Written by MATCHA-NEWS
COVID-19 - Free Online Streaming By Japanese Artists And Facilities
Many amusement facilities and artists offer free online streaming to encourage people to stay at home during the state of emergency. A large part of this content is usually available only to paying members so it's a great chance to enjoy it for free.
The state of emergency was declared in Japan on April 7, 2020, for seven prefectures, including Tokyo. As citizens are encouraged to stay at home, many Japanese facilities and artists support the message.
In an attempt to entertain the people who are following the advice to stay at home, special recordings and live streamings are offered for free. Many of these services would normally be available only to paying customers or fan club members.
Here are five live streamings that we warmly recommend.
1. Watch a Kabuki Show! Courtesy of The National Theatre, Tokyo
Kabuki "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" Program A. National Theatre, Tokyo
Originally, the Kabuki play Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, or "Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees," was supposed to delight audiences at the National Theatre, Tokyo from May 2020. However, the National Theatre Tokyo, just like many other Japanese theaters, is currently closed and postponed their performances long before the state of emergency due to the "no large gatherings" plea of the government announced earlier this year.
In order to still entertain the disappointed audiences, as well as potentially introduce Kabuki to new audiences, the National Theatre uploaded the whole five-hour Kabuki play on YouTube.
The play consists of three different acts, split into three different videos. All of them can be watched on the National Theatre's official YouTube channel until April 30, 2020. The play is only available in Japanese but Kabuki is a stage art with impressive visuals and many people can still fully enjoy this show.
The National Theatre, Tokyo: Official YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzL2YBulm60QrN0PkdQFaSw
2. Sea Life Live Streaming from Enoshima Aquarium
Enoshima Aquarium live stream from April 11
The Enoshima Aquarium temporarily closed a few weeks ago. The aquarium is especially popular with children and in order to not disappoint the little ones, the facility decided to do live streaming of their sea life. Viewers can enjoy real-time images of colorful fish, jellyfish, majestic sea turtles, and cute penguins.
All the previous live streams can be watched on Enoshima Aquarium's YouTube channel and a new live stream is uploaded every day of the week from Tuesday to Saturday.
Enoshima Aquarium official YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/EnosuiMovie/videos
3. Free Children's Anime on Amazon Prime
Schools have been closed since March 1 in Japan. To support parents working from home in keeping their children entertain, Amazon Prime Japan offers its content for children for free to all Amazon registered users. Usually, a large amount of the kids' content requires a small monthly fee so this offer is quite special.
Pokémon, Yo-kai Watch or GeGeGe no Kitaro are some of the popular animation series that are now available for free.
Amazon Prime Japan Kids Content (Japanese)
4. Live Performances and Concerts for Free
DIR EN GREY - The World You Live In (Live Concert Behind Closed Doors 2020.3.28)
Many music artists had to cancel their performances because of the coronavirus outbreaks. Some of them decided to offer live streams of the "no audience lives" that they held instead.
While some artists stream on platforms that require a paid membership, others stream for free on YouTube. Japanese shock rock band DIR EN GREY was one of the first artists offering free YouTube live streaming.
Some artists choose to upload full-length live concerts held in the recent past, which are usually only available on DVDs. For example, avex is uploading lives of some of their popular artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki to their YouTube channel. Please note that these uploads are only available for a limited time.
5. #StayAtHome Sessions by Artists on Social Media
GOTCHAROCKA STAYHOME SESSION Ash(Self cover)
As many live performances have been canceled, #stayathome sessions have become a popular way for artists to entertain themselves and audiences.
Some artists upload their sessions on YouTube (for example, visual kei band Gotcharocka).
Others tag each other to play covers of there favorite songs with the hashtag #うたつなぎ (#utatsunagi), which means song connection, on Twitter. #Utatsunagi has even very famous artist participating such as Jean-Ken Johnny from Japan's wolf band MAN WITH A MISSION.
Honorable Mention - Stay Fit at Home
Just like everywhere else in the world, most gyms are temporarily closed in Japan. While most just close and freeze memberships, the martial arts gym Toikatsu Dojo took it a step further. Members can either freeze or keep their membership during the break. If they keep the membership they can choose from eight different all-day martial arts live streamings plus two variety channels hosted on zoom. The zoom live streaming makes it possible to interact with the trainer while working out just like in a real class.
As it requires to be a member, it is technically not free but it deserves an honorable mention as it is a great idea to help people stay fit receiving advice from their trainers while staying at home.
Toikatsu Dojo official website: https://www.toikatudojomma.com/ (Japanese)
Written by Chiara Mischke