The Beatles live: Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo

The Beatles performed two shows at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan on this day.

The shows were each seen by 10,000 fans. As with the previous day’s concert, the first performance from this day was filmed by Nippon Television. Footage from both was broadcast in the programme The Beatles Recital, From Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, on NTV Channel 4 on this evening from 9pm.

The audience was very subdued. If you look at the footage from the shows you’ll see a cop on every row. They’d all get excited in their seats as we were playing, but they couldn’t express it.

In the footage, The Beatles’ 1 July performance can be determined by their light grey suits with orange pinstripes. For the previous day’s filmed concert they wore bottle green ones.

Peeping from behind the stage to watch the place fill up, we saw police walk in from either side and fill the whole of the front row, upstairs and downstairs. After them, the crowd was allowed to come in. They were very well behaved compared to what we’d seen of Western crowds, but they seemed to enjoy it.

There was a funny local group on stage before us. This was in the days when the Japanese didn’t really know how to do rock’n’roll, although they’ve now got the hang of it pretty well. They sang a song that went, ‘Hello Beatles! Welcome Beatles!’ – something pretty naff in rock’n’roll terms, but it was very nice of them to do it. Our show went down quite well.

They performed the same set of 11 songs throughout their 1966 tour: ‘Rock And Roll Music’, ‘She’s A Woman’, ‘If I Needed Someone’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Baby’s In Black’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘I’m Down’.

The Beatles at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, 1 July 1966

The audience were reserved, but they were up on their feet – or they tried to be, but there were police all around the stadium with cameras with telephoto lenses, and anybody who stood up and looked like they were going to run toward the stage was photographed. The people were very restricted as to what they could do and how they could respond to us. It was a warm reception – but a bit clinical, as Japan is.

According to The Beatles’ press officer, Harrison’s recollection of the events wasn’t quite accurate.

George’s version of what the security people got up to in the Budokan was blissfully naïve, to say the least… Those guys were hoping to spot potential snipers in the audience and if they had done so the cameras could have been exchanged for firearms in a split second. At the same time Paul told the Anthology how efficiently the guards along our two-mile route from the Tokyo Hilton to the Budokan collected up the fans and grouped them neatly at street corners and on bridges rather than letting them wander around haphazardly. The truth is that the authorities feared the studios might have placed terrorist gunmen along the route and by herding the fans into well-contained little groups they were clearing their own field of fire and reducing the risk of stray bullets hitting fans.
Tony Barrow
John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me

After the concert, while staying at the Tokyo Hilton, The Beatles continued work on their painting Images Of A Woman (see 30 June 1966 entry).

The Beatles’ painting Images Of A Woman, Tokyo, 1966

Last updated: 24 January 2024
The Beatles live: Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo
The Beatles live: Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo
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