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Group of teenage Thai actors punished for dancing on Japanese train

82 Comments
By Scott WIlson

Anyone who has ridden the trains in Japan has probably had a very different experience from riding them in their home country. The trains I ride in Boston are loud, not the cleanest, and full of people talking and listening to music as if there’s not a hundred others around them. In Japan though, that doesn’t fly. Everyone is motionless, remains quiet, and mostly respectful of others.

One group of Thai teenage actors found that out the hard way. They filmed themselves doing the unspeakable act of dancing while on a train in Japan, and quickly found themselves on the receiving end of some harsh punishment from their production company when they got back home: being grounded for six months and banned for six months from all forms of social networking sites.

The group of Thai teenagers are all actors on the drama "Hormones," an extremely popular college TV series. It seems that they originally came to Japan to shoot scenes for the show, and during their time off went skiing and sightseeing in Hokkaido, all the while uploading pictures of their travels online.

That was all fine and dandy until some of the girls in the group started uploading pictures of themselves “abusing” sakura trees. Instead of using the sakura merely as a backdrop, the girls got all up in the sakura’s grill, pulling down the branches and flowers to get better shots. One of the images riled Japanese netizens.

The sakura incident could mostly be forgiven though, until the teenagers decided to – gasp – do an impromptu dance while riding a train. We could try to describe it for you, but instead just watch the video of the whole thing below.

As the faces of everyone around the dancing teens probably signaled, the Japanese people were not happy about this behavior.

After the video caused an uproar online, GTH, the company that produces the drama the kids all star in, released an official apology to not only Japan, but also the Thai people whose image was hurt by the teenagers’ actions.

The company who manages both GTH and the actors also released a statement saying that they will be producing a video to instruct Thai people who will be traveling to Japan on how they are expected to behave overseas. So far none of the teenagers involved have said anything on the matter, most likely due to the fact that they’re all banned from using social media.

Source: Hamusoku

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82 Comments
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Very ugly ...

-3 ( +6 / -10 )

It is not a good idea to awake Japanese people from their eternal slumber. Life should only be dreamed. But it's OK, everyone went back to sleep. Perhaps someone here is happy for that iron fist they have over in Thailand, that rules the land?

6 ( +16 / -9 )

I was once on the way to Oiso, and a semi-intoxicated oyaji was singing Frank Sinatra tunes, in English. He was doing a good job, but you could tell people were getting upset. I decided to enjoy it instead, and let him know.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

The article doesn't actually say who imposed the "punishment". Not Japanese authorities, I think. More likely the PR department of the TV series...

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Their punishment was really over the top for some fairly mild indiscretions. Just teenagers being a little obnoxious, no harm done. I think I would have snickered a bit and rolled my eyes if I'd seen this on the train.

At any rate, Japan definitely outdoes Thailand (or nearly anyone else) with this genre of programming. It certainly pales in comparison to the incidents of obnoxious behavior shown daily on Japanese variety show programming, particularly those where celebrities go overseas (or to the Japanese countryside) and irk the locals with aim of getting a few laughs and higher ratings back home. Among many such shows, one particular variety show where patronizing interviewers accost non-Japanese people as they arrive at Narita airport comes to mind here.

20 ( +21 / -2 )

God forbid people have some fun on the train.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Yuck!!

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

@Mizuame has a great point. Was this supposed "punishment' imposed by the Japanese authorities (police and courts)? If not, then this is pretty pathetic journalism, as it most certainly leads one to assume that is the case. The term "arrest", regardless of the type, is almost exclusively reserved for an action involving public authorities/officials.

If this was not an official punishment, then the article should explicitly state that this was a private punishment, akin to parents "grounding" their child.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

No, it was the production company, they've been grounded, not placed under house arrest.

JR should probably stop using them as a source.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So they weren't actually arrested? If that's the case, this is some pretty sloppy reporting.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

While I do think it was pretty bad dancing, who gives a damn?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I gave a damn when I thought they had actually been arrested. When I found out they just got in trouble from their management, I stopped caring.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No, it was the production company, they've been grounded, not placed under house arrest.

@Himajin

Certainly a very sensationalist headline, and sloppy reporting and fact checking. They were not arrested, nor placed 'under house arrest.' This was an internal punishment meted out by their production companies (GTH and Nadao Bangkok Company).

