Police block off Shibuya's scramble crossing on Saturday night. Photo: KAMASAMI KONG
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Halloween revelry subdued in Japan due to pandemic

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So many dressed up as police. How boring.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about. Hallowed E'en, regardless of how you spell or interpret it, has nothing to do with Japanese culture. Japanese culture just continues to play 'catch-up' when it comes to cultures beyond their understanding. Commercialize it. That's all the consumer society of Japan has been taught (innoculated???) to understand. Herd mentality at its worst. Cultural suicide at its best?

I've spent almost a year in Japan, in the past ten years, with several years without a visit. My stays are long, by any standard. And I make it a point to make friends.

But I do not say this from an egoist viewpoint, relative to this story,..

"Halloween revelry subdued in Japan due to pandemic..." said the headline.

That is such a joke, and a bad one, when considering the kids, and the cultures, from which this fun night originated. And their numbers far exceed those featured in this story who propagate nothing but commercialism over respect. But...

-24 ( +12 / -36 )

Better this way!

Sorry perverts, no girls in uniforms this year. zannen.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

So, police were preventing egress in a public place? Under what law ?

Surely, their actions are unconstitutional?

-16 ( +10 / -26 )

I literally can't tell if some of those people are cosplaying or in just their regular clothes.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@trevorpeace

everything western here is commercialised.

christmas, Valentine’s Day, hallowe’en, - they have no idea of the real meaning of these but celebrate them anyway, all for the sake of the mighty dollar ( or ¥en)

they've even started advertising Easter, so I'm sure Easter eggs will be coming soon to a konbini near you

17 ( +23 / -6 )

Young people in Japan are as such looking for pleasure while in Thailand and Hong Kong the same generation youngsters are serious thinking about the future of their countries.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Some people are stupid to think it's safe now.. it's not safe yet and they don't do social distancing. Shibuya was crowded during the day and I imagined if some people still wanted to celebrate this year's Halloween. Of course, people between 20-30 y/o...

There is no such meaning for Japanese people to celebrate Halloween.

So don't cry if you will be tested positive for coronavirus..

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Just a bit of harmless fun, it's refreshing that not everyone in Japan is protesting about something everyday!

2 ( +14 / -12 )

everything western here is commercialised.

christmas, Valentine’s Day, hallowe’en, - they have no idea of the real meaning of these but celebrate them anyway, all for the sake of the mighty dollar ( or ¥en)

People are happily spending their money. Businesses are happily making money. This is good, right?

1 ( +11 / -10 )

@bo...

Just a bit of harmless fun, it's refreshing that not everyone in Japan is protesting about something everyday!

Not yet but they are definitely heading that way! The day isn’t that far away when some Japanese will start doing all sorts of protests and violence on the street!

@vanityofvanities

Young people in Japan are as such...

The older generation are shaking their heads with the attitude and behavior of the young generation in Japan. The older generation worked hard and gave all their sweat and blood to rebuild Japan to a beautiful country ( both physically and economically ) after the world war but unfortunately this young generation will destroy it !

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

@trevorpeace

like it isn’t commercialized in the US? Lol.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

I was looking at a live stream from Dotonbori last night. Really crowded, almost like the old days pre-Covid. A few anime characters, a few maids, a few furry outfits. Not much if any social distancing. But - probably 98% of people were wearing masks.

I look at a lot of live streams from Japan (I'm Japan-deprived these days). Same story everywhere - Tokyo, Osaka, Kanazawa, Takayama, Shingu down in Wakayama, mountain onsens, camping grounds. 95% plus of people are wearing masks. That's the difference between Japan, and some other Asian countries like Taiwan, and the West. People in Japan will wear masks without being ordered to. Western countries should take note. Masks aren't some kind of Halloween magic, but they really, really help to avoid (or avoid passing on) infection.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

There is no such meaning for Japanese people to celebrate Halloween.

I do not dress up and celebrate Halloween. However, I do not berate others who are doing it. Is it wrong for people to just have some harmless fun?

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Halloween in Japan is a complete commercial exploitation started by Dentsu and other businesses that wanted to make money off the gullible public by selling them stupid costumes. It should better fade away.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

There is no such meaning for Japanese people to celebrate Halloween.

Japan has many autumn harvest festivals, including the Horai Matsuri in Kanazawa, wherein participants dress up in the costumes of spirits and other supernatural characters.

