“Let’s Go All the Way to the Budokan Together”

I’m trying out a slightly different type of post format by taking a question and answering it with facts (this one is, quite obviously, centred around the question, “What’s up with the Budokan in anime, anyway?”), so bear with me if this doesn’t seem to be as good as usual…

The title quote comes from Hinamatsuri, where in episode 4 Hina joins a band and the lead singer wants her on the ride all the way to the Budokan. It’s name-dropped in some other anime…but what’s up with it?

What’s a Budokan?

The Nippon Budokan, or Budokan in short, is a stadium. The budo bit means “martial arts”, so it’s mostly a venue for just that (Nippon Budokan 2016) but it can also be repurposed for other kinds of large-scale events. (By the way, the kan in this case means “hall”.) I guess if I had to compare it to other places, it would be like the Japanese equivalent of playing at Madison Square Garden in the US or the O2 Arena in London…not that I know much about large concert venues, really…

It’s big enough that it can host events for the Olympics – it held events for the 1964 Olympics, at least. (I dunno about 2020, to be honest.)

Concrete Revolutio informs the viewer, through one of its many parallels to Showa Japan, that the Beatles were the first foreign band to play at the Budokan (Concrete Revolutio 2015) and since then, its popularity as a band’s final destination has soared meteorically. That makes it a great place to base music-based anime around, since by having a clear final destination but no set path for characters to get there, the place is rife with story-writing opportunities. Since a large stadium is also unmistakeable from a certain distance, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say it could be a landmark for someone or something, although I‘ve never seen it being used specifically in anime that way.

What are Some of the Acts That Have Performed at the Budokan?

  • The Beatles, naturally.
  • Obviously, any artist/band with a “live at the Budokan” album/song, such as Babymetal.
  • quite a few Japanese artists have taken the stage…even Hatsune Miku.

What are Some of the Anime That Mention the Budokan?

  • Hinamatsuri episode 4, as mentioned in the intro.
  • TsukiPro uses it as a final destination from episode 1.
  • Concrete Revolutio episode 6, as mentioned earlier. (Note the second season is subtitled The Final Song, so the musical allusions don’t stop there.)
  • an upcoming (as of this post) anime is called If My Favourite Pop Idol Made It To the Budokan, I Would Die! …yes, it’s that important to musical acts.

…whew. This post has been in progress for over a year and I only got the nerve to finish it when I encountered the Budokan again in my reading about Japanese culture. (For some reason, everyone only talks about the Budokan in relation to the Beatles when speaking about Japanese contemporary culture in general, which is why I had to resort to Wikipedia to string together my half-finished post.)

So, have you heard of any other anime (or even manga) that feature the Budokan? Have you been to the real deal and what was it like? (For the record, I haven’t been there (as of this post going out), so if you’ve been there you’re already one step ahead of me.)


2 thoughts on ““Let’s Go All the Way to the Budokan Together”

Add yours

  1. Back in the distant past of my high school days, Cheap Trick’s At Budokan album was *huge*…

    “I Want You to Want Me (from Budokan!)” was in heavy rotation on the radio for months.

    Liked by 1 person

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