Don’t Take Your Dancing Freedom For Granted – Real Scenes: Tokyo

shockleewebpic_RArealscenesjapanThe crew over at RA have put together an alarming and yet inspiring must-see documentary short on the music club scene in Tokyo and how it is being suppressed by outdated laws that prevent most dance clubs from operating legally.

To most of us, a police ban on dancing sounds like the stuff of dystopian nightmares, but in the latest episode of our flagship documentary series we see how this is a reality for people in the Japanese capital.

“Humans eat, reproduce and sleep,” says Dommune’s Naohiro Ukawa. “And they dance.” But in Japanese clubs these days, this basic form of expression is illegal. The Entertainment Business Control Law, or Fueiho as it is commonly known, was passed decades ago to control prostitution in the Japanese entertainment industry. It states that venues under 66 meters squared cannot obtain a license to allow dancing. For years authorities turned a blind eye to the club scene in Tokyo, which became known as one of the world’s best places to hear dance music. But over the last couple of years, the police have begun to stringently clamp down. There are many theories as to why this happened (most people see the restrictions in Osaka, which began in 2010, as a starting place for the enforcement of Fueiho) but the result is that a once vibrant scene is now being slowly strangled.

For our latest Real Scenes films, we journey to the Japanese capital to meet the DJs, promoters, campaigners and producers who have been affected by the Fueiho. We hear how a rapidly aging population and the negative public perception of nightclubs have meant that fighting for reform is just part of the problem. Despite these extraordinary challenges, Tokyo is home to passionate, dedicated dance music community, who have responded with campaign groups like Let’s DANCE, and the establishment of small, underground music spaces. There is a collective understanding that if they want to affect change it will have to come from within.

Music In Order Of Appearance:

Koss – Voyage – Mule Electronic 2011
Iori – Space (intro) – Bitta Japan 2012
Anenon – Acquiescence (Yosi Horikawa remix) – Non Projects 2012
Stereociti – Kawasaki – Mojuba 2011
Yosi Horikawa – Gull – Eklektik Records 2010
Stereociti – A Day – Mojuba 2011
Iori – Bloom – Bitta Japan 2012
DJ Nobu – Untitled – Bitta Japan 2013
Ena – Community Space – 7even Recordings 2013

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