Fans cheer at a baseball game. Photo: iStock/adamkaz

Sports fans and concertgoers poised to make noise as COVID crowd restrictions loosen


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2 ( +9 / -7 )


4 ( +10 / -6 )

Ah still masked

3 ( +11 / -8 )

"Some theatergoers want to wear masks, others don't. We have all kinds of patrons,"

So let those who want to wear them do so, and those that don't, don't have to. Simple enough solution.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

So nothing changes. The rules have practically always been on voluntary basis. In the end the collective pressure wins, masks will stay on in Japan for the next years… same as all politics in Japan, vague and indecisive.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Will people even remember how to make a noise?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Screaming through masks? You'd better glue them to your face otherwise everybody will be maskless at the end of the game. Oh, maybe that's a natural way of getting rid of masks.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Livehouse shows have been going on since at least last summer. Almost no one has a mask on during and definitely not by the end of the show and the fans are anything but quiet.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Will people even remember how to make a noise?

Probably. Last I heard you can't hear.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Like everything in life, there are risks. The "rules" are changing on May 8th, so take the risk you can accept. If you can't accept it, then stay home.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

With the government effectively abolishing event attendance restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus spread, sports fans and concertgoers may soon be screaming at the top of their lungs, provided they are masked,

There is no mask mandate !

Being asked to wear a mask and being told you have to wear a mask is two different things.

Come on sheeple wake up !

And since when does the government to anything effective apart from raising taxes ?

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

It’s February. A large percentage of the population will be wearing masks to protect against pollen for next 3 months.

I’ve had several foreigners walk across the street/u-turn to berate me (also a foreigner) for wearing a mask.

They all got the same short response.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Just like the rest of the world

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There isn't much atmosphere at sports games in Japan anyway.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )


Ever been to a Hanshin Tigers game?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There is no mask mandate !

There is no mask mandate when strolling around in public areas.

In private venues, the organizers/owners can dream up whatever rules they desire. You can choose not to enter the private venue though — because there’s certainly no entrance mandate!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Let the insanity roll on…

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This policy (or rather, guilt-reliant suggestion) has always been pretty laughable from its inception. They were never able to stop fans from cheering or making noise - even in 2020. I remember, because I went to several ballgames at Yokohama Stadium.

Regarding masks: they have never been necessary outside, and large open air arenas are no exception to this. Plus, these events usually make lots of money off of food and/or beverage sales anyway, thus facilitating the taking off of masks. So again, it's a policy of make-believe. I doubt many venues, indoors or outdoors, are going to enforce mask wearing from May onwards. I mean, how can you? You're going to hire even more security to do this on top of protecting the artists/athletes from crazy fans/preventing banned items from entering venues/enforcing other policies? Not rooted in reality. Only a stupid person would run a business this way, because it causes them to lose money.

Indoor onsens and saunas don't require masks. Even though peoples bodies get hot, causing them to sweat and pant. But oh - that is a staple of Japanese culture, so that would have never been regulated. To even suggest so would be akin to insulting the Emperor himself.

8 ( +9 / -1 )


Pretty much. They are just covering their asses.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As others have pointed out, once D-Day hits on May 8 and Covid gets officially downgraded to a cold, there is very little that anyone will be able to do to force a mask on you. Of course the fanatical obsessives will wear them forever but for the rest of us, it represents some kind of hope for normality.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ever been to a Hanshin Tigers game?


I have yes. It was ok, but nothing compared to an American sports game or the premier league.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Stephan….who is forcing a mask on you? There is no law requiring you to mask up in Japan….never has been. You have created a boogeyman here.

If someone wants to wear a mask due to Covid, hay fever, influenza, immunological issues, hiding a large zit on their face, etc., it is not a decision based on fanaticism. Freaking out on anyone choosing to wear a mask online on a daily basis is fanaticism.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@iraira - I agree with some of what you say. But you’re in denial yourself if you think the status quo represents any kind of normality. It obviously doesn’t bother you - fair enough - but for many of us it’s a point worth pushing.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Stephan. I don’t care if people wear their masks or not. That is for the individual to decide for themselves. Passing judgment on an entire group of people based on their decision on facial wear is the problem here. It’s not a swastica or a photo of GG Alin rubbing gross stuff all over his body while you are trying to enjoy a Mos Burger.

There is no reason your life can’t be “normal” if the person next to you is wearing a mask…..unless it is a Jason Voorhies mask, then exercise caution.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“Nobody can tell me what to do….but I’m fine with telling others that they shouldn’t wear a mask”

Free thinkers huh?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@iraira - The problem is that societal pressure has led to mass conformity to an absurd degree. There is no sensible middle ground where people unmask when there is little to no risk. And that’s not including the environmental issue, the psychological effect on children and vulnerable adults. The list goes on and on and on.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@iraira who is forcing a mask? Have you tried to go to the gym? They not allow people to train without mask, is it normal for you? Or kids in school and kindergarten have to wear it all the time.

