entertainment

Why do most concerts held in Japan prohibit taking pictures?

44 Comments
By KK Miller, RocketNews24

For anyone who enjoys live music, part of the fun is taking photos of the band or recording video to relive the experience at home or show off on Facebook. It’s a tradition that strengthens the connection between bands and their fans long after a concert is over. Especially in this digital age, many bands depend on the power of social media to connect with new audiences they could never reach before.

If you’ve ever attended a concert in Japan, you know this is not the case. You will almost always see “No photos” and “No video” signs posted all over concert venues. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching a foreign artist or a local one, you are not allowed to take pictures, and a host of security personal will remind you of the fact.

Paul McCartney; One Direction; Taylor Swift; these are only some of the artists who have played or are scheduled to play big shows in Japan in 2015. The Asian market is huge, and the top musicians aren’t skipping out on Japan when they go on tour. Diehard Japanese fans have noticed that footage and photos of concerts held outside of Japan are constantly being uploaded on Facebook and Twitter, even though fans in the Land of the Rising Sun have to settle for expensive DVDs to relive their concert experience at home.

Oddly, copyright infringement isn’t always the culprit here. If the video and audio recordings are only being reproduced for personal use, then the recording isn’t breaking any laws. The concerns generally lie elsewhere. In order to avoid chaos at a concert site, sponsors and venue executives can establish specific regulations.

Even without using big, professional photographic equipment, fans holding handheld cameras or phones above their heads will block the field of vision of concert goers behind them. Plus, if there is a rush of people wanting to take pictures of the musicians, it can get very dangerous. For the concert sponsors and organizers, there is a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the fans.

But with more and more foreign artists playing shows in Japan, organizers are starting to take notice of what the fans want. There is a slow but steady movement of Japanese artists who are experimenting with allowing pictures and video to be taken at their concerts.

Japanese rock band Sekai no Owari is nonchalantly leading this charge as they allow their fans to take photos and recordings of their concerts. When asked online, “Why is it OK to take pictures at Sekai no Owari concerts?” keyboardist Saori Fujisaki responded on Twitter. “Because there isn’t really a reason why it’s prohibited.”

It seems to be just a politeness factor in Japan, but with the growing number of smartphones and the advent of social media, this system might certainly change. In the future, you might be able to record a concert in Japan for your own viewing at a later date, and you can thank the music group with the clown in it. Be sure to remember to remember that.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Hello Kitty isn’t a cat!? We called Sanrio to find out -- This new convenience store isn’t so convenient for the blind -- This otter isn’t dead (we promise!)

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44 Comments
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I can't think of anything more annoying than going to a concert and having everyone in front of me holding their phones or iPads up in the air.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Many people seem incapable of turning the flash off.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

"It's a tradition"

I guess I'm getting old.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I'm not against snapping a few action shots of your favorite band-- I've done it myself and posted them to the Internet-- but you really should spend most of your time at the concert in the moment and enjoying the concert itself, not recording it to watch later. It's an event that's happening right there in front of you, never to be recreated in its fullness no matter the medium used. Don't miss it. And I'm guessing a lot of band members find flashes going off nonstop a bit annoying-- plus there's always the bootleggers and fast buck artists who want to make some money off the show. I'd prefer the bulk of whatever money there is to be made of an artist's work going to the artist.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Oh it is about high profile bands, never had that problem at smaller venues and live houses

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So they can sell more DVDs? C'mon, this is Japan... Seriously though, there's nothing worse than some loser in front of you trying to record each & every song on their phone! Drives me nuts.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Every concert I have been to here prohibit videos yet didn't enforce it like underage drinking and smoking in this country.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I remember going to my first big concert as a young teenager, taking a roll of photos from my seat. The next week I had 24 awesome photos of the back of the glowing head of the person in the seat in front of me.

LOL

Technology has advanced and our lifestyles have changed a lot...

But please leave concert photography to the professionals.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Flash ... flash .. flash .. singer gets stunned .. falls off of stage like Madonna. All lives shows I have seen in Vegas allow no photography.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's about protecting intellectual property rights, and an image of a performer in the midst of performing constitutes just such a property.

