Japan Tour 1978

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - January 21 & 22, 1978

The Tokyo shows were full of contrast. The first night was short and hurried with no encore, but on the second night all the stops were pulled out, and Rainbow really rose, with excellent solos from Ritchie. Cozy's solo seems to go down really well with all the crowds in Japan, and is becoming the highlight for many. David Stone went down better than Carey, for reasons beyond my comprehension, and half the audience were unaware of the change in bass player!

Rainbow Fan Club Japan - January 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Rock goes mad, female student died

It's close to about 5,000 fans for a performance of a British rock guitar group open, the audience became a bit too enthusiast, and the female college students were overwhelmed, eight people were slightly injured. With the arrival of Rainbow, the girls were fainting. The main reason seems to be the lack of control of the young audience due to the lack of venue preparation.

About 5,000 people were in the venue during the performance of the British rock group Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at Nakajima Sports Center in Hokkaido, Chuo-ku, Sapporo. The concert started at 6:30 pm, and the Japanese group Cosmos Factory played first, followed by Rainbow from around 8 o'clock. They arranged folding chairs on the first floor and on the surrounding second floor.

After Cosmos Factory there was a break for about an hour. Around 8:00 pm, once the hall lights disappeared, suddenly the crowd rushed to the stage. About thirty guards who were in the foreground turned back and it became a mess. Rainbow reached its peak when the first song was performed. The people just became scissors and started to collapse. There were only lights on the stage in the venue, and the audience was in the dark.

Hundreds of people, swaying in the venue, then fell like a heavy pile, in the middle of the sixteenth row from the front, in the middle of the venue. During the performance of Rainbow, Kaiichi Gakuen Junior College student Junko Kawaharada fell, she was carried away and left by ambulance, but died after arriving at the hospital. It seems she have died from suffocation due to chest compression.

Eight people such as Miyanomori, a junior high school second grader, and Satoichi Ando (14), were injured too, and were taken into the waiting room of the sports center. They were taken to hospitals in the city.
According to “Kyodo Fudahoro” (President Katsuo Takeda), who planned the performance, the organizer took off the chairs in the first half of the stage before the Rainbow performance started. I immediately fell into a state of panic. The performance of Rainbow was as it was, but in the front seats where the audience was confused and some started to collapse, folding chairs and shoes were scattered. The fallen women were carried one after another on a stretcher.

This was the first concert that was noisy like hard rock. Students boys were hired as guards. On the day of the show, they were only giving a brief attention a short time before the performance. It kept going as planned. I felt like I could only at the look of a young audience. At the venue, the Sapporo Minami station officer asked for the performance to be interrupted many times after the beginning.

It was said that he had hired approximately 130 security guards, who were modestly confined to parking, and cautioned the fans not to stand up even if the performance started with a microphone. However, after the performance of the support-act was over, a break was made without notice how many minutes it would take, and it seemed that the audience's misunderstanding was causing confusion. Not only from the city of Horo, there were fans but also some enthusiastic school students who came from the town of Heido north by train for four hours. Rainbow was in Japan from the 10th of January, starting from Nagoya, to Osaka, etc. and continuing their tour. Sapporo was the 12th show of the tour.

Asahi Shinbun, Japan - January 28, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Newspapers, Japan - January 28, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Tokyo Fan Trampled

A 19-year-old girl was crushed to death at a Ritchie Blackmore concert in Sapporo, Japan. Before Blackmore even got a chance to play a note, 7,000 fans rushed the stage in anticipation, trampling many in the 10-foot distance between the front of the stage and the first row of seats. Ten to 15 other kids were reportedly treated for injuries.

"We weren't aware that anyone had been hurt until the police came backstage about halfway through the show," said Blackmore's manager, Bruce Payne. "They convinced us to continue playing to avoid a riot. It was the craziest crowd I've ever seen. We cancelled the next day's concert, and for the rest of the tour it seemed like the police outnumbered the audience."

Michael Duffey, Philadelphia Daily News - March 16, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Youth Dies at Japanese Concert

Sapporo, Japan, Jan. 28 (Reuters) — A student was trampled to death and eight were injured here last night when screaming fans stampeded at a concert by a British rock group, Rainbow, About 1,000 people in the audience of 5,000 ignored warnings from stewards and stormed towards the stage. The police are questioning the promoters of the concert about the accident.

New York Times - January 29, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Stampede of Fans Fatal to Girl, 19

A crowd of 2,000 screaming fans stampeded during a concert of the British rock hand Rainbow in Sapporo Friday, crushing a 19-year old girl to death and injuring several other persons, police said. They said the crowd rushed at the band shortly after the popular British group, led by Ritchie Blackmore, began playing at the Winter Sports resort on the Northern Island of Hokkaido, about 600 miles north of Tokyo.

The concert was part of a two-week tour of Japan. Police identified the girl who was killed as Junko Kawaharada, a college student. One of 150 guards posted in and around the Sapporo Sports Center where the concert was being held said that minutes after Rainbow began its performance the mob of screaming, cheering, howling fans made a rush for the concert stage.

"I saw some people about 17 to 18 rows from front toppled over like dominoes and then I rushed in with other guards to help restore order." The Japanese record company which sponsored the Rainbow tour said the hard rock band was enthusiastically received on an earlier trip to Japan and for this reason had been brought back.

Asbury Park Press - January 31, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Ritchie Blackmore's aggravation in Japan

Bad incident in Sapporo: During a concert by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, a girl fainted and died. The police blame the group for it. "The concert should have been interrupted," was the official statement, and Ritchie defended herself: "From the stage, I can not see if a girl faints, and then stop playing."

Bravo Magazine, Germany - February 23, 1978

Nakajima Sports Centre, Sapporo, Japan - January 27, 1978

Tragic death of a rock fan at a rainbow concert in Sapporo, Japan. An 18-year-old student was thrown to death when around 2000 spectators tried to storm the stage.

POP Magazine, Germany - March 23, 1978