A billboard in Hachiko Square urges people not to come to Shibuya during the Halloween period from Oct 27-31. Photo: Sabria Meghraoui
national

Tokyo's Shibuya braces for Halloween crowd despite calls to stay away

62 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

62 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

About 300 security guards are expected to be deployed from Saturday night through Tuesday, around a 50 percent increase from last year, in addition to around 150 ward officials who will patrol and enforce no-drinking and no-smoking ordinances in the area.

Versus an expected crowd of 60,000? Ya'll really have zero idea of how to deal with crowd control.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

I am referring to actually planning the event Yubaru.

Is your logical plan to ban Halloween forever then? Downtown Osaka is gunna be transformed on the Halloween weekends, I’m glad I live here.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Japan is turning into a no fun country for its young people

-7 ( +28 / -35 )

We are all looking forward to how this will play out.

Secondly, I love that pumpkin integrated into the kanji.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Ask businesses to limit sales on a huge marketing chance to earn repeat business by openly rebuying politicians. I wasn’t planning to go until I heard it was so big and the energy must be great. Blame the foreigners part was especially offensive as I believe 90% plus are going to be Japanese. During the World Cup many years ago shibhuya was the place to be. The crowds were amazing. Can’t wait for the weekend.

-3 ( +19 / -22 )

A billboard in Hachiko Square urges people not to come to Shibuya during the Halloween period from Oct 27-31.

The signage has been annoying and obtrusive and features stilted and awkward English that I am sure will get posted on SNS by visitors to the embarrassment of Shibuya.

Too cheap to pay for copywriting or ChatGPT 4 subscription Shibuya gov with all the taxes collected? Or to properly administer and mass celebration?

It looks cheap, petty and stingy.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Plenty of bars, pubs and izakaya to drink it up and party. There's really no need to be partying and drinking on the streets - unless you are being really cheap.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Among the measures being taken to dissuade partygoers, a drinking ban on streets around Shibuya Station will take effect from Friday evening through the early hours of Nov 1, with over 30 stores in the area asked to cease alcohol sales on Saturday and during the evening of Halloween.

Dumb, ill thought out. Nothing stopping folks getting pre loaded elsewhere first or bringing booze in from another area of town.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

JST

Japan is turning into a no fun country for its young peopl

I agree

Also, people will just converge to other places like Shinjuku. Overcrowding those places.

The rest of Tokyo should brace up.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Maybe move it to Gifu City. They had 460000 people attend a Takuya Kimura costume parade last November (technically still during covid) and only three ladies were injured.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/11/3befcb07c659-japan-festival-featuring-superstar-draws-huge-crowd-security-tight.html

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Mayor Ken Hasebe is a foolish fearmonger, unable or unwilling to carry out his duties in office.

To spend taxpayers money on billboards essentially frightening off business, putting every obstacle in the path for local shops, hospitality, street food, to at the very least claw back customers, foot traffic, revelers from the ravages of a pandemic is a failure in office.

It is a question of smart organization, utilizing all the years of experience from dedicated police and local authorities.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

instead, give people a larger open venue to congregate? They won’t be able to keep people out of Shibuya, the cats been out of the bag on that. But you might be able to quell some of the crowd by giving them an alternative

Also The incident in Seoul was tragic but Japan being scared it could happen to them is a bit overblown. Shibuya is significantly wider than that one street. There are places is could definitely happen but unlikely given that the vast majority is at the station and disperses as it gets late. The past craziness was more on the city for not realizing how many people were gathering and morons who never leave there house thinking Halloween is “go crazy time “ and not just have fun

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It's time to watch alone! Rather than selecting common horror ghost movies, this time select the haunting films that will haunt you for life.

1964 Onibaba

1988 Spoorloos

1999 The Moonlight Whispers

2003 Acacia

2008 The Most Beautiful Night in the World

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

People will go regardless.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

all I can say is this, they may not converge in Shibuya, they can still converge in other open areas. All it takes is for enough people to gather and the festive mood is already set. Just saying, damming up Shibuya will just make them relocate elsewhere. Let the people have fun once in a while. Japan is an overly sterile and dry country already, let them live.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

To be honest if it weren't for the large foreign turnout this would not be an issue. But just look at the annual Akasaka Hikawa Matsuri held in mid September or the Sanja Matsuri festival in Asakusa with drunk yakuza full body tatoos in full display and nearly two million people per event visiting during the three-day event and not a single word by the local government about all the shenanigans happening there!

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Japan is turning into a no fun country for its young people

I agree.

As Japan ages it is becoming more and more conservative.

Take a look around when you are out and about and you will see what an unhappy place Japan has become.