Japan has some of the most comprehensive (and draconian, IMHO) laws regarding copyrights among G7 nations, and images of performers, especially high quality ones, are a potential revenue source. In the eyes of Japan's copyright laws, no one should be making money off the performer in any capacity other than the person or company that holds the rights to that performer and his/her/their work. iPhone images and cellphone snatshots aren't really the issue. It's the professional shots done with high-end cameras that they're seekng to regulate. In a sea of, say, 10,000 fans with cameras held high to snap a quick shot or take video, it's almost impossible to separate the people with good equipment from the fans looking to preserve a memory. So, "scorched earth" becomes the policy.

These laws are partly to thank for the relative absence of pirated Japanese materials online (at least within Japan's Internet sphere). It's also why it's almost impossible to find Japanese song lyrics that can be cut & pasted fdirectly from webpages. Which is silly, since the lyrics themselves are posted widely and can easily be transcribed.

In any case, Japan is very rigorous in protecting intellectual property rights, and preventing people from taking photos at concerts is but one facet of that.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Flash ... flash .. flash .. singer gets stunned .. falls off of stage like Madonna.

On a large stage, flooded with spotlights and special effects lights, the flash from somebody way off in the audience (even in the front row) is insignificant - about as distracting as lights blinking on a Christmas tree in Times Square. Madonna fell because her cape snagged.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

My friend went to Motley Crew (rock band) concert in Tokyo last month, and as it is said in this article, there were no photos/videos signs everywhere. But one of the band members told the audience to just ignore that and he allowed everyone to take photos/videos. So the audience did, and the security guys could not do anything about it. My friend said that was the most exciting part of the concert. I usually don't take any photos/videos anywhere in order to fully enjoy the atmosphere at that moment. But for some people, taking photos/videos is a big part of the fun event, so I guess they can allow the audience to do so.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No pictures or videos allowed in a concert, maybe I could understand... It's also business for some talents. Like my friend went to Shokotan's concert and if you wanted to take a picture with her you would have to buy five of her CD's of the same album (way to rip your fans). What i could never understand is why supermarkets, malls and stores in general don't allow people taking pictures even of themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Vision is central. Japan is one of the few countries where one owns ones image to the extent that taking pictures of other people without their consent in public places is against the law (unless for a registered media corporation). Things are what they look like, there is little sense of their being interior qualities that define authenticity. So for example, Ise Shrine can be built new every 25 years but still felt to be Ise Shrine, copies of foreign towns are felt to be authentic if they look the same as that which they are copying. Japanese Gods are happy with mirrors, and sculptures or pictures of horses (ema) since to be is to be seen. All this is because the Other of the Japanese psyche is not something that listens but something that looks -- a mirror -- so the 'center of gravity of the Japanese self', is not their self-narrative (which gets in the way) but their face or mask (see Watsuji Tetsuro Mask and Persona). http://asian.fiu.edu/projects-and-grants/japan-studies-review/journal-archive/2011.pdf So if one were able to take photos at concerts one would be stealing the essence of the experience:-)

The one Japanese band which is allowing photography to be allowed at its concerts, The End of the World / Sekai no Owari's leader, who was previously put in a closed psychiatric hospital are a brief attempt to study in the USA, seems wise to the nature of Japanese "apparitional life" (Maboroshi no inochi), their first single, with English captions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H51Xj5aEgkA

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There is nothing more annoying than paying big money for tickets and having the rude robot staff of UDO staring at you the whole concert making sure you don't take a silly photo. It is ridiculous.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What i could never understand is why supermarkets, malls and stores in general don't allow people taking pictures even of themselves.

Simply put, industrial espionage. I know, using the word "espionage" sounds very nefarious and dramatic, but it's entirely applicable. Stores banning photography do so for a number of reasons, including but not limited to protecting knowledge of their inventory, how they price that inventory, and probably most importantly how they market their products. Marketing is a huge business and companies spend a small fortune on hiring marketing firms to come up with the best way to optimize sales for a given product, be it the latest iPhone model or cantaloupes from South Carolina. Yes, cantaloupes. Cantaloupes are a US$161.7 million export industry for the US market alone, and imports resulted in over US$374 million in generated revenue.

