Students sit around a kotatsu at an intersection in Kyoto in February in this Twitter photo. Photo: @Minami5003

Police arrest graduate students for Kyoto intersection 'kotatsu' stunt


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I guess they were trying to prove Darwin's theory for their post graduate thesis.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Dangerous to drivers as well as themselves.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Give them a slap on the wrist for an innocent prank. Should've done it in the winter months though.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

February is considered winter in Japan, as is evidenced by the coats they are all wearing in the picture.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Dangerous, but kind of funny. I know if I was driving by it would have made me do a double take!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Losers. Sounds like a lame attempt at at getting famous on YouTube

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Silly prank. Don’t understand why everything requires law enforcement to be involved.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

I understand it was pretty stupid but going as far as getting arrested? 10 mins and they cooperated with the cops when told to move. A heavy fine seems more appropriate.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

It's (not entirely) funny what could get you arrested in Japan. Reminds me of that college student who got arrested back in Feb or early March 2011 for cheating on an entrance examination.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Seems to me to be a social media stunt.

If you look at the news in Spain a British tourist was severely beaten and even stabbed after he lay in the middle of the road blocking traffic pretending to be asleep. When the motorists realized it was a stunt and he was filming it, they flipped.

If their friends were filming it for Facebook, it’s obviously just a silly kid being just that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


Disrupting traffic (meaning you could get killed, kill another, or make someone cause an accident by your actions) is a punishable offense in most nations. Has nothing to do with Japan.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

A sit in that was a heated protest.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think this would have been very effective if it had been a protest of some sort. Let's wait and see what their motives were.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

C'mon. That's a good one! Should've taken it a step further... make it a full on living room scene... get a tv in there too!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Around the world it’s called tactical urbanism - DIY creative, and sometimes courageous, traffic-calming interventions, by citizens tired of waiting for governments to improve dangerous public spaces. Here, I imagine they are calling attention to a dangerous intersection - and good on them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Yes, what they did was stupid and irresponsible.

No, they don't deserve to be arrested. A fine would've been fine.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Looks like a protest in the usa from the 1960's. Looks dangerous but fun. Hope they had fun doing somethng different.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Considering it a "very dangerous action" which could have caused a serious accident, police have judged it as a violation of the road traffic law.

Yet they failed to get the names of everyone involved.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I understand it was pretty stupid but going as far as getting arrested? 10 mins and they cooperated with the cops when told to move. A heavy fine seems more appropriate.

Nah, paying money is too easy, they can jut ask mommy and daddy for it. The authorities need to send a strong message to these idiots that what they've done is dangerous and not creative at all.Better to Jail them for few days.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Why is this even news?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I remember about a hundred of us bringing the traffic to a halt in one of the anti-war protests, years back. Let the cynics grump, I say good on these kids, if the motive is sound.

2 ( +7 / -5 )


Stupid stunt by these guys but I have to say it made me laugh. Give them a good fine, slap on the wrist, and let them know if they do this again then the authorities will take the punishment to the next level.

Make the fine equal to the compensation for the labor costs involved for the cops time, court time, etc. and be done with it.

Wonder what they were cooking? Serving beer too?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Stupid stunt by these guys but I have to say it made me laugh.

If someone got into a fatal accident because of this, would you still be saying the same thing? Let's say people would find this cute and funny and then tries to top this stupidity by making "A better one" for example playing with flammable materials inside a shopping mall putting many people at risk just to be 'funny'. I don't have problem with people making stupid videos, it's their thing! But I am against these people who will risk other innocent people's lives just to pull out their non sense stunts.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The motivation for their stunt is unknown.

My guess is somewhere between being stupid and not having a job

a 31-year-old student at Kyoto University's graduate school

my point exactly

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Do you really need to arrest people for such silly prank? Then what, 15 police officers were involved in this perhaps?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Try to fish for likes on YOU TUBE?  Now these bums have all the time to do such in jail.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

While they were arrested, this does not necessarily mean they will spend any time in prison, likely they might have to pay a fine (for most offences under the Road Traffic law the penalties can be either prison or a fine and it would be unlikely for something like this to result in the former).

