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Video of the Beatles in Japan unearthed after years of legal battle

Buried for more than 50 years due to a legal battle, a short video of the Beatles’ only tour in Japan has just surfaced, at the initiative of Japanese fans.

Video footage from the Beatles’ only 1966 Japan tour was recently released following a lengthy legal battle in the country, much to the delight of fans of the legendary British rock band.

This 35-minute silent black and white film, now freely available on YouTube, was made at the time by the Japanese police for security purposes.

Blurred faces

We can see the “four boys in the wind” all smiles as they get off the plane dressed in light kimonos, then playing in front of a delirious crowd in the room of the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, or even operations of backstage police.

These archives, however, have a strange detail: apart from those of the Beatles, the faces of all the other people filmed are blurred, for reasons of respect for privacy.

For years, the question of the image rights of the people filmed in spite of themselves in this film has been a stumbling block between Japanese fans of the Beatles and defenders of the right to information on the one hand and the local police. the other.

Fans went all the way to Japan’s Supreme Court to try to clear an uncensored version, arguing it was a ‘historic document’ and saying it was absurd to blur faces filmed over 50 years ago. , and therefore practically impossible to identify today according to them.

Only one tour in Japan

But the Court had rejected their arguments in 2018, and the police’s proposal to release a version with pixelated faces finally prevailed.

Questioned Monday by AFP, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Satoshi Shinkai is now doing good against bad luck.

This film “comes out of the shadows for the first time (…). I’m sure Beatles experts and fans around the world will take a close interest in it”, said Mr. Shinkai, himself an absolute fan of the Liverpool group.

The Beatles remain extremely popular in Japan, even though they only did one tour of only five concerts there.

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