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Japan Has Lifted Its 67 Year-Old Ban on Dancing

No dancing

Long before hardass people of the small town in Footloose, there was the government of Japan.

For almost seventy years, it was illegal to operate an establishment where dancing took place without a license. Not to serve alcohol. Not to feature live bands. Not to play recorded music. But a license to dance. And making life more difficult for clubbers was the rule that all music (and dancing) had to stop by midnight.

The roots of this law date back to WWII when the Japanese government believe that dance halls were dens of prostitution and iniquity. But as the 20th century wore on, more and more establishments began to ignore the rule–and, of course, the police had better things to do than enforce this law.  But then there were a series of sensation drug scandals starting about a decade ago, which resulted in a big crackdown. Cops actually raided places suspected of allowing dancing without a licence and woe to anyone caught dancing after midnight.

However, Japanese dancers (and club owners) can now rejoice–almost The law was lifted last week in anticipation of all the tourists that will be flocking to the country for the 2020 Winter Olympics.  But for some reason, the full rescinding of the no-dancing rule won’t come into effect until 2016.

The will eventually vault Japan ahead of Sweden which still outlaws “spontaneous dancing.” Clubs and bars without dancing licenses get fined if anyone decides to suddenly bust a move.  Until Sweden figures out this is stupid, they’re going to keep Baby in a corner.

(Via The Independent)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “Japan Has Lifted Its 67 Year-Old Ban on Dancing

  • “Until Sweden figures out this is stupid, they’re going to keep Baby in a corner.”

    Wrong Patrick Swayze movie.


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