Faces of Arashi Fans to Be Scanned Before Entry to Concerts

The trend among concert organizers in Japan to scan the faces of fans at venues to discourage ticket scalping has finally been adopted by Arashi. Johnny & Associates has announced it will introduce facial-scanning technology for Arashi’s “Japonism Show” concert tour, the first time for one of its acts.

The group’s tickets are notoriously hard to obtain. Only Arashi’s fan club members are eligible to apply for a ticket, and they still need to win a fiercely competitive lottery. Ardent fans of the group obtain multiple fan club memberships using names of their family members and friends in an attempt to beat the odds. For those who are not fan club members or lose in the draw, the only way to go to an Arashi concert is to buy tickets from online resellers, such as the popular Ticket Camp website, which resell tickets for concerts, musicals, sports and other events. Tickets for Arashi concerts, which originally cost less than ¥10,000, regularly fetch hundreds of thousands of yen on the thriving online resale market.

While Johnny & Associates stipulates on each concert ticket of its acts that entry is only for those who originally obtained them, it used to be technically difficult to confirm everyone’s identity at the entrance to concerts that often draw tens of thousands of fans.

Under the new system, applicants for tickets must submit their mug shot via email along with their application form. The facial recognition technology installed at the entrance of concert venues does the rest.

The agency’s move has drawn a mixed reaction from fans. “I’m happy because the new rule will discourage ghost fan club members who use other people’s identities from entering the ticket lottery,” said a 16-year-old high school student from Tochigi Prefecture.

Meanwhile, a female fan in her 40s expressed her regret because it will deprive people who desperately want to see Arashi, even at a high cost, of an opportunity to ever see them.

Other fans also voiced concerns that they may not be able to sell their tickets when they suddenly become unable to attend a concert.

The new rule aims to allow only people who obtained tickets through an official route to enter the shows, said a Johnny & Associates spokesperson.

The technology to scan ticket-holders at concert venues has already been used at shows of other popular performers such as Momoiro Clover Z, B’z and Mr. Children since 2014.

NEC Corp., the developer of the face-scanning system used for concerts, said that the false recognition rate was only “three out of 1,000” during the system’s developmental phase about six years ago and has since improved further.

Arashi’s nationwide arena tour will kick off at Sun Dome Fukui in Fukui Prefecture on April 23.


  • Comments

    • Ara

      They’re practically putting a ‘Wall Maria’ now to fans living outside Japan. Goodluck to anyone who’s hoping to attend their concerts from now on. This is how Johnny’s cares for you.

      • Alyosha

        These Japanese companies don’t really care about their overseas fans though.

        • BabyPanda

          Japan music has only ever been promoted in Japan, they never really cared about going oversea because they don’t need to; they make enough domestically.

          • Some acts did try before, but it’s more a thing of the past. Like a decade or more ago.

      • Amelia Ho

        tbh i agree with Alyosha…..all long they not into advertise outside japan =.=;;

      • yixan

        But it wasn’t a direct attack towards international fans, just an unpleasant effect of a necessary action. People who resell concert tickets for a way higher price are a plague in many countries. They’re also total trash btw. Unfortunately there isn’t a good way to get rid of them.

        • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

          Maybe let foreigners join the fan club…

          • kat

            they allow foreigners to join, they just like them to have an address and phone number in japan because they dont want to send things overseas.
            as long as you have someone that can vouch for you to use their address you may.

            • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

              Exactly… Which a lot of people don’t have, which is why they have to scalp… It’s a totally unnecessary system. It’s not even necessary to ship tickets anymore.

    • Dino

      “Meanwhile, a female fan in her 40s expressed her regret because it will deprive people who desperately want to see Arashi, even at a high cost, of an opportunity to ever see them.”

      Thats me T____T
      Ok bye.. there’s no hope for me to see their concert T____T

      • thisisus

        They might not implement this on Dome tours though, so you still have a chance if you have money.

    • moon

      Kinda understand because some obtain the ticket mainly for resell purpose which. This can help to deter these reseller.

      Of course the fan at age 40s is disappointed because they have the means to obtain the ticket even at hundred thousand yen while the 16yo fan delighted because they can get the ticket at market price.

      there’s pros and cons of this implementation.

    • hotaru hime

      ahh i knew they’ll eventually do something like this ever since they start filtering out tickets that have been sold online recently.

      I guess they don’t really need overseas fans when there aren’t enough seats for all their local fans. and their agency had specified the no-reselling-of-tickets-at-higher-price rule since god knows when.. I mean… 1 resale ticket in the arena area could cost 130,000yen!!

      I couldn’t afford the tickets, but I do think that buying those tickets online is the only hope for us overseas fans.. I hope someday they could do international collaborations, or hold their live overseas.

