See The Beatles embark on oriental shenanigans with these rare photos from their 1966 Japanese tour

Photographer Shimpei Asai was lucky enough to step behind the curtain with John, Paul, Ringo and George on their 1966 trip to Tokyo. The rare, behind-the-scenes photos have only just been released in the limited edition photo book Hello, Goodbye.

Jump below to see the photos of The Beatles, along with comments from Asai.

the beatles japan tokyo 10

In 1966 The Beatles saw Tokyo from behind the windows of hotel rooms and tour vans and Shimpei Asai was their behind-the-scenes lens.

Beatles Make Their Getaway

“Though there had to be a lot of security, the Beatles actually escaped from it briefly. I think they accepted their situation though.”

Japanese Beatlemania in Full Effect

“I had never felt this before. I did know about hysterical fans, but the atmosphere in the Budokan was different. It was as if all the audience shared one idea, and this was the only time they had.”

John in Kimono

“I tried not to make them conscious I carried the camera, so they wouldn’t feel my presence.”

Beatle at Leisure

“John and Paul did escape from the hotel for a short time, but they saw almost nothing in Tokyo before they had to come back.”

Meet the Press

“They looked frustrated about the amount of security, and they were. But they didn’t hate this situation, they accepted it.”

Ringo and Paul During Downtime

“When I first saw the Beatles, they were in a large room, resting. They didn’t talk to each other very much, they seemed so used to each other they didn’t have to.”

Japanese Fans Flaunt Their Beatlemania

“I saw many teenage girls and they seemed to be the generation that understood the Beatles most. They were certainly the first generation of Beatles fans, and I was struck by their willingness to accept the newness of the band.”

Beatles Onstage

“I could hear almost nothing, music or screaming, though the concert featured 11 songs. As I concentrated on taking photographs, I felt a kind of noise.”

Fan Reading Up on John

“I think [the Beatles] must have felt so many things during this short period. And they started thinking of all the experiences they’d had that many people didn’t.”

Fan Mail

“I was allocated a room on the same floor of the hotel as the Beatles. So I could get to know their routine, and when was good to photograph them.”

Signed Program

“I decided I wouldn’t just photograph the Beatles, but also what they saw, touched and felt. An ashtray that I photographed of theirs is now a collectors’ item, which makes me laugh.”

the beatles japan tokyo 10
George with Antique

“One Japanese antiques dealer was brought to the Beatles’ room. Their experience of seeing and touching the objects was important for them to get to know Japanese culture.”

View From the Hotel Window

“The Beatles mainly just saw the scenery from the hotel and the car that took them to the Budokan. I think they looked at the country through windows.”

John and Paul Embrace the Japanese Spirit

“They were still young and they didn’t know much about Japan. These seemed appropriate items for them to start having an interest in the country.”


Via Rolling Stone.