Asia News: NHK Gets ‘Tiny Desk’; Tokyo Phil Tours Korea; Thai Tomorrowland Extended; Mayday May Play China

Mayday Concert
LIVE OR MEMOREX?: Singer Ashin aka Chen Hsin-hung of rock band Mayday performs on the stage at the Birds’ Nest stadium in Beijing, China, on May 27, 2023. The band is apparently poised to return for a 2024 Beijing residency, despite being accused by authorities of illegally lip-syncing at a Shanghai concert last year. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)


NPR Brings Its ‘Tiny Desk’ To NHK

National Public Radio has announced it is partnering with Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, to present a localized version of its popular music show “Tiny Desk Concerts” on NHK-affiliated stations in Japan. It will be NPR’s second licensing deal for the series outside of the U.S.

Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, and NPR has worked with NHK to develop the live, intimate concert series specially for Japanese audiences. At the moment, there is a growing interest worldwide in Japanese pop music, and “Tiny Desk Concerts Japan” will be aired on NHK’s worldwide network of outlets. The inaugural episode, which is being aired on March 29, features Fujii Kaze, who is well-known in both Asia and North America.

The first international licensing deal for the NPR series was launched last August in South Korea.


Tokyo Philharmonic In Rare Tour

The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra will make its first concert tour of South Korea in 19 years in early May, led by the world’s most celebrated Korean conductor, Chung Myung-whun.

Chung has been conducting the TPO on a regular basis since 2000 and was appointed its honorary music director in 2016, the first foreign national to hold the position, according to the Korea Herald. The tour will stop in Seoul, Iksan and Goyang.


Ten Years For Tomorrowland

Thailand will host Belgium’s premier EDM festival, Tomorrowland, starting in 2026 for a possible 10-year run, according to multiple media reports.

The announcement was made by a government spokesperson as part of the country’s new policy of promoting creative industries as an economic driver, as well as boosting Thailand as a global festival hub for the sake of inbound tourism.

This summer, Thailand will host an edition of Japan’s famed Summer Sonic music festival, the second time it’s taken place outside of Japan.


Mayday May Play

Taiwan rock band Mayday is rumored to return to Beijing for 10 consecutive days of concerts at the National Stadium starting May 18, according to TVBS News. If true, it will be the band’s eighth series of concerts at the venue.

Mayday’s label, however, has not confirmed the rumor and instead has “advised fans to rely on their official announcements for accurate information.”

Last year, Mayday was accused by various internet commenters in China of lip-syncing during concerts they played in Shanghai. Lip-syncing at public performances is illegal in China, punishable by hefty fines. No charges were ever leveled against Mayday.