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crime

Tokyo rapper arrested for tagging Yamanote Line while drunk

20 Comments
By SoraNews24

It’s often said that the four pillars of hip hop culture are rap, DJing, break dance, and graffiti, the last of which is easily the most controversial, challenging concepts of public space, freedom of expression, and the very nature of what defines “art.”

It’s only something like graffiti where one practitioner gets their work photographed with the governor of Tokyo while another goes to jail. And then we have the curious case of Masashi Sawada.

Witnesses saw Sawada tagging a train door of a Yamanote Line train car at about 2 a.m. on March 25 and notified police. Later on, more markings were found on the walls of Ikebukuro Station and security cameras confirmed he was the one who made them. The cost of cleaning the train door alone is said to be roughly 80,000 yen.

The 42-year-old was said to have been on the way home from watching a concert and was intoxicated while writing on the surfaces with yellow spray paint. Some reports also interestingly refer to him as a “self-proclaimed rapper” which seems like a bit of an unnecessary dig at the guy.

▼ News report of the arrest which calls Sawada a “self-proclaimed rapper”

The label certainly didn’t elicit any sympathy from the public either according to online comments such as the following:

“He looks more like PaRappa the Rapper.”

“42 years old…What are you doing?”

“He just carries spray paint everywhere he goes?”

“Why does it cost 80,000 yen to clean a door?”

“Sounds like he was rapped in the head a few times.”

“Who takes spray paint to a live show?”

“It’s hard being a teenager when you’re 42.”

Just to clarify, Sawada is indeed a rapper who performs under the names J Columbus and Lil’ Mercy.

He's also a vocalist for the hardcore band Payback Boys.

While it’s fair to note that Sawada is a very active musician and not just some guy calling himself a rapper, that still doesn’t excuse the matter at hand. In fact, any conceivable defense that he was attempting to exercise his freedom of artistic expression was pretty much obliterated by Sawada himself.

Upon his arrest, the musician reportedly told police, “I think I was drunk, so I can’t remember back then, and I don’t know what I did.” His lawyer would likely have a hard time digging out of that hole.

Source: NTV News, My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Although I went to the Banksy exhibition recently (favorite artist) and apart from the cheap alcohol available 24hrs everywhere, one of the best things of living in Japan is relatively little graffiti. Hate that crap all over everything.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

“Lil Mercy” is the rap name of Japan’s criminal justice system, which Sawada will learn about shortly

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Why does it cost 80,000 yen to clean a door

Well, it probably only costs a few hundred yen to buy the thinner needed to remove the paint and maybe 1,000 or 2,000 to have someone actually do the work. The rest of the money goes for the countless supervisors who will show up to make sure the the work gets done properly .

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Graffiti was so common in my neighborhood back in the early years of hip-hop that damn near everything got tagged: Trains, buses, storefronts, the facades of buildings, paddleball courts, schools and even cars! I had friends who used to get up in the early hours just to go up to the train yards in northern NYC to do up the cars before they went in for daily service. I called them stupid and so is this guy. Throw the book at him to send a serious message to any others who may be entertaining such thoughts. Graffiti is a serious eyesore for the most part. Go tag your own property.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Disgusting piece of filth, as are all graffiti vandals.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Totally worth the 80,000 to get his videos hosted internationally, a few negative comments, but now a lot more people know about him.

Well played.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

42 years old? Far, far to old for this type of rubbish. If he was carrying a spray can, no doubt he has been bombing all over the city. Police should look out for his tags and make him clean them all!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

That J. Columbus joint was half decent, but it was hard to take it seriously with him wearing a towel on his head the whole time.

But what a genius……tagging a yellow wall with yellow spray.

You’re 42 years old brutha, maybe get married, have a kid and stay home instead of loitering at 2 am with some finger paint.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Make him drink the paint.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Has to be the worst graffiti artist ever.

What a loser.

No respect for other people's property.

This isn't USA.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  12:50 pm JST

Has to be the worst graffiti artist ever.

What a loser.

No respect for other people's property.

This isn't USA.

Pretty sure it's illegal to write on public property in the US too.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The online comments make the whole article, people reading news can have a lot of insight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I live in the North East of Tokyo 23 wards in what many say is the lower income shitamachi part of Tokyo.

I regularly have to drive to the west side to client's places in areas like Setagaya-ku and I always get a little surprised by how the graffiti increases as I head in the more affluent areas of Tokyo.

My wife's theory is that in the east side people are to busy working, the younger people need to work because their parents aren't rich so no time to go buy paint and spray things.

But these ticket zones the youth have too much time on their hands and too much of Daddy's money!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Well, it probably only costs a few hundred yen to buy the thinner needed to remove the paint and maybe 1,000 or 2,000 to have someone actually do the work. The rest of the money goes for the countless supervisors who will show up to make sure the the work gets done properly .

Exactly. Just who is the bigger criminal? Who is causing more damage to society...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the youth have too much time on their hands and too much of Daddy's money!

Japan is one of the few places where a 42 year old is still described as a "youth"!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Jackass

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It’s often said that the four pillars of hip hop culture are rap, DJing, break dance, and graffiti.

Really? I always thought they were: drug use, gun violence, misogyny, and bad ‘poetry’.

TT

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Give him a tooth brush and some cutting compound, and a bucket of water and make him clean it off in his own time untill its completely cleaned off the door, then fine him, then make him pay compo to the train co for having that carradge out of service, with lost revenue! that will make him think about vandalising peoples property,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Letsberealistic

Really ?

So you want to be realistic but your only "pretty sure" its illeagal to write on private property in the USA?

So realistically the truth is you don't know ?

Thats called lets be unrealistic.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Hip hop culture from the USA ?

In Japan ?

You have to admit it's the last place on earth that anyone would expect hip hop culture to be popular or even understood.

If you call retarded mumbling and incessant stuttering by a Japanese man hip hop rap then it's not rap !

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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