7 ( +8 / -1 )


Mass conformity existed long before Covid came around. To an extent some level of conformity is essential for a stable society to exist, but that’s another topic entirely.

The kids will be fine. Gen X ride around in the flatbeds of pickup trucks, licked lead paint off of jungle gyms, and burned off massive amounts of leg skin on those shiny metal slides in the summertime and we turned out about as reasonable as all prior and subsequent generations.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Everyone being able to raise their voices and cheer is a good thing," Hanshin Tigers manager Akinobu Okada said.

I remember going to several games in 2020 at Koshien where they were letting in only 10,000 people with 3 seats open between each person. It was so quiet you could probably hear a pin drop. Then about the 4th inning, every game had a different drunk old man screaming at the pitcher and the ushers all running to shut the guy up. Those were the days lol

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@iraira - Yes, well being a fellow generation-Xer, you’ll appreciate that the rebellious, non-conformist streak that still exists in some of us is hard to shake off. With regard to masking and long term effects on physical and psychological harm, only time will prove who is right on this issue. As a gambling man I’d wager a few quid on myself!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Stephan....You may be right....almost everything is a "time will tell" scenario. I do think that one thing that can be done to help the kids out is to take away their smartphones for awhile, so they actually have to look at each other. If their hands are lonesome without the smartphone, give them a book to read.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@iraira - yep, that’s one thing we can agree on regarding your idea with smartphones. You can’t beat a good book to read for kids.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Meeting people who have had Covid several times now.

Their lives go on.

Fear is still palpable though

Still loving Japan where it’s possible to have an entire restaurant to dine without anyone else!

People have been brainwashed by the state

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My last Swallows game I didn’t wear a mask and cheered the whole time. No one cared or were at least too scared to say anything.

1 ( +4 / -3 )


There are literally staff who stand at the entrance to venues telling people to put on a mask. This of course goes against the guidance of the MHLW, which says no one shall be forced to wear a mask against their will. There's a lawyer suing a major hotel right now so we'll see what happens with that. Would be really convenient if venues no longer feel the need to violate human rights anymore just as the lawsuits start rolling in.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

still with the masks.....

some people may be anxious

only because the press and government here have been perpetrating the myth that we should still be anxious. Europe and the US has largely gotten on with life and their citizens can cheer and shout without a mask (or with if they so choose) and the sky hasn't fallen. As the world cup showed, many people cheered safely without masks and there was no publicised fear-mongering of a 2,532,345th wave....Japan just likes being anxious.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Meeting people who have had Covid several times now.

I have had it at least twice...the 2nd time, I didn't bother informing the state. It was very mild, similar to a regular cold, and I just enjoyed a free week off of work. If it wasn't covid times I would've just went to work anyway. I didn't need 1 week off to recuperate, but the ルール was enforced by work (secret thankyou :D )

Their lives go on.

Yup.....with the vaccines and high level of exposure, this is now just another cold virus that we'll get.

Fear is still palpable though

With them continuing to report prefecture numbers, it keeps the hypochondriacs in a constant state of fear. Japan loves a bit of hypochondria.

Still loving Japan where it’s possible to have an entire restaurant to dine without anyone else!

Not round my way. Restaurants have been back to their pre-pandemic state for months.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

8 May is Demasking and Unshielding Day. Hope my gym RSC will clean out the plastic curtains and let us go back to normal. Really will enjoy seeing the faces of everyone, including all the new staff, none of whom I have ever seen in full face. Counting down the (90) days!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I be yelling out my sledging at my next game. I sent out a great sledge to a Seattle Mariner batter during the season opener at Tokyo Dome against the Oaklands Athletics 03/2019. After this batter was stuck out after 3 pitch, I yell out, What a your hurry ? is your Cafe Latte getting cold and this Seattle support with rainbow spiked mohawk behind me choke on his beer spraying beer. all over the crowd in front of him. They weren't happy with him. Another batter, after hit all his fouls then hit a ground ball to 1st so I tag him with "well that strike got caught up in your skirt big fella. Just love going to the ball game.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Baseball fans should be masked.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Will people even remember how to make a noise?

Wallace, I don't know where you're based, but I can assure you that there has never been any risk of Osakans forgetting their favourite pastime ... even during the pandemic.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes Lord Dartmouth: Yes totally correct and Okine to all the Osakans and Tigers fan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

John-San, perhaps I'm jaded, having lived here for so long, but the racket everywhere in town gets me down. Even in the lifts, people bellow at each other.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So.. errrmmm... all those past COVID restrictions... weren't actually necessary ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So.. errrmmm... all those past COVID restrictions... weren't actually necessary ?

Huh? Are you under some weird delusion that there have been no medical advances in treating covid in the past three years?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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