NextShark, Shin said, “I am sorry for causing trouble for members of Girls’ Generation and [management company] SM Entertainment due to this controversy … After being commissioned for this music video, I was involved in not only the planning and directing process, but also selecting the props. I am ashamed and sorry that I borrowed a design without permission.”

The appropriated logo was used by Tokyo DisneySea when it celebrated its own 15th anniversary some years ago. So far, Oriental Land, which operates Tokyo DisneySea, has not commented on the controversy.

However, many people on social media said that it’s a headache SM Entertainment doesn’t need at the moment.

The company was recently found to have evaded taxes.

Psy’s Summer Drag

Korean rapper Psy’s “Summer Swag” tour of the peninsula continues to draw criticism as it pulls in thousands of paying fans. The tour has been blasted for wasting tons of water during a prolonged drought, promoting the spread of COVID and causing the death of a worker who fell while dismantling the stage.

The latest complaint is that preparation for a concert on Aug. 6 at Jinnam Sports Complex in Yeosu damaged the venue, making it difficult to revert back to its primary use for sporting events.

Local residents, who use the Complex, demanded the organizers of the concert return the grounds to its original state.

Fan site KpopStarz reports the venue’s staff said it would take 10 days to fix the problem, during which time the Complex cannot be used.

Local TV news reported that half the stadium’s 600 square meters of elastic flooring had been severely damaged.

The main culprit was a forklift that was used to transport stage equipment.