Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in the United States on Monday afternoon in what is the first state visit by a Japanese leader since Shinzo Abe in 2015. Ahead of Thursday’s trilateral summit with the American President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Kishida will meet with Biden at the White House for a joint press conference on Wednesday afternoon (US time), before attending a banquet there alongside some Japanese celebrities. According to government sources, the popular music unit Yoasobi (stylized in all caps) are among those to have been invited to the White House state dinner.  

Dave Spector

TV Commentator Surprised by Yoasobi’s White House Invitation  

Japanese TV commentator Dave Spector was surprised by the decision to invite the duo to the banquet. “I think Yoasobi are great,” he wrote on X. “But honestly, I don’t understand the point of having them meet Biden. Sorry, there’s no punch line.” It might just be down to timing. Yoasobi, most well-known for their monster hit “Idol,” are playing at the Coachella Music Festival in California this weekend. They will then hold their first headline shows in the US, beginning in Los Angeles next Thursday. That will be followed by a gig in San Francisco on April 21. They are also set to perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August.   

Prior to all that is a sit-down meal hosted by the US president and his wife, Jill Biden. Also scheduled to perform at the dinner is Paul Simon, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time and one of the First Lady’s favorite musicians. According to Reuters, Wednesday’s menu features house-cured salmon with avocados and red grapefruit and dry-aged rib eye steak. For dessert there’s then a salted caramel pistachio cake with matcha ganache and cherry ice cream. The aim of the banquet is to highlight the friendly relationship between Japan and the United States. Kishida is expected to present his hosts with some Wajima lacquerware from Noto Peninsula. Several studios of the traditional handicraft were damaged following the earthquake on New Year’s Day. 

Yoasobi New Year's Eve performance

Yoasobi: A J-Pop Phenomenon  

A Japanese music duo consisting of vocaloid producer Ayase and vocalist Ikura, Yoasobi burst onto the scene in 2019 with their debut single “Yoru ni Kakeru,” which became the first song here to surpass 1 billion streams. They began with the slogan of “novel into music,” with the idea of releasing songs based on selected short stories. The pair now also draw inspiration from other sources, including manga, letters and plays. They’ve had several major hits, including “Gunjo” and “Kaibutsu,” however, it’s the Oshi no Ko opening theme, “Idol” that brought them international fame, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Global 200. It spent a record 22 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Japan Hot 100.

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