Japanese concert hall safe distancing


To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, many establishments have been abiding social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of their visitors. Recently, a concert hall in Japan became the talk of the town for using portraits of famous musicians to enforce safe distancing measures.


Portraits of classical musicians used to enforce social distancing


Japanese concert hall safe distancing - uenogakuen ishibashi memorial hall
Uenogakuen Ishibashi Memorial Hall
Image credit: @HinaMaeda_vn

On 13th January, user @HinaMaeda_vn took to Twitter to share how a concert hall in Tokyo has taken extra steps to keep concertgoers safe. The classical concert hall in question, Uenogakuen Ishibashi Memorial Hall, took an innovative approach to enforcing seating capacity guidelines. 

Japanese concert hall safe distancing - uenogakuen ishibashi memorial hall
Image credit: @HinaMaeda_vn

Alternate seats in the hall were filled up with portraits of famous classical musicians, ostensibly reserving said seats for said musical legends. For example, Beethoven’s portrait was captioned, “This is Mr Beethoven’s seat. Please do not sit.” 

Amused by the sight, the user quipped that the “pressure” is huge, probably referring to the fact that the performers have to perform for some of the most celebrated classical composers in history. 


Not an unusual practice for entertainment venues


Japanese concert hall safe distancing - okayama symphony hall
Okayama Symphony Hall
Image credit: @hall_okaphil

As it turns out, the creative use of portraits is common practice in arts and entertainment venues. In June 2020, Okayama Symphony Hall employed a similar tactic by “reserving” seats for classical music composers.

Japanese concert hall safe distancing - social distancing signs used at okayama symphony hall
Illustration of Beethoven with the caption, “This is my seat. Please refrain from sitting here.”
Image credit: @hall_okaphil

Guests got to enjoy performances while surrounded by the likes of Beethoven and Mozart, the greatest classical composers of all time. 

Japanese concert hall safe distancing - rakugo hall in nagasaki
Rakugo performance hall in Nagasaki
Image credit: @Maekatsu70

In Nagasaki, placards with names of famous rakugoka (traditional storytellers) and celebrities written on them were pasted on seats in a performance hall. 


State of emergency declared recently


Japanese concert hall safe distancing - passerby wearing a mask
Image credit: Hakan Nural

In a bid to curb rising COVID-19 cases, Japan recently announced its second state of emergency in Tokyo and 3 surrounding prefectures. On 14th January, just 1 week after the declaration was made, the restrictions were extended to 8 additional prefectures. Okinawa Prefecture has also declared its own state of emergency yesterday.


Japanese concert hall uses musicians’ portraits for safe distancing


Though we applaud the efforts of these entertainment venues for injecting some fun while abiding by social distancing rules, we encourage everyone to refrain from going out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Let’s all do our part to bring this pandemic to an end.   

For more interesting news, check these out:

Cover image adapted from: @HinaMaeda_vn and @HinaMaeda_vn