After the Beatles released the Rubber Soul album at the end of 1965, they recorded their follow up album Revolver, then embarked on a world tour in 1966. In making these two albums, the group recorded music that had become increasingly difficult to reproduce on stage.
The Asian leg of the tour began with controversy as right-wing Japanese nationalists protested at the staging of their concerts in Tokyo at the Nippon Budokan in June and July which was built for the staging of the martial arts, rather than musical performances.
The performances went ahead but there was heavy security to protect the group from both fans and protesters, meaning the group was forced to stay in their suite at the Tokyo Hilton, although Lennon escaped for a short time. NEMS staff photographer, Robert Whitaker, remembered: "Lennon snuck out using my name, on the basis, I think, that all white people probably looked the same to the Japanese. He got away with it for a while, but then somebody recognized him, and he was dragged back to the hotel”.
They were, in fact, the first rock act to play at the Budokan on July 2, 1966, with a follow-up show that took place the next day. Many in Japan were up in arms about the Fab Four staging a rock concert inside the venue, with opponents calling for the band to play instead, a nearby garbage dump. The show went off without a hitch, though alongside a massive security presence.