      They debuted in Hawaii~ Doesn’t that mean that Johnny is not entirely disapproving of the idea of overseas performances like BLAST? (provided that the fans abid by the Japanese rules — no photography etc)

      • Linda

        Still cheap then. When I was in Japan in Summer 2011 and was searching for a ticket, the cheapest I found was around 80000¥ and the most expensive was 240000¥…

    • Tamu

      It has been practised by momoclo,Bz and Mr Children right?wonder how those acts implemented this face recognition at big venues without creating long queue before concert

    • junebug

      the only time i’d get my face scanned is if i’m getting drunk and dancing on tables at the club

      and an arashi concert is the farthest thing from that lmao

    • Aha. I was crazy for them in 2010 though and bought their ticket for like SGD 1,000.

      • hotaru hime

        omg i almost did that too when I got my first job! How was the concert experience?? +W+

        I wasn’t able to create an account in the website (no japan address) and found an agent who provide ticketing services. (i told her my budget was SGD1000 since i was so desperate at that point of time after seeing how the cheaper tickets got wiped out in a blink of an eye >__<||) The agent didn't get back to me in the end though ^^;

        • thisisus

          That’s really sad. These days, there are tons of guides to help you buy tickets and it’s a lot easier to buy one. I’m 50% sure they wouldn’t implement this yet on Dome tours, and if they will not, I say this is your chance.

          It’s doesn’t even have to be expensive, last year I bought a stand ticket for Ohno’s birthday for 45000 yen, and it’s not even a bad seat, it’s around the 17th row from the stage and you will see them up close once they go around the dome using the carts.

        • My old concert report: http://sleepydreamgirl.livejournal.com/3572.html

          It was amazing as you’d expect audio and stage prop-wise. But the cheaper tics tend to be 3rd level seats or partially blocked view seats so SGD 1,000 is like the best you could hope for (average level seat). I wanted to cheer you on and tell you to try again but apparently johnny’s doesn’t give a f*ck about overseas fans =v=

    • Midna

      International Arashians can only hope they have an international tour now. I CRY! my only chance was the Hawaii Blast in 2014…. Too bad I wasn’t a fan then. OTL

      • eureeka

        Aren’t their Hawaii concerts just for FC members too? I’m not a fan so correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Emi

          Nope, I got my tickets on Ticketmaster for HAWAII BLAST

        • Midna

          Naw! Non-FC members were able to get tickets :)

        • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

          Originally it was FC only for Japanese fans, but US and Canadian fans could get general admission tickets. Then anyone who came in person to buy tickets could go.

    • Jo

      I don’t get it, sorry not familiar with their concerts, but don’t they have any general public concert? At all?

      • Amelia Ho

        should have……but depends….if sold out then wont have general sales

      • Reileen

        Sometimes they allot slots for general sales to give a chance to non FC members, w/c is sold thru Ticket PIA etc. But even that is thru balloting. A friend of mine tried that for NEWS con but did not hit so only choice are the resellers w/c is very costly.

        • Jo

          That sucks. They do hate money, don’t they?

          • thisisus

            Lol no. They don’t hate it. They just prioritize the fanclub members who pay yearly fees.

      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

        Half of the Hawaii tickets were general… but first open only to US and Canadian citizens… and then others could buy them in person at one location in Hawaii… Japanese people came over just to do that. Miyagi Blast may have had some general ticket sales for locals too, but I’m not sure…

    • Reileen

      As far as I know, this was first implemented during Subaru’s solo concerts earlier this year. From the looks of it, they are starting to implement this at arena venues. Dome concerts are still as per usual.

    • trufax

      wtf why is it so exclusive

      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

        they hate money

        • thisisus

          They don’t. They just give priorities to the fanclub members who pay ANNUAL fees. Why is that hating money? They’ll be sold out either way.

          • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

            UM… because they could easily make it so people overseas could also pay annual fees…. like???

            • thisisus

              Make it what? I don’t get it. Lol. Anyways, They’re rich as is, why would they bother to cater to International fans. They’ll need to have another logistics for that which they might find troublesome.

              • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                Yeah, it’s clear you don’t get it… They could let overseas fans join the fanclub and pay an annual fee, and the fact that they don’t is proof that they hate money… sorry, not sure how to make any clearer than that…

                Also, I really don’t see how in this day and age they will need more logistics. They just need to make everything digital just like every other company and then they will not need any complicated logistics and will save money in the long run. And again, the fact they don’t seem to care about that denotes that they don’t care about money.

                Honestly just letting foreigners easily get fanclub memberships will make them more willing to follow the rules, and then there won’t be as much scalping. Not that only foreigners do it anyway, since there are scalper shops in broad daylight all over Tokyo, but it’s the only option for many international fans, so they feel justified doing it.

                • thisisus

                  Lol. Easy for you to say. It will be a totally different logistics than those fans in Japan. I mean, how will you pay? Membership fees are only paid through post office. They don’t accept cards and Paypal. Should they change this for international fans even though the amount of their profit in this venture is unknown?? There are a lot of process in this step, and it’s pretty clear that they don’t give a damn about international fans.

