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Shibuya braces for more Halloween chaos after wild weekend

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By Yuka Nakao

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Garbage such as discarded costumes and glass from broken bottles could be seen all over the area.

Walking through Shibuya at around 6 a.m. on any morning is shocker. A disgusting, putrid mess, with garbage strewn everywhere and the sidewalks slimy with discarded food and drink. Dont forget to hold your nose! The ravens are out in force, taking over from the rats during the predawn hours.

That's what happens when plastic bags instead of hard containers are used to hold garbage, and sidewalk public litter bins are nearly non-existent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Halloween has become the 2nd biggest event in Japan after Christmas. It blew by Valentines Day in no time flat.

Halloween fits here in Japan, but the problem is people have no central location to go to like they do if there was a festival at some park or temple.

Here in Okinawa, thankfully, people congregate at the American Village in Mihama, which holds a party, contests, and what not.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Just be courteous and there will be no issues.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

At the bottom is Japanese likes "matsuri." It looks the same with traditional Japanese festivals where youngsters get rowdy.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

" outrageous outfits and ghoulish get-ups" good line

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I always thought it a bit of a shame that Japan assimilated this part of American culture so readily

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Was out at USJ yesterday. Halloween is full on now.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

But they need to get that trick or treat thing down. In Hachioji, the kids spend most of the time walking to predetermined shops, then waiting in line in hopes of getting one piece of candy or other small treat. One place I observed directly was handing out tiny cubes of what looked like pound cake that they had hand cut, but there was a long line around the corner. If I waited in a long line and then got to the front and realized that's what I was waiting for it I'd have been pissed. And my granddaughter complained that at some places they waited in line, got to the front, and the treats had run out. So they had waited for nothing.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I was saddened to read about the Pre-Halloween activities that occurred in Shibuya. Traditional Japanese Culture & Society would not tolerate this uncivilized behavior. Engaging in activities that deprive others of their right to responsibly enjoy their life and the destruction of private property is inexcusable in any society. Whether such activities occur in the United States, Japan or any other country in the 21st Century, these activities need to be curbed by the society as a whole. The law enforcement community can only reasonably be expected to successfully do so much to enforce the existing laws and protect the general public from the actions of a minority whose behavior is disrespectful.

Thank you so very much.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

But I thought the Japanese always cleaned up their own garbage at after events. Or is that only for foreign consumption?

16 ( +24 / -8 )

I’m not a big fan of the commercialism of Halloween and will be staying well clear of Shibuya this week. However, I must say, having 100,000 young revelers in the streets with only small amounts of violence and crime is commendable. Such large gatherings of youth usually results in riots and looting in other countries.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Hmmmm..... this is a tough one. Many companies are profiting off of Halloween in Japan and those companies advertise so will the press play this up or play it down. I think they'll try to play it down for now and continue to try to figure out how to prevent any large problems. A lot of people are really enjoying Halloween and I think it is perfect for a Culturally Repressed Japan.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I agree 100% with Do The Hustle.

I still think best place for a real Halloween festival is Tokyo Disney. But too crowded!

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Watching the news, why would you try to drive through that crowd? Getting his mini truck tipped over is preferable to squashing someone. Shouldn't traffic be stopped for this one night at least. If that is the biggest news from this then it's a resounding success. Many people had a great time and were obviously relaxed, nice to see.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Halloween celebrations in Japan have become famous around the world

Something of an exaggeration

9 ( +13 / -4 )

It looks like a lot of fun with some great costumes.

Okay, some people go too far, but they are a tiny minority. From what I've seen first hand, the Japanese police are pretty good at dealing with drunks.

As JeffLee says, most entertainment districts (hankagai) are a mess on every Sunday morning. It's not just Halloween.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

We call it “bakamono bunks.”

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Disgusting. Fortunately, in Italy we didn't embrace this garbage completely.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Mindless destruction and a complete lack of respect for the private property of others. Unfortunate this crass part of American "culture" has entered Japan. 

In 1950...facilities were built for U.S. military personnel after World War II....Foreign customers who lived in the area began asking about how they could get their hands on Halloween items.

