Never-before-seen footage of The Beatles’ 1966 tour of Japan released by Tokyo police

Rare footage of The Beatles surrounded by security upon arriving in Japan was recently screened.

Filmed roughly half a century ago during Japan’s Showa Period (1926-1989), the footage was released by the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo to nonprofit organization Joho Kokai Shimin Center, which made an information disclosure request to the department in 2015.

The silent, black-and-white footage shot on 16-millimeter film runs for nearly 36 minutes and was shown during a citizen ombudsman’s conference in western Japan on Saturday, depicts Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr descending their plane’s stairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The band members all wore happis – a traditional Japanese coat donned during festivals. 

Japan was one of the legendary English band’s major stops on their 1966 World Tour, where they performed five times from June 29 to July 3 in Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan – a sprawling indoor venue constructed to host judo competitions during the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Despite the initial fanfare upon their arrival and throughout their first and only tour of Japan, The Fab Four did not spend their days exploring the country. They were reportedly confined to their rooms at the Tokyo Hilton hotel under strict orders to remain there, which makes the clip of all four members out in the open all the more unique. 

“The film is stunning for Beatlemania around the world,” Beatles expert Toru Omura told The Asahi Shimbun. “It captures the public mood back then and is historically significant.”

Watch excerpts from the footage below:

Featured Image via Jeiki OKB

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