2024 Women Of Live International: Kaori Hayashi

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When her father, Hiromichi “Massy” Hayashi, died in 2021, Kaori Hayashi stepped in as CEO of Hayashi International Promotions, better known as H.I.P., one of Japan’s oldest and biggest concert organizers. She was prepared. A graduate of the University of London and former employee of the William Morris Agency in the U.S., Kaori means to build on her father’s legacy.

“As the daughter of one of the founders of the live music industry in Japan, I was heavily influenced by my father,” says Hayashi. “He allowed me to participate in the business at an early age and appointed me to run H.I.P., where he taught me the importance of being firm in negotiations and to follow my instincts.”

Those instincts have served her well, as proven by the enormous success in January of the record-breaking run of seven sold-out concerts by Bruno Mars at Tokyo Dome. “It’s a 45,000 capacity venue,” she says. “The box office receipts were the highest of any international artist in Japan’s history. When I confirmed the shows everyone told me I was mad, including my staff.”

Hayashi knows how the market works and what people want. “Everyone is looking for real experiences and community in their lives,” she says. “There’s nothing better than live music for that.”

She also understands her unique position in the business and is dedicated to making it not unique. “It’s still uncommon in Japan to find women in senior positions in the live music industry,” she says. “Things are improving, but slowly. In the U.S. it’s far more common. I want to see the next generation of Japanese women embrace the live music industry as a career path, so I’ve made an effort to hire and mentor female staff.”

Though H.I.P. has brought some of the top international artists and shows to Japan, from Knotfest and Ozzfest to Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey — they’re presenting Red Hot Chili Peppers this summer, as well— she points out, “My company also promotes Japanese artists with more than 1,000 shows a year. Given that the domestic repertoire is 90 percent of the market, I am focused on increasing this important part of our business.”