What can be gleaned from a photograph of a cantaloupe stand in a supermarket? Several things. Is it priced lower or higher than the competition? Is the way the cantaloupe is displayed more visually appealing than, say, how it's displayed at a supermarket down the street? What kind of equipment/materials/ad copy are being used to optimize sale of that fruit?

Walking into a competitor's store and taking a photo of their merchandise display can save a company significant amounts of money in terms of merchandising research by allowing them to either mimic already proven successful sales strategies, or reject unsuccessful or unattractive methods and redirect their merchandising budget to better uses.

So, why stop people from taking photos of, say, themselves in a supermarket? Well, how does the store manager know that you aren't simply pretending to take a photo of yourself, while in fact you are strategically arranging your shot to include a clear view of the cantaloupe stand behind you? The answer is, he or she doesn't. Hence, the "scorched earth" approach. It would be impractical to say the least to require sales staff to stop every customer with a camera to ask if their snapshots are for business or pleasure.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, though speaking from experience, if you are discrete enough you can get quite a few pictures in a store before somebody tells you to stop.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I was at the Motley Crue concert and everyone was delighted when they were told they could take pix or vids. Tommy Lee's upside-down drum solo hanging from the roof of Saitama Super Arena really had to be seen to believed so I was quite grateful myself to take a minute or so vid of that. I put my iPhone away after that to enjoy the spectacle but thousands continued to vid the whole performance so the lights of all those phones were a tad distracting and became a spectacle in themselves somewhat detracting from the drum solo acrobatics and creating a kind of circus-like atmosphere. In sum, I wouldn't want every concert to be like that but since the Crue was putting on a sayonara concert, I'd say it was ok this time anyway.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

most of these are decisions of the promoters and not really by the artists for simply just being greedy bastards. What is wrong with just taking memories with you and the band that you admire? Promoters are paranoid that people who take videos will sell it later on line... REALLY?? videos taken from Iphones/smartphones make them paranoid? who will buy poor quality videos and audios? wether those videos are sold on line or not, tickets were already sold from that gig anyway so what's the worry?

Because promoters want you to Buy DVDs to relive the concert at home!... so re-living the experience will cost me 4,000 yen more!? Bastards!

let's face it! i dont need to relive the concert at home I want to BRAG To my friends that I was front row watching Incubus! FooFighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you go to Sanrio Puroland, you can find a lot of tourists in the first row of the theaters video-taking the Hello Kitty live shows from the beginning to the very end using tripod, for Sanrio permits video-taking. Judging from the language the tourists speak, they are most likely from a foreign country in East Asia. I guess they will reproduce the videos and sell them back home. Their video monitors are rather annoying to the viewers in the back rows.

I think the concert organizers are worried about the complaints from the audience that prolonged use of cameras by some is destroying the atmosphere of the concert. Once the concert starts, officials cannot go to the seats of the video taking fans to dissuade the prolonged use of cameras, for such dissuasion itself would be disturbance. So, I think, they just prohibit the use of cameras all together.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually banning photography and both audio and video recording was the norm until the last few years (decade) when camera phones became commonplace. I generally don't go to concerts, but can't remember that ever having been something you do.

Also I can hardly think of anything more annoying than people holding up their phones, Japanese fans seem content to buy overpriced DVDs with anime shows on though, so I'm sure the concert recordings pose no issue to them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

... because they want to sell you the photos / DVD later

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can hardly think of anything more annoying than people holding up their phones

Really? Talking too loudly, pushing, kicking the back of seats/feet, screaming right next your ear, giving a buddy/girlfriend/child a premium view perched on shoulders, getting stoned/drunk to the point of disruptiveness . . . ? Where shall I stop?

You aren't giving your imagination enough of a workout if you think taking photos is the most annoying thing people can do at a music concert. :)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Realistically, concert goers want to see and hear the experience again and again. Why not simply include the entire event recorded professionally as part of the ticket package? That way, no real reason to hold up the phone just to capture that memorable moment you'll never see again otherwise.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In the eyes of Japan's copyright laws, no one should be making money off the performer in any capacity other than the person or company that holds the rights to that performer and his/her/their work.