Halloween: A useless contribution from U.S. military occupation.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Utorsa destruction and lack of respect for private property are not part of Amercian cilture as you put it. Peopke doing things like that should be hadled appropriately by law enforcement. But as I saw in the news last night they were content to let the revelers be unless sonething really serious was happening.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

So, some cars were damaged in Shibuya over the weekend - what did these drivers expect, dangerously forcing their way through masses of people enjoying themselves? 

I knew better than to attempt to ride my bike through the crowds - why would they think it acceptable to drive a two ton mass of steel through? 

Seems they just got what they deserved for their arrogance and aberrant behavior.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The same young people will all get a wonderful chance to dress up in the same navy suit with their hair in the same style, in an attempt to crush every ounce of individuality they have. The successful ones will then get the chance to wear pretty much the same thing for most of the near future. They may even be forced to drink alcohol with people they don't like, possibly every week. Perhaps once a year, we can let them have some fun.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I wonder what happened, I do remember around 4 years ago Halloween just blew up out of nowhere, before that it kind of existed and most Japanese people were aware of it as some American holiday and a thing that the English teachers would promote and a few nightclubs would hold costume events or a parade in Kawasaki or Roppongi. Now it seems like everywhere has a Halloween event, Halloween products are all over the place, and Shibuya is now a huge party. It's like one year Japan just decided that Halloween would be a major thing here, the companies wanting to sell products I can understand but why did all of the people just join in all of a sudden?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Madden

 why did all of the people just join in all of a sudden?

I imagine that the increased popularity of cosplay at about that time has a lot to do with it.
1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have a guess that since the time of the feudalistic Edo period (1603-1868), Japanese rulers overlooked disorderly conducts in "matsuri" intentionally. They might have thought it was convenient for them the citizens exploded their frustrations of daily life in matsuri.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Some of Japan's real goblins come out on Halloween.

Halloween in US cities are much more well behaved and under control.

It's a total mess, dirty and not Japanese image.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Michael Jackson:

I always thought it a bit of a shame that Japan assimilated this part of American culture so readily

They pick and choose. Christianity, for example, has been tried for many centuries without much success. The second amendment, right to posses guns, is another example that has been failed here. And so on.

Japanese people simply love Halloween. Even before Halloween, Cosplay has been popular here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosplay

In the Japanese traditional arts like Noh and Kagura, you see their love for masked performances.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noh

It's a part of Japanese lives:

https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/traditional-japanese-masks-and-what-theyre-used-for/

Halloween found its home in Japan.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Shock Horror   Young kids had a bit of fun and got a bit rowdy.   This article is full of silly statements.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Just close the scramble crossing to vehicular traffic during Halloween and let the partiers take over the streets and have fun for one night, like they used to in Ginza every Sundays. Put out a bunch of trash cans, too.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Speed, “Put out a bunch of trash cans, too.”

Apparently they did that according to the article.

“Other than setting up temporary waste collection centers, the committee will install boxes where people can discard their costumes and other unwanted items.”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Halloween: A useless contribution from U.S. military occupation.

Wow, you don't know just how far off you are here! I have been living here for quite a long time, and Halloween has just recently, as in the past 4 or 5 years, exploded into what it is now here in Japan.

It has NOTHING to do with the US military occupation, as the young adults today participating in Halloween weren't even born yet. You CAN however thank or otherwise, the English education brought into the Elementary schools for what it has become.

The kids who started learning English in ES school are adults now, with money to spend, and spend they do on costumes and what not for Halloween. THey learned about it in ES, had parties, carved pumpkins, got dressed up and loved it! Now it's just on a bigger scale.

Halloween fits here in Japan, as many people here love the cosplay and what's Halloween all about anyway, but getting dressed up and having a great time!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"five people had been arrested on charges of groping, camera voyeurism, fighting and destruction of property"

So the vast majority didn't get caught.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Trying to spot a girl in that first photo is like a Where's Wally picture.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Speed Just close the scramble crossing to vehicular traffic during Halloween and let the partiers take over the streets.

