Japanese hip-hop has pursued the national spotlight for years, always seemingly on the cusp of a major breakthrough. On Aug. 29, the genre got the attention it craved, but in the worst possible way.
The Namimonogatari2021 music festival was held in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, with such major rappers as Awich, Bad Hop and Zeebra performing. Videos of the event uploaded to social media appeared to show maskless concertgoers crowding and cheering in front of the stage, with some drinking alcohol (currently discouraged as part of antivirus measures). On Tuesday it was announced that at least 14 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to the event, meaning an infection cluster occurred.