An eminently reasonable position. I wouldn't want someone else making money off my likeness either, not without my consent.

When I used to go to a lot of shows overseas, photography and recording were banned as well. They don't call them "bootleg recordings" for nothing.

And really, if you're going to a show, enjoy the show. Don't spend the whole time taking photos and bothering others.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When I saw Daft Punk in Osaka in 2007 I filmed almost the entire concert on my camera. I was courteous in that I switched off the camera screen while recording. When I got home to look at the video I wondered what the heck I did that for. The sound was bad and I had no proper memories of the actual concert happening live because I was busy framing the shot.

I saw them again in Tokyo that weekend and this time I kept the camera at home. It made me realise that the memory you want to play back is what your eyes recorded, not your camera/phone screen.

Besides, there's always - ALWAYS - someone with a better camera than me and I prefer to look at their photos/videos :)

When Utada came to London there was a very strict no-recording policy. My friend took a photo(just at the start when a DJ was playing, Utada wasn't even on-stage yet) and within a minute a security guard was on us. I told my friend to put the damn camera away!

I never record concerts, now. Nor take pictures. If it's classical or something I may record the sound to listen to later. It's much more fun being caught up in the now than planning the memory for later.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

An eminently reasonable position. I wouldn't want someone else making money off my likeness either, not without my consent. When I used to go to a lot of shows overseas, photography and recording were banned as well. They don't call them "bootleg recordings" for nothing. And really, if you're going to a show, enjoy the show. Don't spend the whole time taking photos and bothering others.

Taking pictures doesnt always mean making money (especially pictures taken from Iphone), fans just want some memorabilia and why would artists and promoters not allow that!? who says people are taking pictures the whole time?.... Really!? Taking photos bother you in a concert? I got kicked , pushed , slapped, elbowed , boot landed on my head, etc. at a concert, never got distracted even the people around me...instead of paying attention to someone who takes a snapshot using their mobile phones, why dont you just look at the stage, dance, sing and have fun? because even without a mobile phone, people will jump , dance, and raise their hands...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's not just Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was a time when the bootlegging of live concerts was a concern. However, this is no reason to prevent the odd live picture or clip. Why people want to do it is beyond me - the quality is always so poor.

That being said, Japan has a funny relationship with copyright and intellectual property. Japanese radio stations are about the only ones in the world not to have live streaming buttons. Want to listen to Tokyo FM but are stranded in Akita? Tough. There are apps, but these do not work abroad (no doubt the rest of the world is wailing about not being able to listen to Japanese radio!).

There is alos the difficulty of buying Japanese stuff from Amazon - if you do not have a credit card and delivery address in Japan, it is very difficult to access goods. Same goes with Kindle books if you are not in Japqan. Never understood why, but I am sure that this is something imposed on Amazon Japan, because it does not seem to affect other Amazon countries. Can anyone enlighten me?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

hatsoff: "I can't think of anything more annoying than going to a concert and having everyone in front of me holding their phones or iPads up in the air."

I can -- people spinning towels in the air that hit you in the face, or at the very least send lint flying at however many metric tons per second. I made the mistake of trying to eat something from one of the stalls once at an all day concert just as a popular band came on stage and the only thing worse than my ears coming close to bleeding from the screams was the fact that my food looked like someone dropped a fur coat on it. There NOTHING different about people holding, twirling towels, or holding up uchiwa or what have you than there is a phone if it's about obstructing the view of others. Hell, if this were really the reason why not make height requirements with regards to seating? The only way cameras are an issue is if the people are pushing each other for a good position to take a photo from, but any concert that is standing and people are pushing for a better camera shot they would be pushing to get closer to the stage and the artists and sticking their hands up and out regardless.