I would be interested in knowing the motivation. Some people commenters have speculated it was a social media stunt, but that seems unlikely - I just scoured Youtube in Japanese and all I could find were news reports basically saying the same information as the article. This happened 3 months ago so they obviously weren't social media people searching for likes.

My guess would be either what Yokoharamides said above - a form of urban protest against something (traffic, etc) - or perhaps some sort of art project. Or maybe just four friends who decided to do something off the wall without thinking through the consequences too well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

a form of urban protest against something (traffic, etc) - or perhaps some sort of art project.

Like I said, only people who are stupid and don't work could do this

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Why is this even news?Why is this even news?

Woops! My comment above was meant for the 'football scandal' story that has been choking the airwaves.

As for these poor kids - they broke the cardinal rule of Japan; you cannot have serendipitous fun! Someone who is not having fun in their life is bound to report you...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Like I said, only people who are stupid and don't work could do this

Except that someone intelligent who has a job could also do it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Like I said, only people who are stupid and don't work could do this

Evidently, such comments prove that some have never attended a demo or been on any sort of protest. People from all walks of life go on anti-war marches. Doctors, dentists, army veterans, priests, clerics, lawyers, nurses, builders, brickies, carpenters and yes, unemployed people as well. Old and young, black, brown, white, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, atheist.

Now, these young people may not be motivated in the way we and those before us were - marching against cuts to the NHS, against war, or for amnesty, for the hunger strikers, for abortion, for civil rights in Northern Ireland, against apartheid in SA etc - but let's wait and see.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The kotatsu must have been not hot but cold, without a wallplug nearby. Trawled the news sites but little indication of their true motives. Two were wearing hardhats, and they had a megaphone with them to shout out slogans, is as far as I got.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When this news was broadcast in February in Kyoto, the name of the university wasn't divulged at first, but I knew it was Kyoto University, ha.

Students are always doing stuff like that and more for demonstrations: Yoshida-ryo goings on, races up the Kamogawa river, I've seen them set up a band in the middle of the Kamogawa before.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Will those two be held in lockup for 10 days as the prosecutors need time to consider?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Notsure how this got in the news.

My guess is that this is art-related. Taking the humdrum everyday and putting it in an completely different scene.

Given the outraged responses here, it seems like they have hit the right spot.

However, it will probably turn out to be a YouTube stunt or the forfeit of a lost bet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many UNI students are often on a tight budget, so they were most probably just chowing down on a bit of roadkill.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So the students going to this Uni in Kyoto are really smart. Or Atama ie. But the performance lacks common sense. As it has come to light it was a performance of some kind. Let it slide. Slap on the wrist. Silly stuff.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I say give them a pee test... cause I think they were smoking some cannabis. Or at least got the idea to do it while stoned.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What I don't understand is why are they trying to figure out their identities now. If the police were there originally and they determined that the post graduates were in violation of traffic ordinances, why were they not detained and fined at that time? I don't understand this business of waiting several months to try and figure out what crimes they committed at such a late date. Do the police not know the law?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bet any money in the world that the cops waited this long to charge them because they were trying to get the names of the other two who were still unidentified, and the two they did catch were threatened with being charged unless they gave up the names of their cohorts.

They never gave them up, so the cops ran out of patience, and charged them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In many countries, protests are allowed to block roads - a heads up to police is nice though. If hundreds loudly marching for (insert belief here) can do so, why can't they quietly sit?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If this is banned, then ban protests that block any roads. #equality

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Except that someone intelligent who has a job could also do it.

yeah tons of employed smart 31 year old students out there

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

At the time, this was reported as a bit of a tradition on roads around the campus for students at that college. My guess is that this lot have stepped it up and done it on a main intersection, not on a side road as before.

Lots of universities and university clubs outside Japan have weird traditions and initiations. Look at what former UK PM David Cameron was accused of doing in his college days. This is a bit stupid to be doing on a main road, but is not worthy of lots of police time. A warning to the students and a quick word at the university to reign it in would suffice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sitting in the road can’t be more dangerous than cycling down one way streets the wrong way or going through red lights as a matter of course......can it???

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

For the Youtube? Stupid idiots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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