This was really more of a story in Thailand, where many people were apparently embarrassed by it. Very few people in Japan were bothered by it, or even aware of it.

Here is an opinion piece about it from the Bangkok Post: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/523335/when-in-japan-do-as-the-japanese-do

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Annoying and direspectful group of kids.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

"As the faces of everyone around the dancing teens probably signaled, the Japanese people were not happy about this behavior."

Is this how the management company is judging their "crime"? I've seen young Japanese guys misbehaving/ horsing around in stations, on trains and of course plenty of unruly drunks.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Seen many Foreigners do the same in person and on telly, guess they dot all off for not being famous. Ko

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

While not condoning bad public behaviour, I can't help but think this is NOTHING at all.

If some Japanese teenagers did an impromptu short dance in an uncrowded train or bent some sakura branches to take snapshots - would it be International News?

If the Thai people want to see another side of Japanese train etiquette witness the late night drunk "expresses" or wonder why there are women only carriages to avoid sexual harrassment. Or another twist on the "sacredness" of sakura, witness the alcohol fueled swim throughs with all their bawdy, noisy behaviour, that take place on blue tarps under the sacred trees.

None of the above behaviour is to be welcomed at any time, but the Thai kids acts seem way out of proportion to the attack on them.

1 ( +6 / -4 )

I see it this way: If the Japanese don't do it and don't like it, then take the cue and sit on the train and show a little respect for the culture and place you are travelling in. That's one of the most basic rules of travel anywhere. If you aren't able to do that, or object to the way people conduct themselves in public in Japan, travel somewhere where you can do whatever you want.

It's immature, disrespectful and designed to deliberately upset people.

Not cool.

3 ( +7 / -5 )

It's immature, disrespectful and designed to deliberately upset people.

I seriously doubt they were doing it to deliberately upset people.

3 ( +8 / -6 )

So they're in trouble with their bosses for making the brand look bad. I think they acted like... you know... teenagers. I'm guessing they have fans and social media followers and they were in high spirits being in Japan at sakura time and wanted to do a few fun things for the viewers back home. I hope they didn't tear up the cherry trees, but as far as annoying a few people on a train? They didn't grope anyone, they didn't force anyone to dance with them. They acted like kids on a train. Big deal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It's not what I would do but these young people are heartlessly enjoying themselves - they never hurt anyone.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If some Japanese teenagers did an impromptu short dance in an uncrowded train or bent some sakura branches to take snapshots - would it be International News?

Yes, if they were appearing in a TV program.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If the Japanese people could see what kids do on the trains here in Melbourne, Australia, they would have heart attacks. Dumping their school bags in the aisle so people have to climb over them; groups sitting on the floor in the aisles and doorways; doing back-flips while hanging off the poles or hand-holds; pole-dancing; singing; dancing; loud conversations on their phones and/or with each other.

I understand that these kids may have upset a few people, but turning this into an international incident is completely absurd.

People need to chill out.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There are some rules and you shouldn't bother others. But I don't know specific rules for dance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Young scallywags.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I only wish the(ahem!) government in N.Y.C. would get a grip on the non-stop amatuer acts on every rush hour train as for these kids, i'd rate them two and a half rotten apples!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Personally, I MUCH prefer these teenagers letting off a little steam then when I used to ride the trains - here in Japan - at night and see vomit all over the floor and drunks sprawled all over the seats... During the day, it was groping - which explains why I now only travel by car.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HowaitosanApr. 13, 2015 - 09:41AM JST If the Japanese people could see what kids do on the trains here in Melbourne, Australia, they would have heart attacks. Dumping their school bags in the aisle so people have to climb over them; groups sitting on the floor in the aisles and doorways

I'm just going to assume you're not on more rural local trains with high school students and baseball club members much. :p

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Idiotic kids. The real issue is the lack of self-discipline and awareness of others. Dancing itself is all fine and good, but on a crowded public train or bus isn't the place.

6 ( +7 / -2 )

Young people having fun - heaven forbid in Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

20 seconds long. Harmless.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Bad and disrespectful behavior.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This was really more of a story in Thailand, where many people were apparently embarrassed by it. Very few people in Japan were bothered by it, or even aware of it.

