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Aside from the time The Beatles spent at Nippon Budokan Hall, where they played two more shows today, they were under virtual house arrest during their time in Tokyo. The Japanese authorities, ostensibly worried about their safety, did not want them running around loose. So they had to find ways to occupy themselves in their hotel.

One way they did so was by inviting merchants to their suite. Said George:

To get our own back on the people who weren’t letting us out, we used to get them to bring tradesmen up to our suite. They would bring big boxes and trunks full of golden kimonos, jade, incense-holders and little carved objects, which we would buy: ‘We’ll show them!’ We wanted to go shopping.

Another was by working on a painting, with each Beatle taking a corner of the canvas. The result looked like this:

images-of-a-woman_1966_japan_01-580x392

Ringo’s is the best, for my money. John’s is second. George’s is just a mess.

One wonders, did The Beatles or one of their handlers perchance smuggle some acid into Japan? This is pure speculation, but there is a certain lysergic quality to the artwork.

The title they eventually gave this opus was “Images of a Woman,” which is interesting given that a) it was created in Japan and b) a Japanese woman would end up playing a key role in Beatles history. At this point in time John Lennon’s first meeting with Yoko Ono is still several months away; but she’s out there, waiting. Cue the dramatic theme music.

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