Whether in the west or the temperate regions of Asia, these celebrations mark the transition from the hot-light season to the cold-dark season and the bounty of the harvest. Hence, Halloween's popularity in Japan.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Better this way!

Sorry perverts, no girls in uniforms this year. zannen

Not a pervert and although it didn't compare to past years, I saw plenty of young women and school girls in short skirts and uniforms in Shibuya last night. Quite refreshing!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

So don't cry if you will be tested positive for coronavirus..

Let me rephrase: "So don't cry if you get positive for coronavirus."

You very likely won't be tested.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Last night was the biggest crowds I’ve seen since da Corona Virus!

Was fun.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Meanwhile, there is a three-night festival going on at the nearby Meiji Shrine involving lanterns and such, and yet that is going ahead. Crowds of old folk all ignoring social distancing rules, but no lines of police, and no tut-tutting from the media.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about. Hallowed E'en, regardless of how you spell or interpret it, has nothing to do with Japanese culture. Japanese culture just continues to play 'catch-up' when it comes to cultures beyond their understanding. Commercialize it. That's all the consumer society of Japan has been taught (innoculated???) to understand. Herd mentality at its worst. Cultural suicide at its best?

Halloween and Trick-or-Treating only came to North America around the 1920's and 1930's. Why were we allowed to start a new cultural tradition just 90 years ago and the Japanese aren't today?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about. Hallowed E'en, regardless of how you spell or interpret it, has nothing to do with Japanese culture. Japanese culture just continues to play 'catch-up' when it comes to cultures beyond their understanding. Commercialize it. That's all the consumer society of Japan has been taught (innoculated???) to understand. Herd mentality at its worst. Cultural suicide at its best?

Seriously? Have you never seen how heavily commercialized Halloween is in the countries it comes from? It makes Halloween in Japan appear quaint and subdued in comparison.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Welcome to MARTIAL LAW POLICE STATE

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

I like that picture COVID-19 is a ...... people are finally starting to wake-up

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about. 

Just like Christians have no idea about Christmas either. So what?

It's Halloween JAPANESE style! They manage, quite well actually, to adapt other countries events and culture and make it all their own!

THANK the Gods Japan DOESNT copy everything exactly!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

I live in the countryside and the most exciting thing is watching the rice grow. I am jealous of city folk who have the opportunity to dress up and go out and meet strangers and party.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Back in the 90s in Osaka the only Halloween "events" would be kids eikaiwa themed lessons, gaijin bar parties and a loop line crawl for foreigners and their Japanese friends sometimes angered the locals and resulted in them (the locals) becoming hostile. On more than one occasion I and some acquaintances were told

"This is Japan, there is no Halloween" or "Respect Japan, Respect the emperor, get out of Japan"

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Halloween in Japan is a complete commercial exploitation started by Dentsu and other businesses that wanted to make money off the gullible public by selling them stupid costumes. It should better fade away.

No, actually the way Halloween got it's roots here is because of English education in elementary schools.

Kids had "Halloween Parties" and got dressed up in simple "kids" costumes and their English teachers gave them "Trick or Treat" candy.

These "kids" are now adults, and they have cash, and cosplay fits into the Japanese culture perfectly.

Advertising came along a hell of a lot later, just like all the other "events", like Christmas, and Valentines!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Ahhh always nice to see commenters here using the Tu Quoque - Ad Hominem as an argument when someone brings up a comment about Japanese cultural appropriation. It is of course, it is logical fallacy but hey who is catching it right? No one said the appropriation was good or bad. Perhaps there is no need to get defensive?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I like that picture COVID-19 is a ...... people are finally starting to wake-up

Yeah right, tell that to the over 1,000,000 who have died from it! Folks like you only say crap like this until THEY catch it or they are responsible for giving it to a loved one who then dies!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Glad to see the government taking action and not allowing these unnecessary gatherings.

For the person holding a “covid 19 is a lie” sign:

Go ahead and volunteer to go help at a hospital, of course without wearing mask or gloves or any type of protection.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I love the "Covid is a lie" sign and the one about masks behind it.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

ust like Christians have no idea about Christmas either. So what?

It's Halloween JAPANESE style! They manage, quite well actually, to adapt other countries events and culture and make it all their own!

THANK the Gods Japan DOESNT copy everything exactly!

......And to all this I say by japan copying in order to make their own culture is quite sad. This is just helping to lead to the demise and downfall of this country's own history / culture. It's no wonder that young Japanese don't know or are losing interest....