Oh really? Then why did Japanese netizens make a big stink about this, which caught the press's eye in Thailand?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

While it might be funny to them it smacks of disrespect for the local culture and they should be reprimanded whether by their own or by the Japanese. Those that say its kids having fun and not hurting anyone are right but also shows a lack of thought about others and their surroundings.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Is this another typical behavior of teens, "I'm-doing-something-that-others-don't-do-cuz-I'm-cool"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A bunch of annoying and disrespectful brats getting slapped down. Good! Should happen more often with how disrespectful the younger generations are becoming.

5 ( +4 / -0 )

PURE DOUBLE STANDARDS!

Everyday you on Japanese TV we see "talent" overseas active like fools and making the native people uncomfortable. Not so nice when the boots on the other foot, hypocrisy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This was an overreaction. Regardless of what they did. 6 months house arrest? Are you kidding me??!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've seen young Japanese couples make out in a semi-packed train. That was still aesthetic. But this is just lame teenager posing. Either do it properly or don't do it at all!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe because I live in the Kansai area where people are a lot more chilled but the cherry blossom thing is nothing. I have seen people countless times pull down a Sakura branch to take a picture. In fact, I went to a hanami over a week ago with 6 Japanese ladies in their 60s and all of our pictures has one of them pulling down a branch because it was too high to take a good picture. It is not like they were having branch fights.

The 20 seconds of dancing too was nothing too. The group Clean Bandit filmed their "Rather Be" video on a Tokyo train too without permission and that didn't exactly prevent them from selling out their concert in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, judging by these youngsters' "dancing" abilities, at least now we know that the "talents" of other Asian countries' are as talentless as their Japanese "tarento" counterparts!

The Beastie Boys famously first danced around like fools in Tokyo train stations for their "Intergalactic" music video decades ago. That video is now a "classic" for their fans, and part of the fun was seeing normal Japanese trying to compute what the B-Boys were doing...but nevertheless, even they received anonymous complaints from Japanese at the time much like those found above. I guess it all depends on who you talk to...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

God forbid people have some fun on the train.

No argument there

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese know exactly how Thai's government controls their people. If you do anything the King doesn't like you'll be punished.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think that they were punished for the horrible dancing. I've seen a seizing dog put on a better show. Likely, they are being trained right now. If MJ, rest in peace, manifested and started dancing in the metro, he'd have a backup troupe from the group giving the stink-eye in no time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It needs to be noted that these Thai young women did NOT get punished by Japanese authorities but by the own management back home. Yeah, some tight-bummed people on the train, and of course the netizens, got upset, but the headline kind of makes you think they were punished here, which makes it more sensational.

And this myth about ALL Japanese being polite and following some unspoken etiquette on the trains or with sakura needs to be stopped. While behaviour IS generally better on trains here than most places (depending on how you view good behaviour), there are always incidents of people ignoring the 'rules' -- especially during enkai seasons. Kids being kids? I'd much rather see that than drunk oyaji shouting at people.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I understand it may not be respectful to do act that way on the train, but my goodness it is not all that serious. Have a little fun Japanese society. Too much "proper" attitudes in trains.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Destroying the Sakura Tree was wrong. Shame on them.

Dancing and have a little fun on the train aint' no crime.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland

I seriously doubt they were doing it to deliberately upset people.

So, you are saying that they didn't realise that what they were doing would upset people?! You can't be that naive, surely?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I'm afraid I have had rather unpleasant experiences while riding the trains here in Japan. Personally, I MUCH prefer those teenagers letting off a little steam then when for example, at night one sees and smells vomit all over the floor as well as drunks sprawled all over the seats... During the day, if they aren't ogling the "gaijin" it's groping... I therefore avoid using the trains as much as possible.In the Paris Métro - they even have "music" with "homeless" people, playing accordions and singing in order to collect as much cash as they can from the passengers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

dancing "TEENAGERS" in the train I can tolerate.... puking Adults in the train, I can't!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

quickly found themselves on the receiving end of some harsh punishment from their production company when they got back home

In Thailand. This article criticizes Japan, which did nothing to these kids, and says nothing about the reaction in Thailand or the production company.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One day I was roaming around in Roppongi area very happy to be in Japan with my friends. At the JR station waiting for the train I shouted "I LOVE JAPAN". I didnot get arrested yet.. :D

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's immature, disrespectful and designed to deliberately upset people.

I seriously doubt they were doing it to deliberately upset people.

So, you are saying that they didn't realise that what they were doing would upset people?!

Um, that's not what you said. You said it was 'designed to deliberately upset people' - meaning that their goal was to upset people. Whether or not they realized that it would do so is a separate issue, the point in question is whether upsetting people was their intention.

And once again, I seriously doubt it. They look like they were just having some fun on the train. I've done similar on the train myself, and never with the intention of upsetting others. I did understand that some others may be upset, but those are usually stick-in-the-a$$ people, who are going to get upset at anyone else having fun.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I expected much worse. It wasn't too bad though certainly not in line with Japanese behavior. Maybe a slap on the wrist and a stern warning would have sufficed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I expected to hear blaring music to go along with the dancing, but that was not the case. Had they been drinking and what time of the day was it? Agreed it is unacceptable, but I certainly have seen a lot more embarrassing things on trains. The opinion posted above in a Bangkok newspaper shows those who were involved were very apologetic. I am reminded of past Halloween runs on the Yamanote Line when foreigners celebrated (and Japanese) Halloween on the train. Wonder if that practice still goes on? I was more surprised reading about the cherry blossom trees and what went on. But then again, I wonder if alcohol led into that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't these foreigners realize that during Sakura season they're supposed to vomit on the trains, not dance? And they should never pull a branch down for a better picture; that's sacrilegious; they're supposed to get stupid drunk, sing karaoke loudly off-key, rip off their clothes, and throw up. Much more respectful. Sheesh, foreigners.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Strangerland

I'm still comfortable with my original assertion.

I did understand that some others may be upset, but those are usually stick-in-the-a$$ people, who are going to get upset at anyone else having fun.

Rubbish. You've been in Japan long enough to know exactly why the Japanese don't like this kind of behaviour, and exactly why it would have upset them. And that's most of them, as you well know, not just the Nanna brigade. If your sense of fun comes at the expense of other's sensibilities, well.....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm still comfortable with my original assertion.

So you think these kids colluded, and said "lets annoy some people on the train. I know how we can do it, lets dance."?

Yeah, I seriously doubt that was their intention in the matter.

You've been in Japan long enough to know exactly why the Japanese don't like this kind of behaviour, and exactly why it would have upset them.

1) Sure I have. These kids were visitors to the country.

2) If someone is going to get their panties in a bunch because I'm having some fun with some friends in a non-obnoxious manner, that's their problem.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

2) If someone is going to get their panties in a bunch because I'm having some fun with some friends in a non-obnoxious manner, that's their problem.

And you'll be the arbiter of what is, and isn't obnoxious, right? Yeah, good on ya.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"some of the girls in the group started uploading pictures of themselves “abusing” sakura trees. Instead of using the sakura merely as a backdrop, the girls got all up in the sakura’s grill, pulling down the branches and flowers to get better shots."

That's not good.

"the teenagers decided to – gasp – do an impromptu dance while riding a train."

I watched the video. Good grief, cackling Japanese schoolgirls are more irritating than this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangerland goesnt understand japanese train ettiquette, plus they werent dancing but being fools on the train, passengers felt uncomfortable for good reason. Was that dancing? nope.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

And you'll be the arbiter of what is, and isn't obnoxious, right? Yeah, good on ya.

LOL Exactly.

Anyway, this just shows ignorance of the social norms of behavior in Japan, particularly in public. Basically they're just being idiots from Thailand. Kind of like the Chinese tourists who go overseas and wreak havoc with their lack of manners, e.g. loud and unruly, leaving trash, defecating on the street, etc. At least their management reprimanded them for their stupidity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Regarding the sakura incident, I saw a group of (evidently Japanese) schoolgirls in a park a couple of Saturdays ago violently shaking some sakura branches just so they could get some falling petals in their photo.

I've also seen on occasion older women walking around with broken-off sakura branches in their hands.

Compared to that, what these Thai girls did wasn't bad.

The train thing deserves some punishment though (not 'criminal' punishment, sanctions from their management company are enough in my opinion). I don't think cultural/social norms even comes into it, unless dancing like idiots is a common sight on trains in Thailand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Man what a nightmare, you can try to shame people who want a quiet respectful environment on public transportation all you want but a group of babies playing music and having a massive gigglefest is extremely obnoxious. This whole "god forbid anybody have fun" thing is absurd have some common sense and respect for others especially in a foreign country

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is no need to "punish". This isn't a big deal.

