Taylor mania has landed in Tokyo. But the enthusiasm of some of the Swifties arriving with her has clashed with local sensibilities.
Thousands of visitors from across Asia and beyond have flooded into Japan’s capital as Taylor Swift performs at the Tokyo Dome for four nights this week. The problem, as some domestic concertgoers see it, is that these foreign fans don’t share the rather restrained Japanese approach to taking in a show.
In a post on the platform X, a Japanese holder of a V.I.P. ticket wrote that even paying 130,000 yen — about $870 — and being seated in the third row didn’t guarantee a clear view, given that so many foreign fans had stood up and rushed forward.
“It’s too sad,” the post said. “It’s crazy that, if you follow the rules, you won’t be able to watch it.”
While Japanese are praised abroad for their pristine behavior at soccer matches and other sporting events, their exacting standards at home can make them hostile to visitors. Another post on X, accompanied by a short video of audience members hoisting up their cellphones to capture the scene onstage, complained that “there were many foreigners who couldn’t respect manners.”
The grumbling is in some ways a microcosm of Japan’s mixed reception to the international tourists who have helped restore the country’s economy, the world’s third largest, after the pandemic. More than 25 million people visited Japan last year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, nearly 80 percent of the number who visited in 2019.
As visitor numbers rebounded last year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida fretted that “there are concerns that in some areas and at certain times of the day, excessive crowding and poor etiquette may impact the lives of local residents and reduce traveler satisfaction.”
Etiquette was on the mind of Chiharu Nakayoshi, 31, an occupational therapist, when she attended Ms. Swift’s concert on Wednesday. She said her enjoyment of the performance had been undermined by the behavior of non-Japanese concertgoers who left their assigned seats and blocked her view in the V.I.P. section.
“I bought the most expensive ticket, because I thought it would be a rare opportunity to see Taylor at her most glorious,” Ms. Nakayoshi wrote in a direct message on X. “But when the day came, it turned out to be lawless.”
Other Japanese fans pointed out on social media that domestic spectators, too, could behave badly, citing an outdoor summer music festival in Osaka where fans groped the breasts of a singer onstage.
One post characterized “discrimination against foreigners” coming to Tokyo to see Ms. Swift as “really disgusting.”
For many of the international visitors, a large number from China, Southeast Asia or the United States, the concerts were a bonding experience.
Thousands of Chinese Swifties joined WeChat message groups to swap tips on scoring tickets, form car pools to travel outside Tokyo and offer shopping suggestions, said Yuqing Mai, 23, a university administrator in Canada who stopped in Tokyo to see the first concert on Wednesday on her way to see family in China for the Lunar New Year.
Ms. Mai said she knew of at least eight WeChat groups with 500 members each that were dedicated to Swifties traveling to Japan. She said many fans had expressed interest in traveling to other parts of Japan while in the country for the concerts.
“A lot of fans are either arriving in Japan early or staying for a few days longer afterwards,” she wrote in an email.
With such concertgoers booking hotels and side trips to Kyoto or other destinations, Ms. Swift’s four-night Tokyo gigs could prove lucrative for the domestic tourism industry.
Mariel Milner, 32, a communications strategy director at an advertising agency in New York, and Lindsay Milner Katz, 31, a sales director at a New York media company, said they had not initially planned this year to visit their sister, Dianne Milner, 34, who works in Tokyo as a lawyer for Hewlett-Packard.
But when Dianne managed to secure lottery slots to buy three V.I.P. tickets to one of the Tokyo dates for about $350 apiece — with the favorable exchange rate, much cheaper than such seats might have cost in the United States — the sisters decided to book flights to Japan.
“We said, ‘What’s a flight? And we can stay with our sister,’” Mariel Milner said on a call from a hotel room in Kyoto, where the women had traveled with their husbands for a 24-hour visit before returning to Tokyo for the final concert on Saturday. “So we rationalized it, because it’s once in a lifetime.”
Similarly, Monika Gami, who moved last summer to Tokyo from New Jersey with her family, had two of her husband’s cousins in town to see Ms. Swift. But “I am not sure I would consider it visiting us,” Ms. Gami said. “Their trip here was planned before we even got here.”
The excitement of having Ms. Swift in Tokyo prompted reports of what the star herself was doing with her time in Japan.
Kiyoshi Kawasaki, who owns Turret Coffee in the Tsukiji neighborhood of Tokyo, said that Ms. Swift had visited his shop on Monday, but that he had not been sure of who it was until he saw photos of Ms. Swift in an Instagram post by the Japanese edition of Vogue.
Mr. Kawasaki said he could have sworn that Ms. Swift had stood in line for coffee with Selena Gomez, a fellow pop star; Brittany Mahomes, whose husband, Patrick Mahomes, is a Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and teammate of Ms. Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce; and one more woman.
Representatives for Ms. Gomez said that she was not in Tokyo. And a spokesman for the Chiefs, who will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl this weekend, did not reply to an email asking whether Ms. Mahomes was in Japan.
On Friday night, one Swiftie, Jazmine Sydney Tanay, 23, a loyal fan for 16 years who had flown in that morning from the Philippines, had her wish come true in more ways than one.
Before the concert, as she munched on a rice ball from a food stand inside the dome, she said she was hoping that Ms. Swift would tell the audience directly about her next album.
As the show opened, Ms. Swift did just that. Working the crowd, she said that the fans in Tokyo were the most stylish. Gazing out at the dome, she told them that she had said to herself the word “kawaii,” Japanese for cute.
As Ms. Swift launched into “Cruel Summer” from her 2019 album, “Lover,” the audience leaped to their feet, causing the stands to tremble. No word yet on whether the activity registered on any seismometers.
Muktita Suhartono contributed reporting.