Photo/IllutrationA ticket-holder undergoes a facial-scanning system at the entrance of a concert. (Provided by Tapirs)

A trend among concert organizers in Japan to scan the faces of fans at live venues to discourage ticket scalping has finally been adopted for a show by long-running idol group Arashi, whose tickets are like gold dust.

Tickets for Arashi concerts, which originally cost less than 10,000 yen ($93), regularly fetch hundreds of thousands of yen on the thriving online resale market.

Johnny & Associates, the management company behind some of the most popular boy groups such as Arashi and SMAP, has announced it will introduce facial-scanning technology for Arashi's “Japonism Show” concert tour for the first time for one of its artists.

Applicants for tickets must submit their mug shot via e-mail along with their application form. The facial-recognition technology installed at the entrance of concert venues does the rest.

Tickets to concerts of the wildly popular five-member group are regarded as the “most difficult to obtain” by its fans. Only the group’s fan club members are eligible to apply for a ticket, and they still need to win a fiercely competitive lottery.

Ardent fans of the group thus attain multiple fan club memberships using names of their family members and friends in an attempt to beat the odds.

For those who are not fan club members or lose in the draw, the only chance to enter concerts is to buy tickets from online resellers, such as the popular Ticket Camp website, which resell tickets for concerts, musicals, sports and other events.

Arashi's nationwide arena tour will kick off at Sundome Fukui in the central prefecture of Fukui on April 23.

While Johnny & Associates stipulates on each ticket of its artists that entry is only for those who originally obtained them, it used to be technically difficult to confirm everyone's identity at the entrance gate to concerts that often draw several tens of thousands of fans.

The management agency's move has drawn a mixed reaction from fans.

“I'm happy because the new rule will discourage ghost fan club members who use other people’s identities from entering the ticket lottery,” said a 16-year-old high school student from Tochigi Prefecture.

Meanwhile, a female fan in her 40s expressed her regret because it will deprive people who desperately want to see the band, even at a high cost, of an opportunity to ever see the group.

Other fans also voiced concerns that they may not be able to sell their tickets when they suddenly become unable to attend a concert.

The new rule aims to allow only people who obtained tickets through an official route to enter the shows, said a Johnny & Associates spokesperson.

The technology to scan ticket-holders at concert venues has already been used at shows of other popular performers such as Momoiro Clover Z, B’z and Mr. Children since 2014.

NEC Corp., the developer of the face-scanning system used for concerts, said that the false recognition rate was only “three out of 1,000” during the system’s developmental phase about six years ago and has since improved further.

(This article was written by Keiko Sato and Takuro Chiba.)