Live Etiquette in Japan

Howdy, everyone. After a bit of discussion in our 10th planning chat it came to my attention that it might be good to have a talk about etiquette for concerts and live events in Japan since they can differ quite a bit with things in the West.


Lines in Japan are run differently than lines in the US. When you’re lining up for something in the US, if you leave your spot, then you lose your spot. This is not the case in Japan. If you leave a bag, towel, or seat in your spot (which you can do because the chance of theft is minuscule), you can go to the restroom, grab some food, play basketball (*cough* Shini *cough*) and come back.

There is one real exception to this: if the line is moved and you are not there, your stuff will be left behind and you’ll lose your spot. It’s best to be in a group if you’re going to wander off so someone can grab your marker and take it with them.


Absolutely forbidden. This will get you tossed out without question. Not only is it illegal in Japan, you’re being a pain to everyone behind you. Put your camera away, and focus on the event you’re at.


While not absolutely forbidden, using your phone during an event is kind of frowned upon. It’s similar to a movie theatre in that you’re just being a nuisance. Checking the time or some other fast thing is usually ok but don’t be camping on Twitter. You’re doing yourself a disservice.


Some events have light restrictions for whatever reason. iDOLM@STER events only allow lights with button batteries and chemical cyalumes. This means no King Blades or other lights that require AAA batteries. The policies are usually written on the event website prior to the event so you shouldn’t be surprised. You can try to smuggle lights in, but if you get busted, no whining and no arguing. It won’t help.

Use your wrist straps. Don’t send your lights flying and hitting someone in the head.

Use the appropriate colors. Don’t be That Guy holding a bright green light during Yakusoku.

You can wave your lights differently if you want to, but remember that one of the biggest reasons to do your lights and calls is to be a part of the song and the audience. The audience has their own performance of sorts to do for the performers and I strongly urge you to take part in it.

BasuP wrote a great post about colors and calls for 10th here.

[As a note for people going to such types of live shows for the first time, don’t try to do everything and take things at your own pace. Doing calls is ultimately optional and don’t let it be a distraction or a bother for yourself and others around you.]

Personal Space

Japan’s conception of personal space is vastly different than the West, especially in Tokyo. When your population is this dense, there really isn’t any room to care about personal space. This applies to lives and events as well. You’re probably going to be right up next to someone. If you’re a smaller person, that’ll be fine, but if you’re larger (like me) you need to be aware of how much space you’re taking up.

You also need to be careful with your jumping and lights. Don’t hit people in the head and don’t blind people by shoving lights in their face. Most events actually ban jumping entirely so just don’t do it.


There are times to shout and times not to shout. Don’t scream at a performer if they are speaking unless the time allows for it. There’s usually a good moment at the end of every song where you can let out your hype, so save it for then.

That should get you most of the basic etiquette  for attending events in Japan.


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