According to my sources, The Beatles landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at 3:40 AM today, having traveled many miles and even skirted the North Pole in their journey around the globe. Says George:

When we came off the plane, we were put in little 1940s-type cars along with policeman dressed in metal helmets, like Second World War American soldiers’ helmets. We were driven in convoy into town and taken to the Tokyo Hilton where we were put in our upstairs suite — and that was it. We were only allowed out of the room when it was time for the concert.

The concert in question was their first of five at the Nippon Budokan Hall, which had previously only been used for traditional Japanese events like sumo wrestling. The choice to have The Beatles play there had been more than a little controversial in Japan. According to The Beatles Bible:

The Nippon Budokan was considered a national shrine to Japan’s war dead, and many saw it as sacrilegious that a rock ‘n’ roll group were allowed to perform there. Death threats were reported, and 30,000 uniformed police officers lined the route from the airport and hotel to the venue. In later years it became one of Japan’s main music venues.

It also became a favored location for people like Bob Dylan and Cheap Trick to record their live albums, perhaps because Japanese audiences were relatively decorous and would not drown out the music with their voices — though they certainly screamed their heads off for the Fab Four, looking resplendent in black suits and red shirts:

Though to be fair, the Japanese also sometimes shut up and let the boys play. They did the same 11-song set they’d done in Germany, and you can hear it pretty well in this footage recorded for Japanese TV. The stage set is nice too. Out of frame are legions of Japanese police ready to pounce on anyone who looked like a threat, but no real incidents appear to have kicked off. That would come later in the Philippines — but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

0 0 votes
Article Rating