blank paper: Japan Expo’s Guests of Honour Cause Chaos at Debut Live Event (Live Report)
Is KUMI KODA and KENJI03 of BACK-ON coming to Canada on 5 August? Little is known about the enigmatic Japanese rock band blank paper, who will perform at Otakuthon in Montreal on 5 August. Yet, despite having only two songs out, Japan Expo - the biggest celebration of Japanese pop culture outside of Japan - invited blank paper as the event’s official ‘guests of honour’ this weekend. The internet was already awash with theories about who blank paper’s members really are for them to receive such an invitation so quickly. Their music videos on YouTube contain countless messages with suggestions, with the most popular theory suggesting that the dreadlocked male figure going by the name C45P3R is really KENJI03 of the band BACK-ON (and composer of many J-pop songs for other artists), and the bunny-eared T3R354 is secretly Japanese pop mega star (and biggest selling artist of the year two-years in a row) KUMI KODA.
The theories went in to overdrive ahead of blank paper’s debut live performance on 16 July at Japan Expo’s main stage. It didn’t help that KENJI03 posted an image on Instagram a few days prior with him at the airport and the caption ‘#paris’ with what looks like C45P3R photobombing in the background. Perhaps just a coincidence? But the next day KUMI KODA also posted a picture on Instagram with the caption ‘#paris’ and fans spotted what looks like T3R354 also lurking in the background, and they also noticed that the pic was taken inside of Parc des Expositions de Paris-Nord-Villepinte, the venue of Japan Expo.
Suspicious KENJI03 / KUMI KODA photos...
Suffice to say, rumours spread even faster about blank paper that by the time they were due on stage, over two thousand fans of music and culture came to experience their exciting live show – their first performance anywhere in the world.
blank paper’s set list didn’t help calm any rumours either. It began with latest single ‘High legacy’, which is also the theme song to World Pro Wrestling in Japan. The knock-out track was met with a roar from the crowd and was followed by new track ‘bpm’, the first time the song has ever been heard. blank paper then sent the crowd wild by teasing them with a KUMI KODA cover ‘Guess Who Is Back’, the original version of which has over 25 million streams on Spotify, her most streamed track on the platform. It would appear they are very aware of the rumours. After the audience tried to recover from that bombshell, blank paper unleashed a second blow with a cover of BACK-ON’s ‘STRIKE BACK’, one of the band’s most popular songs which found a huge following amongst anime fans overseas when it featured as a theme song to hit anime series Fairy Tail.
blank paper live in Paris at Japan Expo
While the crowd recovered from this double whammy of hits, blank paper performed two new songs for the first time; first ‘Prescription M.D’ and then ‘Siva’ before causing more chaos with another BACK-ON cover, this time ‘Nibunnoichi’ (also the theme song to anime Gundam Build Fighters). That was followed by a massive KUMI KODA cover of ‘Real Emotion’, which also featured in the hugely popular video game Final Fantasy X-2. blank paper then concluded their first live show with debut song ‘enemy’, a song that’s been streamed over a million times and was also the opening theme to mecha anime Amaim Warrior at the Borderline (released as Kyoukai Senki in Japan) from Nippon Sunrise Inc., the studio behind iconic series such as Cowboy Bebop, Gundam and Escaflowne.
blank paper’s next stop is HYPER JAPAN’s HYPER LIVE event on Friday 22 July, followed by an appearance at OTAKUTHON in Montreal, Canada on 5 August 2022. Don’t miss your chance to see blank paper and see if the rumours are true for yourself!