Japan: Yuha Uchida Dies, Antiscalping Ahead Of The Olympics

Pollstar – 5:00 AM, Thursday, 3/21/2019 By: Philip Brasor

‘Rock And Roll’: Yuha Uchida Dies
Veteran Japanese rock singer Yuya Uchida, 79, died of pneumonia in a Tokyo hospital March 17. Uchida is considered a key performer for popularizing rock ‘n’ roll in Japan in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Born in Hyogo Prefecture in Western Japan, he was a fan and imitator of Elvis Presley while in his teens. He got his start at the Nichigeki Western Carnival in the late ’50s. The Carnival was a pioneering rock music festival held at the famous Nichigeki Theater in the Ginza district of Tokyo. He eventually became a producer for the Carnival, which lasted until 1981. 
He is probably most famous for being one of the opening acts for the Beatles when they played at the Nippon Budokan Arena in 1966. For the rest of his life, Uchida was a kind of disciple of John Lennon, and always ended conversations with the English term, “rock ‘n’ roll.” 
Uchida was also an actor, and appeared in a number of English language films with Japanese themes, such as “Black Rain” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.” He was married to the award-winning actress Kirin Kiki since 1973, though the couple lived separately for more than 40 years. Kiki died last September of cancer. They are survived by a daughter. 
Uchida was considered an eccentric who was deeply interested in social issues and politics. He once ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Tokyo. He was also instrumental in raising money to help the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated Western Japan in 1995. On the other hand, he was arrested in 2011 for allegedly threatening a woman who tried to end her relationship with him but was never indicted. 

AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko
Tokyo Olympics TorchFormer judo Olympic medalist Tadahiro Nomura holds the Olympic torch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games during a press conference in Tokyo Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The Tokyo Olympics open on July 24, 2020.

Antiscalping Ahead Of The Olympics  According to the magazine Asahi Geino, Japan’s new anti-scalping law, enacted to discourage ticket gouging ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is already being enforced by the police even before it goes into full effect on June 14. The magazine interviewed anonymous “dafuya” (scalpers) as well as people in the ticketing industry and found that in the past year police have been cracking down on scalpers they tended to ignore in the past, especially those operating outside of sporting events. One scalper told the magazine that back in 2002 when Japan co-hosted the FIFA World Cup, he could sell scalped tickets with ease, but last summer many of his colleagues were arrested by undercover police.
A crime reporter told Asahi Geino, “There used to be growing complaints from the music industry, but since this spring when ticket sales to the Olympics begin, the issue has become more urgent. The International Olympic Committee strongly encouraged arrangements that discourage resale, and after a nonpartisan group of legislators was organized last June, they were able to ram through a new bill in just six months.”The new law provides for a sentence of at least one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to one million yen ($9,000). In the past, even when the police went to the trouble of arresting a scalper and the case went to trial, courts went light on miscreants. It wasn’t until maybe a fourth conviction that a scalper would do jail time.
Scalpers, many of whom work for organized crime groups, are already hurting because of the shift for resale tickets to the Internet, but authorities are also busy cracking down on ticket resale sites, which should have offered a windfall for traditional street scalpers. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Pollstar – By: Philip Brasor