The Taylor Swift phenomenon has taken Asia by storm this week, as fans from across the continent gathered in Japan to witness the latest leg of the American pop star’s Eras Tour. Meanwhile, fans back home are eagerly hoping she can return to the U.S. in time to watch her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
In Tokyo, where Swift is performing four sold-out shows from Wednesday to Saturday, the streets have been blanketed with snow and an excited buzz emanates from fans worldwide.
Attendees, like Katherine Medina, a 29-year-old from the Dominican Republic living in Japan, experienced a sense of global camaraderie at the Tokyo Dome.
Medina recounted sitting next to a girl from China, with others from the Philippines and the United States around her. Despite language barriers, instant connections formed among Swift fans. “Maybe they don’t have the ‘How are you?’ conversation, but they were like crying together,” she said.
Among the audience at the first show was Rosé from the South Korean girl group Blackpink, who shared a video of herself singing along to the extended version of “All Too Well.”
Japan marks the first stop in Asia for Swift’s Eras Tour, a groundbreaking tour that began last year, breaking the billion-dollar mark and providing an economic boost to local economies.
The four shows in Japan are estimated to have an economic impact of 34 billion yen ($230 million), considering ticket revenue and related spending, according to the Economic Impact Research Laboratory.
Mitsumasa Etou, a researcher at Tokyo City University, highlighted the significance, stating, “That’s just from one person performing four nights!”
Japan, the world’s second-largest music market after the United States, faced challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic with restrictions hampering live music events.
Barbara Greene, a lecturer in contemporary Japanese culture, noted, “We’ve had a rather long period where we didn’t actually have a lot of artists coming to Japan because of Covid. And I think Swift is the first really huge artist that people can’t wait to see.”
As Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl, speculation arose about whether Swift could make it to Las Vegas in time for the game after her Saturday-night concert in Tokyo.
The Japanese Embassy in Washington reassured fans, pointing out that Tokyo is 17 hours ahead of Las Vegas, providing a favorable time difference for Swift’s travel towards the U.S.
“We wanted to confirm that anyone concerned can be Fearless in knowing that this talented performer can wow Japanese audiences and still make it to Las Vegas to support the Chiefs when they take the field for the Super Bowl wearing Red,” the embassy stated on February 2.
Following the Super Bowl, Swift is set to perform in Australia for seven concerts in Melbourne and Sydney later this month, followed by six concerts in Singapore in March.