But sorry, trains are the place we have 10 minutes nap here in Japan. Next time, please try a lullaby and we'd be very happy.

Or, just speak English! That's gonna make us sleep very well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What?! They were punished for that?! They were just "clowning"!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thats pretty stupid but someone should've spoke up and told them to shut and stop bothering everyone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Much ado about nothing. I've seen school kids do plenty of shenanigans like this on the trains here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Right on Mocheake!

Such small mindedness.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OMG, someone having fun? Stop the madness!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Dancing"

Uhm. OK. If you say so....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they wanted to dance, go dance in a place made for dancing. Plus there is a difference between teenagers and STUPID teenagers (aka these idiots). If they wanted to screw around and cause a disturbance on a train, and then get punished for it, too bad, serves them right. I've been on a train with a bunch of noisy idiots and guess what happened? The train was stopped and police kindly escorted them out. And I live in Australia. Message? Don't cause disturbances on public transport, ANYWHERE in the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I seriously doubt they were doing it to deliberately upset people.

I'd agree with you right up to the spot where the videographer made a point of filming the disapproving looks of the other passengers. At that spot in the film it became obvious that was the look they were aiming for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A little stupid behavior from teens is to be expected.

I can't wait until the Olympics. A lot of Japanese commuters are going to be very (silently and passively) upset with all of the "rude" gaijin on their precious trains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Group of teenage Thai actors punished for dancing on Japanese train

Good! Feel sorry for the folks that had to have their time interrupted by people who think folks want to be entertained while on a train ride.

Another reason to continue ridding Green of just taking a taxi....

Can't stand these kind of self-centered wanabe Youtube superstars, wish they kept their attempts at stardom in the privacy of their own homes. Almost as bad as the annoying NY subway dancers.

harsh punishment from their production company when they got back home: being grounded for six months and banned for six months from all forms of social networking sites.

Good to see that the Thai government has shamed these fools.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Disrespectful? Yes.

Typical self-centered behaviour for a bunch of teenagers? Yes.

Worthy of punishment? ...not ususally, but since they are actors that other kids look up to and were in Japan on business, I think punishment issued by their employers is completely reasonable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably too little too late but those who didn't like the teenagers dancing should whatch how they do it in Paris... http://mobile2.lematin.ch/articles/30666456

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sacred Sakura Trees? While I agree nature (not just sakura trees) should be treated with respect and not damaged there are government & city officials here that also disrespect nature.

Near my previous apartment in Saitama (not far from the Saitama Prefecture offices there was a beautiful walkway with sakura trees - but one day in March I came home and they will all cut down -- by the city of Saitama! I was told there was a "drainage" ditch under the walkway they needed to repair and the trees had to come down for the crane to fit. I was surprised the neighbours just said "showanai".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Harmless? Maybe. Actors are sometimes demonstrative and prone to attention seeking. A word however in regard to our Japanese friends. Certainly these kids are being reprimanded because the are Thai.

One occasion comes to mind of Japanese misbehavior. Once in Shirahama, a very pleasant soak at the Oceanside onsen, a tiny Japanese boy, with encouragement from adults, crept to shout directly in my face. Eyes closed and with a sudden start the family broke into laughter enjoying the rude startlement they created.

The lesson is easy enough to understand. People make errors and sometimes enjoy the little troubles they create. That may be a playfulness or mischievousness, but there was no cause for over reaction, obviously sputtering at them in English wouldn't have made any difference. They had their fun and startling the solo gaijin was too good to miss.

Maybe just a thought, these young people were out of line certainly as representatives of Thailand but YouTube is full of similar antics. Thailand seems a very severe place but it isn't as if Japanese are paragons of propriety although very nearly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ha, and they're just giggling away.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see at some point JT changed the title from 'house arrest' to 'punished'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are trains sacred? Certainly seems so when a bunch of happy teenagers having a little fun by spontaneously dancing causes this much trouble? I fear for this world when expressing joy and dancing are suddenly treated as crimes.

This particular gaijin would have greatly enjoyed watching the much younger than I folks dancing away. Would have brought a little joy to my day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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