Asia News: Concert During Japan Typhoon Causes Furor; IU Emerges As K-Pop Star; COVID Lockdowns Hurt Hong Kong

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South Korean singer IU performs on the stage in concert on November 30, 2019 in New Taipei City, Taiwan of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)


Eikichi Yazawa Concert Goes On Despite Typhoon

Veteran Japanese rocker Eikichi Yazawa received widespread criticism in the Japanese press after he decided to go ahead with his concert at the PayPay Dome in the south Japan city of Fukuoka on Sept. 18 even though one of the strongest typhoons ever was about to hit the area.

Normally, when a major storm affects an area of Japan, concerts and other large events are canceled, even if they will take place indoors, because local authorities shut down public transportation services.

Prior to the concert’s start at 5 p.m., Yazawa posted a message on his website announcing that the concert would proceed as planned. “Fukuoka Dome has a roof and is a sturdy venue,” he said, adding that he had received a great deal of email from fans begging him not to cancel or postpone the show. “I leave it up to you to make your own decision,” he added.

As predicted, city officials shut down all public transportation at 7 p.m. The concert ended at around 8 p.m., and many fans found themselves stranded in the city with no way to get home if they didn’t live nearby.

Several media reported that some fans sought shelter at special evacuation centers for residents of low-lying areas, who resented the fact that people from outside the district were taking up room in the shelters. In addition, it appears a good number of fans had flown into Fukuoka for the concert and, due to the storm, outbound flights would likely be canceled or delayed for up to two days.


IU Emerges As K-pop Star

K-pop singer IU has emerged as one of the most important pop artists in the country after selling out two concerts at the Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul on September 17-18.

Though the sports stadium, the largest venue in the country used for concerts, has hosted the biggest K-pop stars of all time, IU is the first solo female artist to not only perform there, but to sell it out two nights in a row. Moreover, the tickets were gone less than an hour after they went on sale, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

Though the stadium can hold 100,000 spectators, including those in standing areas, the promoters limited tickets to 44,000 per concert for safety reasons. In total, the concerts brought in the equivalent of more than $5.7 million.

IU debuted in 2008 at the age of 15 and has risen gradually to the top of her craft ever since. She has also seen great success as an actress, having recently appeared in the joint Korea-Japan production of the Cannes winner “Broker.”


Prague Philharmonia To Perform Despite Angering China

The Prague Philharmonia has scheduled four concerts in Taiwan for early October. In 2019, the ensemble was set to perform on the Chinese mainland but the performances were canceled by the Chinese government when the mayor of Prague made “pro-Taiwan” comments in public, according to the Taiwan News.

China considers Taiwan an integral part of China and insists that other countries not speak of it as an independent state.

The Philharmonia will perform at the National Concert Hall on Oct. 8, the National Taichung Theater on Oct. 9, Pingtung Performing Arts Center on Oct. 10 and the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts on Oct. 11.


COVID Restrictions Hurt Hong Kong
Despite the fact that tens of thousands of new cases of COVID are detected every day, most countries in the world have gotten back to business as usual, including the return turn to normal for concerts and other live events.
China’s COVID policy continues to ban music events in clubs and restaurants. The policy has particularly been hard on Hong Kong, which once had a thriving live club music scene.
The social distancing edict prohibits “live performance and dancing” in catering businesses, pubs and clubs. The ban has continually been extended since the start of the pandemic.
Though some venues have managed to stay afloat by offering attractions other than live music, many have gone out of business which means when the ban is finally lifted, there will be fewer places for local musicians to play.