Agree - this was the problem last year - as thousands of people exited the station they were crammed up against those at the intersection waiting for the signal to change a very dangerous situation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Only arresting five is too few.There were more than that disturbing the peace.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There was a gaijin-led Halloween party on one train on the Osaka Loop line in the 1990s. The Yamanote line used to have one too, possibly the original, I couldn't tell you. I also couldn't tell you if what we have now expanded from there, especially since it would only be a couple of hundred people on the same train. All I want to say is that there were parties with people in costumes in a public place quite some time ago.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Originally Halloween was started by some western foreigners in Japan about 10 years ago or so

No, as kohakuebisu has mentioned, they were doing the yamanote halloween train and the Osaka loop line more than 20 years ago. Halloween has gotten much bigger over the past couple of decades, but it's been around in Japan a lot longer than 10 years. My first Halloween party in Japan was in '96 or '97.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Halloween: A useless contribution from U.S. military occupation.

Useless? No.

Contributed by US military occupation? Also no.

Did you study history in school?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

......and they think they can handle the 2020 Olympics?

Only arresting five is too few.There were more than that disturbing the peace.

Maybe that's all they could actually catch?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

 “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Osaragi Wilde

A window into the chaos and angst that bubbles just below the surface of what can be a fairly repressive culture.

Shibuya! Naughty naughty,,

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Been here for 20 years and Halloween has been around for most of those years.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I love how it talks about the "Long history of Hallowe'en having started way back in the 1970's" with... you guessed it, commercial sales of Hallowe'en paraphernalia. There's definitely no way it started with any kind of actual history. I mean, yesterday, when I bought "Hallowe'en eggs" at the local supermarket, since there were no other eggs, I asked the staff what was "Hallowe'en" about them. Were they candy inside? Did a demon chicken lay them? The staff pointed to the label and said, "It says Hallowe'en and has a cute picture" (and is ten yen higher than normal for it). Indeed.

"On Sunday, police said five people had been arrested on charges of groping, camera voyeurism, fighting and destruction of property"

So, any other day, in other words.

Yubaru: Hallowe'en has also passed Christmas in terms of being commercial and sales of goods.

In any case, this kind of crazy party downtown is not what Hallowe'en is about, and is not representative of Hallowe'en. Hallowe'en's being used as an excuse for people to go wild.

Belrick: "Been here for 20 years and Halloween has been around for most of those years."

Been here longer and I can say that it has not. There have been parties at foreign pubs, for sure, and there was the rather insane Osaka Loop-ling party, which ended 19 years ago, but that's it. Kiddy-Land did indeed sell a few token costumes (black cat ears, witch's hat, maid outfit, Hard Gay costume a few years later), but beyond that you were hard pressed to find any decorations or knowledge of the holiday at all outside of perhaps Disneyland. USJ helped push it a lot in the early 2000s.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Michael Jackson: "I always thought it a bit of a shame that Japan assimilated this part of American culture so readily"

I think it says a lot that you think Hallowe'en is "American culture", when it dates back more than 2000 years to the Celts in Europe. About the only North American part of the whole thing is the big orange pumpkin (prior to witch they used turnips in Ireland and Scotland), and its spread through commercialism.

Schopenhauer: "I have a guess that since the time of the feudalistic Edo period (1603-1868), Japanese rulers overlooked disorderly conducts in "matsuri" intentionally."

So, that's twice so far you've looked far too deeply into why they have this party happens and people go wild. What part of it is unique Japanese behaviour related to the Edo period? going nuts at festivals? Then why don't they do so at every other? Police and people overlooking what happens? No, police don't do anything when they think they can't handle it, or they'd stop the black trucks for violating noise decibal laws and creating a public nuisance, or going after the yakuza. There's nothing unique about anything going on, and certainly no deep rooted cultural reason for the behaviour on other side, save people trying to pin any bad behaviour on it being an adopted Western 'holiday' and suggesting certain crimes never seem to happen in day-to-day life to the extent they happened over the weekend, which is nonsense.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In just 2 more days, the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Number one on the required viewing list for Halloween. It's never Halloween without watching this.

Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f94ryQGLa7E

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What part of it is unique Japanese behaviour related to the Edo period? going nuts at festivals?

Nothing unique in this at all. A few thugs who hide behind the crowd so that they can get away with disorderly behaviour.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I cant agree with these " let them have their fun" postings. Climbing on and jumping on someones car or otherwise violating private property or peoples sense of safety is not on. Its the wimps way of stress relief and its pathetic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Where to start?

arrests for camera voyeurism, groping? A very Japanese problem, hence women only cars on some rush hour trains.

The dumb twats that decided to try to take a truck through the midst got what they deserved.

love that the usual right wing trolls want to blame it on the American occupation.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Is it really necessary to celebrate Halloween?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In Spain, that's what we call "el botellon". Party

and alcohol. Especially a lot of unbridled alcohol. And the worst thing is, it

can't be stopped. Unless the police close all the streets and squares so that

people don't concentrate. These drunken parties can last until 8:00 a.m. And

the consequences are the multiple ethyl comas of 13, 14 and 15 year olds.

All these parties are produced by any excuse. Halloween,

Christmas, New Year, Easter, Summer Solstice, Valentine's Day etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Halloween: A useless contribution from U.S. military occupation.

I fail to see the connection between the United States governing Japan for a few years (which ended many years ago), and a simpleton jumping off a car to the obvious delight of other simpletons of whom seem to be enjoying watching this. I think that there is a strong possibility that these people are mostly Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In spite of some of the small amount of bad behavior, most people are there to have fun like myself. Here is short video that I made for fun. https://youtu.be/utjNOx3zhok

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let’s make next year even more wilder and crazy! Boys be boys! Gals be gals!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SerranoOct. 29 05:14 pm JST

In just 2 more days, the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch!

-1( +1 / -2 )

Serrano

Oct. 29 05:17 pm JST

Number one on the required viewing list for Halloween. It's never Halloween without watching this.

Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f94ryQGLa7E

With a bag of toys for all good children!

There's a person in a panda suit playing an acoustic guitar. A busker. How sweet!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

keep kids away for sure I made the mistake of taking ours there last year and barely escaped the tsunami of people

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I always thought it a bit of a shame that Japan assimilated this part of American culture so readily"

Totally agree....mindless generation, true zombies that catch on to all kinds of junk things (twitter, FB, instagram, halloween, valentines and what not). Hello Japan, it is not your festival or anyone's other than marketing folks, go celebrate your own festivals and have some pride.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Speed

Just close the scramble crossing to vehicular traffic during Halloween and let the partiers take over the streets and have fun for one night, like they used to in Ginza every Sundays. Put out a bunch of trash cans, too.

I love Halloween parties and I understand the demand to hold it somewhere, but Shibuya is not a private place, it's public . Everything was fine before, but now they messed up so bad and it's not gonna be the same anymore. Stop compromising the public for it. Try to consider the residents and business owners around who will lose profits and forced to closed down for a day or two because young milennials and clubbers want to party ? These party goers aren't really going to the shops and because it's congested and chaotic, consumers will avoid the area and buy things they need somewhere else. They have to do this in somewhere private , maybe Yoyogi Park? But closing Shibuya so milennials and tourists can rave for free is not a good justification. They close GINZA so it can give convenience to shoppers which will benefit the business owners. This solution is only in favor of party people , it's like giving spoiled brat kids what they want. Do it in a club, Yoyogi park or Tokyo Dome is the best solution, Win Win for everyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do the hustle

I’m not a big fan of the commercialism of Halloween and will be staying well clear of Shibuya this week. However, I must say, having 100,000 young revelers in the streets with only small amounts of violence and crime is commendable. Such large gatherings of youth usually results in riots and looting in other countries.

I passed the area that night and I've seen the videos, there were fights, groping and some people were arrested too. Some properties were broken including a truck that turned upside down for no reason.  I don't think these are small amounts though. It's not a comparrison contest , one damage is more than enough. Let's stop being a Japan apologist for a while and fix this problem and admit that Japan  is not heaven , it isn't perfect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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