Kumi Koda talks about holding her XXKKOVID tour during a pandemic, and here's where she fXXked up

Kumi Koda talks about holding her XXKKOVID tour during a pandemic | Random J Pop

For those who don't know, J-Pop star Kumi Koda held a tour which kicked off in September of 2020, when the entire world was very much still in a pandemic. Even Japan, a country which initially seemed to be exempt from the mess happening elsewhere on the other side of the world, eventually saw massive spikes in COVID cases.

In September 2000, Japan had around 80,000 recorded COVID cases, with approximately 25,000 of those being in Tokyo alone. Those numbers continued to climb fast, with the number of cases in Japan hitting 235,000 by the end of the year.

Shit got so bad that Japan postponed the Olympics and announced this back in March. Many acts who were due to hold tours in 2020 had either postponed dates or cancelled them outright. Even acts such as Perfume who were in the midst of a tour, had cancelled the last date of it back in February due to Miss Corona starting the Japanese leg of her own tour. But even so, Kumi's team faxed out a press release in July announcing a tour. And even with the red line on infection rate chart rising like Nintendo Switch sales during a Pokémon release, Kumi still didn't cancel it. Instead choosing to adhere to strict COVID protocols in order to hold the tour, one of which was only performing to venues at 50% capacity. The 50% capacity cap worked out well for Kumi, as she had planned to do 2 shows a day. Some will say that holding 2 shows a day was in response to the pandemic, but I think this was always going to be the plan regardless, given that Kumi was doing 2 shows a day for her (re)LIVE tour in 2019, and I imagine it's going to be something she'll continue to do for as long as she's able to do so.


Kumi Koda did a little interview where she spoke about how the pandemic had forced changes to how she and team worked, and why she continued to hold her tour.

It's great to hear that Kumi KOVID was able to hold gigs with no sign of them contributing to clusters of cases, but this tour still should not have gone ahead. It feels like a wholly unnecessary risk to have taken. I mean...

Kumi Koda talks about holding her XXKKOVID tour during a pandemic, and here's where she fXXked up | Random J Pop

Look at all how many pe-

Kumi Koda talks about holding her XXKKOVID tour during a pandemic, and here's where she fXXked up | Random J Pop

Even with restrictions in place and everybody in masks, this is still a whole lotta people in one enclosed space. And COVID safety restrictions in the venue being tight is great, but that don't mean shit on the streets and the transit systems that attendees flood in order make their way to and from the venue. It's going to be impossible to maintain any form of social distancing on busy streets, subway trains and buses. So if your ass ain't catching COVID in the venue, then it might be catching it during the treks there and back home.

Kumi expressed that she didn't want to do virtual shows or recorded performances because she wanted to be in the same physical space as her fans. But gurl. We can't be out here being pig-headed when Miss Corona is out here tap dancing on people's lungs. There are many things many of us want and would prefer to be able to do right now, but can't. Ways of life and living have changed, and we all have to adjust to it and accept it. 

Many artists and TV networks have accepted that live performances can't be done how they once were - forcing everybody to get creative in order to still deliver performances with minimal risk. Seeing the ways in which everybody has pivoted has been really inspiring to see, because everybody has had to think outside of the box to get shit done. There's a whole new level of creativity that artists, art directors, stage producers, stylists and choreographers have had to tap into, and it's a shame that Kumi Koda didn't take to the challenge to see what she and her team could have produced under the circumstances. There has been some amazing shit that's been pulled off over this past year that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise, and it's opened up artists to whole new fanbases as a result. 

Award show performances in 2020 have been some of the best they've been in YEARS because performers and creative teams have been able to do crazy things without the confines of a set stage in front of an audience in an auditorium; performing in empty stadiums, on rooftops doing the most with setups that look like Perfume's "Tokyo Girl" music video, having performances be directed and shot like music videos. Kumi really dismissed being able to do something different and entertain her fans whilst keeping them safe, in favour of holding a concert during a pandemic and risking lives.

Artists who haven't been in the game as long as Kumi KOVID and don't have the cushion of a 2 decade career and the money amassed in that time have had to bite the bullet and accept that they just can't be touring. And veterans who are 10 years plus into their careers even said 'Fuck that shit, no tour for me' and held shows via alternative means. Ayumi Hamasaki held her performances in empty venues and had them recorded. Perfume gave a virtual gig. Yet Kumi chose to be the exception. The Japanese government absolutely should have banned all large scale tours. But them not doing so shouldn't have been an invitation for artists to hold them anyway.

Kumi saying 'Fuck it I'mma a tour' truly does speak to how I feel she's handled her career to date. There's no flexibility, willingness to change, or any sense of real awareness of what she's doing. She's just...doing.

Kumi Koda talks about holding her XXKKOVID tour during a pandemic, and here's where she fXXked up | Random J Pop

I completely understand Kumi's concerns over wanting to protect her career, but this isn't mutually exclusive with risking people's safety. And the fact that Kumi felt that not holding one or two tours would jeopardise a 20 year career is telling of how she sees her own career.

Kumi is so focused on quantity and availability, that she's not seeing the value in actual substance and how that can have impact. Kumi Koda keeps putting out music and doing all of these tours, but nothing she's done over the past 10 years has been great, memorable or career defining in any way whatsoever. Kumi Koda's career isn't as landscape changing or as entrenched as the likes of Hikaru Utada, Namie Amuro or even Ayumi Hamasaki. But she's certainly done enough of the work to the point that she could disappear for 2 to 3 years, emerge with a new album and still have it enter the top 10 of the Oricon. And she's most definitely done enough work that she could have not toured in 2020.

If there was EVER a time for Kumi Koda to re-evaluate her career and her approach to it, it'd be now. But she won't.

💿 Kumi Koda album reviews: angeL + monsteR [My Name Is...] | re(CORD)DNA | AND | W Face | Walk Of My Life | Bon Voyage | Japonesque | Color the Cover | Dejavu | Eternity ~Love & Songs~ | Universe | Trick | Kingdom | Black Cherry | Secret | Grow Into One | Feel My Mind | Affection