There was a brief moment around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday where, as Taylor Swift played to 55,000 screaming fans in the first performance of her four-night stint at Tokyo Dome, Lionel Messi took to the pitch just five kilometers away, at the Japan National Stadium.
This no doubt caused some envy in Hong Kong, which Swift skipped and Messi, infamously, sat out. The two global superstars appearing at the same time is a coincidence, but nonetheless symbolic of a shift in power in the region — one that has seen Tokyo go from overlooked outlier to, arguably, Asia’s most attractive destination.
The era of "Japan passing” seems at an end, and in the battle of financial hubs, heads are turning anew to a city that is enjoying a rare moment. All kinds of indicators are aligned in positivity, with the stock market on Thursday closing at yet another 34-year high and nearly two jobs for every person seeking employment. In contrast to other cities, offices are thriving post-COVID. Investors and influencers alike express surprise at the state of the metropolis, which stands in contrast to decades of doom-laden headlines on the moribund state of Japan’s economy.