                  It will surely be expensive for international fans to be members. They send out 4 pamphlets yearly, aside from that they send out holiday greetings as well. After that, they automatically send out renewal slips to the members before expiry of the membership. So for sure it will be super expensive for the international fans to be members and I doubt a lot of people would join in.

                  Proper logistics will be needed for this process, are you willing to pay a hefty price for a yearly membership? Besides if you have that much money, you probably have watched Arashi live already so…..

                  • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                    Um… That’s exactly what I’m saying, though…

                    1.) Have people pay online instead of by mail (which is a totally ridiculous, expensive, convoluted system)
                    2.) Again, have them accept cards and paypal… like literally every other company out there… (what is so complicated about this? lol)
                    3.) They should change the process because it will be cheaper to carry out even if was only Japanese people applying still, and they know they will get some international fans on top of that, so their profits will be guaranteed to increase.
                    4.) You’re right… they don’t give a damn about international fans… which is what my point was to begin with…
                    5.) Send out pamphlets etc. digitally, which will again save JE money, or just have international fans pay more for shipping, which I’m sure they’ll be fine with. I’ve received the pamphlets before; they are not big; it will not cost more than a few dollars more to ship it overseas.
                    6.) Renewals slips are again something that will be more cost-effective and efficient if sent out online.

                    This really isn’t rocket science… I’ve explained it as clearly as possible, but it seems as though you have some severe comprehension issues, and there’s really nothing I can do about that, so I’d suggest you stop wasting your mental energy on this issue.

                    • Midna

                      I heard cash is a dominant form of payment in Japan. I heard that even though they have all this technology they are still very old-fashioned (fax machines), and everything is paper-based (according to this Japan Times article). So I doubt they would accept credit card or Paypal for international fans. It would be nice for international fans to join but I really don’t see it happening anytime soon sigh. And I’m pretty sure most fans would rather get the pamphlets and other goods as a hard copy, especially collectors.

                      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

                        That’s true ip to a point. Not “everything” is cash based, but a great many things are, which, yes, is very annoying and old fashioned. So if you’re saying if it’s *likely* that will accept credit cards or Paypal, no, it’s not, which is what my point was to begin with… My point was they don’t care about increasing their profits… If the DID care, they WOULD accept credit cards and Paypal, and they WOULD make more money. Now, there are plenty of companies in Japan that DO take credit cards (maybe even Paypal), such as online stores, booking companies for hotels & transportation, etc. It’s not like no place takes credit cards… but yes, your local conbini might not accept it and they usually have money order option *as well* on those online stores because, yes, not everyone has credit cards, and so on. Also, I’ve never had a problem with using my foreign credit card in particular in Japan or on Japanese sites… either they accept credit cards all together or they don’t. It’s not really a matter of where it’s from.

      • Tamu

        Nah..their concert is sold out guarantee and their ticket is hard to get
        and the management wanna get rid of scalpers who make ticket price so jigh

    • light

      I get why they are doing this but i wonder what’s their plan in case someone can’t go for whatever reason at the last minute.

      Anyway i guess they’ll do it only for arenas, there would be too many people to check at domes.

      • hotaru hime

        I heard that they used to open sales to the public (non-fc members) for leftover tickets. Maybe they’ll create a system where those who couldn’t make it could cancel their seats prior to the concert, and make the seat available for someone else in the waiting list or something XD

        I’ve not been to any of their concerts before, but I heard from fans that there’re always people sitting outside the dome, begging for tickets. Mayyybe those who can’t go can still sell their tickets to them (with the face scan thing, they might be denied entry, but there’s still be some hope)

    • Storm

      To anyone who needs it:
      Overseas fans can still become official FC members if they know an FC member willing to “sponsor” them. Overseas fan has to apply in person with FC sponsor in Japan tho. Catch is the sponsor will be responsible for the overseas fan’s actions (i.e. if said fan is troublemaker, sponsor gets in trouble too)
      There’s more info about this somewhere, just search the internet. This policy still limits other international fans, but at least there’s still a way to get in legally.

      • disqus_fnwCMQDX7u

        Ridiculous. This isn’t a freakin’ work visa…

      • thisisus

        It’s the same as having to register to register on your own though? If you have a friend who’s willing to vouch for you, why not just use her address and phone number to register…

    • I can only hope something like Hawaii Blast happens again. Too bad, I missed that cause I was broke. :(

    • Kiki

      Mess… the ballot system is so unfair already.

      • thisisus

        It’s the most fair system tbh. Everyone for the same price and the ticket you get is all about luck. There will be no distinction whether you’re rich or poor, you get the same chance. What’s unfair with that system?

        • kashiyuka

          Well it’s unfair bc the person sitting all the way up in the nosebleeds has to pay the same price as someone with a front row view..

    • Twinkle Kilara

      Johnny’s is seriously too tight. It’s not surprising if people are discouraged from the fandom. :/ it’s difficult to enjoy Johnny’s when they don’t really try to service the fans.