Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Beatles Arrive in Japan (1966)

Location: Haneda Airport + Hilton Hotel, Tokyo.
Date: June 30, 1966

The Beatles arrived at Haneda airport, Tokyo at 3:40 a.m. They stayed at the Tokyo Hilton where they had their own floor, occupying the Presidential Suite. Hotel security was the tightest that the Beatles had yet endured, preventing them from making unplanned sightseeing trips around the Tokyo streets.

There was considerable right-wing opposition - including death threats - to the Beatles playing at Nippon Budokan Hall (Martial Arts Hall), because the building was regarded as a national shrine to Japan's war dead, and it was therefore seen as sacrilegious for a rock 'n' roll group to play there. Because of these threats, the Japanese lined the route from the airport and the perimeter of the hotel with 30,000 uniformed men. It went on to become one of the main rock venues in Tokyo. Some of the staged protests can be seen in the video below:

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