Japan is an island country in East Asia that is an isolated world with a unique culture and landscape. Rarely elsewhere on the planet has the contrast of modern and traditional in Japan created an irresistible set that reflected not only architecture and art but also people and their spirit.
The two Japanese letters that indicate the name of Japan mean “source of the sun” so the whole country is often called “Land of the Rising Sun“.
Most of the territory is occupied by mountains. As much as 70% of Japan’s surface is covered by mountains, including over a hundred active volcanoes. The country is made up of over 6,800 islands, the largest of which are: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku.
Japan is a constitutional parliamentary monarchy headed by an emperor. Also, it is the tenth country in the world with a population of just under 128 million. 99% of whom are Japanese.
Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and the Tokyo Metropolis area is the largest agglomeration in the world. Consists of over 26 cities and 8 villages, which over time have grown into one city. It is home to over 35 million people.
The women who study the ancient arts, Japanese dance and music in Japan are called Geishas. Their name in translation means “Girls of the arts”, so successful geishas’ must be graceful, charming, educated, witty, and beautiful. In addition, they must know how to sing, dance, be familiar with painting, calligraphy, tea service, and must know and play Shamisen, hand drum, flute, and other instruments.
Public order and peace in Japan are considered at a high level. There is not a risk of armed conflicts, and the crime rate is low. Japan, however, is a country at high risk of natural disasters.
When We Visited Japan in April 1983
Back at the time, 38-years-ago in 1983 on April 3rd, during the world tour to promote their fourth album “Love Over Gold”, Dire Straits played at Seineken Hall in Tokyo. Then they visited Japan for the first and the last time. Despite the fact they were very popular in the country of the rising sun, a first attempt to visit the country failed for the “On Location Tour” of 1980-1981.
During the “Love Over Gold” tour they played 4 shows between the 2nd and 5th of April, three in Tokyo and one, the last one ever, in Osaka.
Also, during the “Brothers in Arms” tour they scheduled some tour dates in Japan in early 1986 but they had to cancel them for an unknown reason, and during the last Dire Straits tour, “On Every Street” between 1991 and 1992, because of the economic recession, the band had to leave many countries out of the plans, Japan amongst them.
The excellent video recording down below in a length of 1 hour and 52 minutes is the full show concert from April 3rd, 1983 when Dire Straits were at the Tokyo. Thanks to the very good sound quality you’ll have a chance to listen to the show concert now!
During the listening, you will hear nice performances by the guests, the Australian saxophone player Paul Williamson, alongside Joop De Korte on percussion and Tommy Mandel on keyboards.
At that concert, Dire Straits performed as a band, including:
Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals)
John Illsley (bass guitar)
Hall Lindes (guitar)
Alan Clark (keyboards)
Terry Williams (drums).
You’ll also hear some funny moments from the concert when Mark Knopfler is talking to the audience in Japan. There is also a fan in the audience who keeps on shouting for ‘Skateaway’. Mark gets really annoyed by this and just when he is announcing ‘Going Home’, this person shouts again very loud. Mark replied: “Where are you? Skateaway… Skateaway… Come on man, do us a favor: Skateaway!”
As a unique souvenir from Dire Straits’ first and the last time of visiting Japan, there is a very rare and limited double CD. “Dire Straits: When We Visited Japan” is a completed CD by six bonus tracks recorded on 4th & 5th April 1983, in Tokyo and Osaka. Three of them are recorded at Seineken Hall in Tokyo, and the other three at the Osaka Expo Hall.