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Taylor Swift kicks off Asia leg of Eras Tour as spending on Japan shows expected to hit US$230 million


Taylor Swift resumes her Eras Tour in Tokyo this week, with spending on tickets, merchandise, food, hotels and other related activities on track to total an estimated ¥34 billion (US$230 million).

That number, calculated by Mitsumasa Etoh, a lecturer at Tokyo City University, is roughly the same amount that Swifties generated in Denver in July.

Swift, who won the Grammy Award for album of the year on Sunday, has grabbed headlines throughout the US leg of her tour, from setting off seismic sensors in Seattle to becoming a billionaire.

While the first leg of the tour sparked wild fanfare, she is likely to receive a more muted reception in Japan. That is because the country has a mature ¥300 billion music industry where popular domestic artists such as Yoasobi and Radwimps make up 90 per cent of CDs, DVDs and other physical media.

These days, fans in the country tend to focus on hit songs, rather than foreign artists themselves, according to Ryo Hirose, a researcher at NLI Research Institute.

“Japanese people listen to a limited number of mega hit tunes in English,” Hirose said.

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The Asia leg of Taylor’s tour kicks off on Wednesday with the first of four planned shows, although it’s the last, on Saturday, that is causing the biggest stir. She is widely expected to fly to Las Vegas after that concert to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, play in the Super Bowl.

After a flurry of online speculation about if she’d be able make the long trip in time, the Japanese embassy in Washington stepped in to assure fans that, thanks to the 17-hour time difference, it would be possible.

Tokyo remains an attractive tour stop for many popular Western artists, welcoming Coldplay, Billy Joel, John Mayer, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran in recent months. It’s also a relatively affordable gig for fans, thanks to Japan’s restrictions on resale prices. A standard ticket for the Eras concert costs ¥22,800, the same price for a seat to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers play in May.

A truck, advertising the Japan tour of Taylor Swift, drives through Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo on February 6. Photo: AFP

Swift’s economic effect in Japan is considerably bigger than other visiting artists and most Japanese acts, according to Etoh. “To have such an impact over four days and to attract such a large number of people to Tokyo is an impressive feat,” he said.

For that, Swift can thank superfans like Sae Aida, 28, who bought VIP tickets for all four concert days, spent more than ¥200,000 on merchandise and bought a new iPhone and camera to record the occasion.

“We’re desperate to see her in person,” Aida said.



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