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@Jim

You're right about the older generation having worked so hard to raise Japan from the ashes of WW2.

I lived and worked in Japan for almost 20 years between 1978 and 1998. It was a great time for Japan. Probably its best. It will never be like that again.

With a steadily declining birth rate and a growing elderly population, Japan will need to outsource its jobs, come to the realization that immigration will be necessary to sustain its work force, become less insular and figure out how it will pay its growing 60 and over population benefits so necessary to their survival.

On the other hand, the younger generation really needs to start thinking seriously about their future or risk severe consequences.

It's true that the Japanese people are intensely focused on commercialism and are over materlistic. Is it not enough that they have hundreds of their own festivals occurring throughout Japan every year and yet they still feel the need to literally copy our holidays as well.

And yes, with the pandemic raging on and other countries around the world limiting large gatherings and celebrations, you would think that the Japanese would consider being more mindful of the situation. In my opinion, however, the younger generation is selfish and only has their own self interests at heart.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It’s a bit of fun why all the negative comments and debates about commercialism ?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Back in the 90s in Osaka the only Halloween "events" would be kids eikaiwa themed lessons, gaijin bar parties and a loop line crawl for foreigners and their Japanese friends sometimes angered the locals and resulted in them (the locals) becoming hostile. On more than one occasion I and some acquaintances were told 

"This is Japan, there is no Halloween" or "Respect Japan, Respect the emperor, get out of Japan"

the loop line parties were a yearly embarrassment to the foreign community and Japanese commuters had every reason to hate the loud, drunken bores who subjected them to that ass-hattery.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And to all this I say by japan copying in order to make their own culture is quite sad. This is just helping to lead to the demise and downfall of this country's own history / culture. It's no wonder that young Japanese don't know or are losing interest....

Young Japanese celebrating Halloween the Japanese style leads to the demise and downfall of Japan's own history / culture. It is just a festival which people cosplay and eat candy. You are really worrying too much.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

What do you all mean "they commercialize it in Japan"?

WTAF do you think we do in the west?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The real meaning of Halloween is lost on many and the Japanese authorities the most!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'd like to think that a lot of us long-term residents / Hallowe'eners,

had something to do with it catching on like it has.

It's a wonderful event, a chance to enjoy a magically fun night,

and this year, in a slightly different way!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about. Hallowed E'en, regardless of how you spell or interpret it, has nothing to do with Japanese culture. Japanese culture just continues to play 'catch-up' when it comes to cultures beyond their understanding.

Only said by someone who thinks that Christians invent "Hallow's Eve" and dont know the actual Celtic origins of the festival which goes back centuries!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not sure how COVID is a lie. It's real, it exists.

Is that the political party of Masayuki Hiratsuka? Dude should be in jail. Irresponsible and ill-informed fool.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

.And to all this I say by japan copying in order to make their own culture is quite sad. 

No sadder than seeing "westerners", typically American's, in general, bastardizing Japanese culture without knowing their own!

Oh wait, Merica' doesnt have any "culture" so they dont count! (Folks that is SARCASM!)

You over think things too much! Thankfully these young Japanese can let their hair down and have some fun!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

maybe I am old but I do not see the merit in dressing like a fruitcake and annoying other people....

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

If you see the numerous photos on Twitter from Shibuya last night, it looks nothing like 'subdued'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hopefully this time next year, things will have improved.

The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about.

To be fair, whether they do or don't, our hosts know how to dress up and have fun.

Halloween comes from the ancient Irish festival of Samhain, when the barriers between this world and the "spirit" world opened and the denizens of the latter were abroad in our world. Then there were the big feasts, where the bounty of the season's harvest was shared. And it was turnips that were eventually used as the "jack o lanterns".

The pumpkin was a later addition, when Samhain became Americanized and the name changed to Halloween, via All Hallow's Eve. Irish immigrants brought their traditions to the new world and eventually, like St Patrick's Day celebrations, it went global.

Belated happy Halloween to you all!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The pumpkin was a later addition, when Samhain became Americanized and the name changed to Halloween, via All Hallow's Eve.

The origins go way back to around 700A.D. when the popes of the day were looking to increase converts to Christianity and bastadized Samhain which eventually became the church holy days of all souls day (Oct 31st) and all saints day (Nov 1)

Halloween came along a hell of a lot later, and became bastardized when it got to America, and further bastardized!