In any case, it's not about blocking others. It's clearly about better sales of goods. If you can't take a photo of the band at hte concert you're far more likely to buy the exact photo you could have taken at an exorbitant cost. And also, I don't think Japan is the only place that does this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the midst of trying to capture the moment, just don't forget not to miss yourself in the moment. Have fun.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who cares about taking photos. Some fans want to stir up a mosh pit (if you ever dare to see live Thrash Metal) but that is strictly prohibited here. No fun.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Some fans want to stir up a mosh pit (if you ever dare to see live Thrash Metal) but that is strictly prohibited here. No fun.

There are always mosh pits at the heavy metal concerts here. Well, maybe not in tiny venues, but anything at Makuhari Messe or other similar sized venues have mosh pits.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Really? Wow. Ive been to a couple (not recently) & there were no mosh pits. But I prefer to just catch those shows when Im bck home stateside. . . . Tickets for most concerts here in japan (ft. major us bands) are way toooo ¥¥Xpensive compared to home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

because even without a mobile phone, people will jump , dance, and raise their hands...

Yeah, clearly you haven't been in a Concert in Japan. I have been in Lives in Chile and in Japan, In Chile, people are passionate and will jump, scream, throw things to the artist and have fun, you can get kicked, deaf or have sore throat for all that screaming. There is a DVD of the VAMPS concert in Chile (i went to that Live) and it was not allowed to take pictures or video but it was a relief, because the cameras are really annoying and if you are the one recording you'll miss the experience. I also went to a U2 Live and depeche mode concerts, and since i'm small of stature I couldn't enjoy fully the depeche mode concert because all that cameras held high.

But my experience in the Japan 20th L'anniversary Concert by L'Arc~en~Ciel was completely different, people screamed, yes, but they didn't jump, nor they climbed their seats (yes, they respect your seat place), and very few will sing along that concert I guiltily took a couple of snapshots with my iPhone at the beginning, when the band members were entering the stage, but it was all just to brag to my friends that I was really there.

It is good to have ban the cameras, even though I would like to take some pictures or a couple of seconds on video I rather not have that than miss the experience with the artist, In Chile, I also went to an Erasure concert and I recorded a lot of songs with my camera, and I regret that, because it was poor quality and I missed most trying to get the shots on the frame. it is extreme to ban it altogether, but I think it's for the best.

In the US, I went to a Broadway play and it was also not allowed to take pictures, so I was able to take a couple of pictures with my iPhone before the performance and then I switched off, never regret it that it was so nice not to hear the flashes or someone's camera in front of me...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Because if they took photos of the kind of concerts that go on in Japan, they would all be guilty of creating level 5 COPINE images.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ LFRAgain Thanks for all that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know that concerts in Japan have a totally different set of rules than other countries.

And if you have ever stood at a concert and not been able to see the band/singer due to the fact that the entire row in front of you has a 12 foot banner, or1 person has a 2 foot sign, you're probably at a western concert, never a Asian one. Japan has a rule that the paper fans the fans make/buy cannot be held above chest level. At the last 3 concerts I've gone too I have had to say something to ushers about the damn signs and banners. It's highly annoying and will get you spit on or yelled at if you ask them to take it down.

And people scream constantly at western venues. They scream when the artist is singing, or talking so you can never hear what's going on. One reason I like professionally released cd's of concerts, you can actually HEAR the damn thing.

Plus I've heard more than one famous singer say that they loved playing venues in Japan because it's one of the few places in the world that while you are singing or talking the fans are quiet and listening. It makes the artist feel llke they really care about the music.

I have many concerts by an Asian band that I love Arashi and I enjoy them very much.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really!? Taking photos bother you in a concert?

People blocking my view with their raised cameras or phones bothers me (and many others), yes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pandabelle: "Really!? Taking photos bother you in a concert?

People blocking my view with their raised cameras or phones bothers me (and many others), yes."

How is it different from them blocking you with anything else? Like raised hands or towels?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Enjoy the moment first before capturing photos of the moment and upload it in social media. Naff said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How is it different from them blocking you with anything else? Like raised hands or towels?

...Did I say towels didn't bother me? I seem to miss the part where I said that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because most Japanese acts onto worth taking pictures or videos of?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know why I couldn't take pictures in a public space.. If the concert was in close / privat, I could understand

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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