Photo: Pakutaso

Masked stranger in Tokyo secretly takes down someone else’s Christmas lights, puts them away

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The evening of January 1 is a pretty quiet, laid-back time in Japan. Most people do their New Year’s shrine/temple visits either at the stroke of midnight as the new year begins or by the afternoon of New Year’s Day, so after the sun goes down, the majority of the country is relaxing over a leisurely dinner, either in their own home or at a relative’s house.

And yet, at around 9:30 p.m. on January 1, one person was out for a walk, alone, in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward, where they stopped to do something very strange. The person, with their face obscured by a knit cap and mask, walked up the empty driveway of an Edogawa house and stood staring at the for door for a minute, before turning around and walking back to the start of the driveway, where the home’s owner had hung a string of festive blinking Christmas lights on the shrubs in their planter. Then things got really weird, as shown in this security video.

After spending two minutes looking at the twinkling Christmas decorations, the masked person began pulling the string of lights off of the plants, and for a moment, everything seems to add up. Standing in front of the door for a minute without being noticed suggests that no one is home, or at least watching what’s going on in the driveway, and so maybe the masked person, after being enchanted by how pretty the Christmas lights are, is planning to steal them, right?

Except apparently the masked stranger wasn’t looking at the lights with a feeling of childlike wonder, but aggravated annoyance. Once all the lights are off the tree, the stranger pulls the cord out of its power socket to kill the lights, wraps up the cord, and puts it in a box that the home’s owner had lying by the planter. With that accomplished, the stranger walks away, leaving the lights behind.

In other words, this wasn’t a theft, but a walk-by clean-up. “I’d been thinking that I need to put away my Christmas lights soon,” says the home’s owner. “So in that sense, I’m thankful to them for doing it for me, but it’s creepy to have someone you don’t know do this kind of thing…I guess they appointed themselves the Christmas light police, and this is their way of saying ‘The time for Christmas cheer is over.’”

YouTube commenters have reacted to the video with:

“Even if the owner had caught the person in the act, they’d probably just say something like ‘All I did was clean up for you.’”

“It’s like a battle between a lazy homeowner and a New Year’s busybody.”

“There will always be self-righteous people in this world who decide you need them to do something for you even though you didn’t ask them to.”

“They didn’t cause any damage, but I’d be worried that someone who did this is checking to see if the people who live in the house are out of town, and might come back to rob the place later.”

“Maybe this’ll be the start of a new folk tale, and 1,000 years from now people in Japan will tell stories about the ‘Christmas light clean-up yokai spirit.’”

Going with the homeowner’s theory that the reason for the unauthorized clean-up was someone who was upset about her still having her Christmas decorations up, January 1 might seem pretty soon to get bent out of shape about it. However, in Japan the peak of Christmas celebrations and events is Christmas Eve, and by December 25 itself Christmas is already gone from most people’s thoughts. Meanwhile, Japan has a number of traditional New Year’s decorations, such as special pine and bamboo cuttings, that are placed outside the home, thus making Christmas and New Year’s feel more separated than the combined late-December holiday season in some other countries.

On the other hand, Christmas lights are simply called “illumination” in Japanese, with no specific mention of Christmas, and it’s not unusual for cities and shopping centers to leave their lights up for most of the winter simply because they look pretty, especially if they don’t feature any specific Christmas imagery like Santa or reindeer. For one reason or another, though, the masked stranger in the video decided that January 1 was past time for them to come down.

Source: YouTube/ANNNewsCH, Tele Asa News via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Living Christmas tree starts “Uber Illumination” service from Tokyo

-- Japanese women in survey reveal surprisingly low hurdle men have to clear to get a Christmas date

-- Cheapo News: This may be Japan’s cheapest (and saddest) Christmas dinner deal for singles

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment


-2 ( +5 / -7 )


6 ( +11 / -5 )

Traditionally, Christmas decorations should be removed by the 12th night, i.e. Jan 6.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Appears it’s a “National” news story as the only “Crime” could have been some unwelcomed ‘trespassing and possibly a violation of SSome local ‘nuisance’ ordinance. Doesn’t seem the owner wants to prosecute.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don’t know what’s creepier: the masked figure in the video or, … the photographer’s friend’s attempt at ‘swagger’ ? - The accompanying ANN news video of the home security footage of a masked person was enough.

(Really, what’s with the choice and quality of photos lately? He’s not even masked.)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

news please

4 ( +6 / -2 )

While the intent might have been good, it's still trespassing. Maybe the people wanted to keep the lights up and the joy going for a bit longer. Can I walk up to someone's front door now and take down their straw festoons or what have you?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Its not likely in Japan, but Christmas is a religious celebration that do not actually end with the new year. For Catholics for example the decorations remain in place until next Sunday by tradition.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

He was doing the house owner a huge favor. Isaiah 6:12 states " Those who deck their residence with baubles and tinsel after the 12th day are doomed to spend eternity in hell with lots of teeth gnashing."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So what is the point of this article? not unusual for people to take down others Christmas decoration or even vandalize it. Sick minds do sick things, that is all to it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These people have never come face-to-face with the "Home Owners Association"!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I still have my Christmas lights up outside(taking them down this weekend). If anyone tried that with me I’d be extremely angry about it.

The ability to choose the date on which you take your lights down is a sacred right that nobody else can mess with.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why not enjoying it, while it is still used and allowed? Don’t let yourself take away all enjoyments and reduce your life to 24 hours of working and sleeping. That’s a trend you shouldn’t follow for your physical and mental health’s sake. In a few years they’ll forbid it all anyway for reasons like corona, energy wasting, climate considerations etc. Look how they already treat your smoking or outside drinking habits , also after work, or all personal fireworks and other cultural habits as well as celebrations into the New Year, all those and more already heavy under fire in many countries, started even long before corona. And of course, as wanderlust-san above already has commented, any decorations / illuminations connected to Christmas celebrations are usually removed latest by Jan 6th. Maybe that is still not so widespread known among Japanese people, although they usually already now replace most of it even more quickly by Japanese new year celebration decorations around Dec 25 to 27th.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There’s an ‘unofficial’ one-man “HOA” in the neighborhood here @Numan 8:14pm. (Walks up & down telling others how to shovel and where to pile snow. He’s even up in the pre-dawn re-shoveling if it not to his satisfaction. Of course, he insures none of the piles accumulate near his center home on the street.)

Perhaps the masked man in the video thinks HE is it in that neighborhood’s “HOA” ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Maybe this person could be redirected to remove Christmas decorations that appear before December?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Person probably got bored and wanted to do something for the new year. We all have that moment when we just stand still for a moment and suddenly got in to mood to do something weird. He probably saw the box and the idea came to his mind to put the lights away for the owner. Sometimes our body just respond to certain things.

I once went shopping and saw some item that wasn't suppose on a certain shelf but instead should be in a different area, so out of habit i spend a few minute taking those items back to their original place. Don't know why, but i just wanted to do it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Masks??? Stranger?? Are we not all masks due to China virus? I feel covid has enabled and increased the crime rate from hiding behind a mask.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And this makes the National “News”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Christmas decorations come down on Twelfth Night, not before, not after, not at a convenient weekend.

We took down our decorations today, so that’s the official end of Christmas, Tomorrow we’ll have our nanatsugusa-gayu (rice porridge with seven traditional herbs) and that will be the official end of Oshogatsu.

Nowt of any interest left in winter. Haru yo koi!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As with that other classic work, 'The Joy of Sex', 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' should always be consensual.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MK ultra in Japan..?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites