Asai Shimpei


Asai Shimpei 淺井 愼平 (1937.7.1- )

Involved in movie production while in college (Waseda Univ.). Official photographer of The Beatles during their stay in Tokyo in 1966 for Budokan concerts. The photo book "The Beatles in Tokyo 1966" published by The Japan Times is a recent compilation of those photos.

Currently does mostly advertising and magazine work. Wide range of interests including literature, crafts, movies, television, and record production. Founded the Kaigan Museum of Art in Chikura, Chiba Prefecture in 1991.

The Beatles in Tokyo 1966

Reviewed on: Jan. 11, 1998 Last modified: 2005-04-03

Photographic record of The Beatles' visit to Japan in June 1966.


Published: Dec. 25, 1995 Publisher: The Japan Times, Ltd. ISBN: 4789008061 Price in Japan: ¥2,000 Qualities: Soft cover, B/W photos Size: A5, 275 pp. Language: Japanese and English

The 1966 photo of the Beatles wearing happi coats as they stepped of the Japan Airlines plane in Tokyo is a classic. It was the start of their four-day concert stay in Tokyo.

For the lucky people who saw the Beatles concert at the Budokan in Tokyo, it must have been unforgettable. (Tickets for all the concerts were sold out almost immediately.) The ticket stubs and pamphlets for the concert are now collector's items and fetch premium prices.

This book is a complete photo story of the Beatles' four-day visit to Tokyo, from when their plane landed to when the plane takes off carrying them away. There was the press conference, the Hilton hotel room, the fans, the police for crowd control, the concert itself, and moments of relaxation in their hotel room. For people who were too young to be there (or not even born yet), this book offers a good glimpse into what it was about.

The most interesting shots were the candid ones and those taken inside their hotel room. Photos showing that they were in Japan were my favorites. There's Ringo trying to play a samisen and a small taiko drum, Paul wearing a kimono and playing the samisen (left-handed), John wearing a kimono and playing a Japanese flute, Paul holding a tsuzumi shoulder drum, and John, Paul, and Ringo wearing a traditional Japanese mask.

Being the official photographer of the Beatles in Japan, Asai was in a very enviable position with free access to the Beatles. He even got shots of their hotel room's bathroom sink (after a Beatle used it), the leftover food of a Beatle's meal, ruffled bed sheets (after a Beatle slept in them), etc. In-between the images, there are poetic phrases in English and Japanese. They are not really captions so they don't add much to the book. But the photos are put together very well and present a well-rounded overview of the Beatles story in Tokyo. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)

Biography in Japanese