I find it funny to read comments here about Japanese not "knowing" Halloween and what not, when the very people writing those comments dont know it either. Rather hypocritical I believe! But in today's world, being a hypocrite seems to be a compliment rather than something derogatory!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I find it funny to read comments here about Japanese not "knowing" Halloween and what not, when the very people writing those comments dont know it either. Rather hypocritical I believe! But in today's world, being a hypocrite seems to be a compliment rather than something derogatory!

Aye.

It rankles, on occasion, but am usually too jaded these days to correct them. I'll leave it to future pedants ;-)

The great thing is, ignorant of origins or not, people can get together and let their hair down. Well, within reason, given the times we live in!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

maybe I am old but I do not see the merit in dressing like a fruitcake and annoying other people....

Old people dress up too. Be it this festival, or St Patrick's or Pride. I've not noticed people being annoyed, nor have I witnessed anyone dressed as "fruitcakes".

I'm sure there's room for foodstuff costumes, though. Why not?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A fruitcake or two!

How about my favorite Japanese fruit?

A persimmon costume...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

everything western here is commercialised.

Agreed! But it's understandable as it's not part of their culture, it's just something they got from other countries via media or through language schools and wanted to have here as well. I'm not a very religious Christian, so I find it funny, not offensive (just like I think it's funny when aspects of Japanese culture are slightly distorted when depicted elsewhere - I'm also a Japanese descendant and don't feel offended by that). Of course that are exceptions and some people might do something that is disrespectful to either culture.

I always find amusing when my Japanese coworkers are surprised that cake and chicken are not Christmas traditional dishes

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When I first came to Japan in the mid-1980s, the only reference to Halloween in Tokyo that I saw were the group of foreigners on the Yamanote line. In those days, it was known as "Kabochasai," or Pumpkin Festival. Then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, parades started to be held in places like Kawasaki and Omotesando. Nothing at Shibuya

But it really wasn't until about 2010 that it exploded in popularity, thanks to social media. Halloween merged with cosplay which was a natural synergy. Then Shibuya became Halloween Central.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The pumpkin was a later addition

It all went south with pumpkins. Scooping out a turnip was hard work, and they looked much scarier. (Although my mum would probably have preferred pumpkins if she had the chance. Far less hand and spoon damage.)

Halloween comes from the ancient Irish festival of Samhain,

It seems it was celebrated in all Celtic areas, not just by Gaels. It was called Calan Gaeaf in Wales.

Anyway, here's my annual link to Robert Burns' Halloween poem. (No mention of pumpkins or turnips, but plenty of boys and girls behaving badly, as it should be.)

https://poets.org/poem/halloween

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“The Japanese don't know what Hallowe'en is all about.”

Just like Christians have no idea about Christmas either. So what?

So what you’re saying is that Christians don’t know they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December?! And because we’re all just ignorants, it’s completely fine for the Japanese to commercialize Halloween, Christmas, Easter and so on ( they can do whatever they want btw ). The thing is, you forgot you’re talking about people that wear crosses just because they think it looks good and stylish. And if they don’t know the meaning of December 25 ( easy one ), surely they can’t know the meaning of Holy Friday and Easter Sunday ( for them Easter is all about chocolate eggs ). Sure, let people have fun, have a good time, celebrate whatever they want the way they want but... it’s quite interesting and even funny don’t you think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Twenty-five down votes? That's great! Shows the pathetic attitudes of those who can't take the truth. I hope you all got the scare of your lives, last night.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

for them Easter is all about chocolate eggs

As it should be. Ēostre was a Germanic goddess associated with hares and eggs. Christians should perhaps be criticized for trying to take over such ancient celebrations and attaching their own weird concepts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So what you’re saying is that Christians don’t know they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December?! 

No it's all them Christians who think that Jesus was born on December 25th! (And no he wasnt! but that's not the point, the point is the hypocrisy of people stating that Japanese dont know "Halloween" and what it's all about. They dont know about their own, but they point fingers at the Japanese. So what? Japanese are very inclusive of many foreign events and cultural things and do it THEIR way. They have a ways to go on the diversity side regarding people, but they do events quite well!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Twenty-five down votes? That's great! Shows the pathetic attitudes of those who can't take the truth. I hope you all got the scare of your lives, last night.

Why do you care? Don't be so naïve to think everyone, everywhere, has to agree with you! That's literally childish! And calling people who voted YOU down pathetic, is pathetic itself!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Readers, that's enough bickering. It's simply a story about Halloween in Japan, nothing more.

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