No wonder the population is in free fall.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Maybe I'm showing my age but being in a crowded area so full of people is something I would actively avoid. It sounds like hell. There is something special about attending a concert or a sports event with a huge number of people, and I can even understand festivals with the food and music and spectacle. The attraction of standing in a very busy area of people without any particular focal point has no appeal whatsoever.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Yes ! Halloween can be a dangerous time in any country. Because it is associated with death some people get crazy ideas. In Canada parents warn their children not to eat the candy they are given. Not long ago a crazy household wrapped a pebble in candy paper among others. A child thinking it was a hard candy cracked his teeth on it. And of course never forget what happened in South Korea not so long ago. Not only during Halloween but at events where many thousands enter a stadium!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Why not turn it into an event at somewhere like Yoyogi park? If they can do it for fireworks festivals they can do it for this. Time for Japan to come out of the dark ages with this no fun policy. This is a huge money making opportunity! Get with the program!

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

To be honest if it weren't for the large foreign turnout this would not be an issue. But just look at the annual Akasaka Hikawa Matsuri held in mid September or the Sanja Matsuri festival in Asakusa with drunk yakuza full body tatoos in full display and nearly two million people per event visiting during the three-day event and not a single word by the local government about all the shenanigans happening there!

Ah yes, but those guys paid the protection money for their events.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"300 security guards and 150 wards officials" will be enforcing the no drinking/no smoking rules.

So they aren't police officers? Then they can go pound sand.

When a security guard approaches me on a public way and tells me I can't do something, that's where I tell him something that starts with "F" and ends with "off".

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The mayor is correct in being cautious, a huge influx of people, that have been more and more uncontrolled, and with the extra boost of being the first year after stopping restrictions? That is a disaster in the making.

Shibuya had to make a decision between spend a huge lot of resources to control the people into safety (with the risk of this not being enough) or cancel the celebration and disuade people from coming by all available means (with the risk again of this not being enough and people participating anyway).

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Stay away, remember what happened in Seoul last year.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Shibuya is unbearable most of the year anyways.

It's one of the very few parts of Tokyo where is totally acceptable to yell, shout, sing out lout (alone lol), take up space with your silly youtube lives, place is a zoo full of noisy, obnoxious people.

You'd be turning heads if you shout something in the middle of the street anywhere in Tokyo, but crazy people like that are just part of Shibuya's landscape.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Instead of spending money on "no halloween in shibuya" billboards which was probably outsourced to some fancy design firm owned by a relative, you could have spent that money to direct people to a more appropriate avenue. Maybe even start earning money on it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

virusrexToday 10:08 am JST

The mayor is correct in being cautious, a huge influx of people, that have been more and more uncontrolled, and with the extra boost of being the first year after stopping restrictions? That is a disaster in the making.

Shibuya had to make a decision between spend a huge lot of resources to control the people into safety (with the risk of this not being enough) or cancel the celebration and disuade people from coming by all available means (with the risk again of this not being enough and people participating anyway).

Sorry to disagree but have you ever been to any popular annual matsuri, perhaps the Akasaka Hikawa Matsuri held in mid September or the Sanja Matsuri festival in Asakusa? Seems the local governments do manage!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I can't understand why they don't just make a festival of it. Organize it and make it a fun annual event instead of trying to prevent it.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Sorry to disagree but have you ever been to any popular annual matsuri, perhaps the Akasaka Hikawa Matsuri held in mid September or the Sanja Matsuri festival in Asakusa? Seems the local governments do manage!

Not by ignoring the risks and pretending nothing bad can ever happen, every place where huge multitudes congregate makes the choice between ensuring safety or doing their best to stop the event from happening. According to the article the crow in Shibuya has been already out of control before and it is projected to be even more if the event is held this year. That is not something that happens in other actual festivals being held so it seems understandable the mayor of Shibuya no longer considers the benefits from the event worth the investments and the risks. The pedestrian crush in Akashi is an example of how this types of events can get out of control and have fatal victims even in Japan, much more in an event like the Halloween party, that has no official organizer that is supposed to take care of the securty.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Oh no, what will the Peter Pans and their female sidekicks do without parading round like high school teens back in the US?

Growing up helps dudes. Maybe it's time to leave Japan especially as so many of you are filming yourselves on twitch and youtube hanging around drinking convenience store alcohol and making comments about young J girls that you could never make back home. I guess that's why you're in Japan because you couldn't possibly work in a normal working culture in your home countries.

Let me guess - the same dudes crying over Shibuya getting tired of their teenage antics over a custom that's not even theirs but was commercialized by Uncle Sam in modern times are those middle aged twitch dudes who are hanging out with younger generation losers doing spicy chicken challenges, drinking buckets of alcohol and then crying that city hall is charging em too much tax.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Lighten up, Francis.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I could not imagine a worse place to be than a Halloween drunk fest. This has nothing to do with Halloween but is just an excuse for the over consumption of alcohol, and once that has happened the people taking part do not give a dam about the consequences. I can understand the mayors point of view, he has to consider the whole towns population not just a few thousand drunks rampaging through the streets.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They should just block vehicle traffic in the area around the station for 12 hours that night and make into a pedestrian Halloween wonderland.

Lots of money to be made for the businesses, safe for everyone w/ ample space, and a lot of fun.

Just organize it like you do for the hundreds of matsuris here in Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Will be interesting to see how that plan works out.... there is the "Streisand effect" after all

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Came down hard on what I saw as an incapable and unimaginative ‘anti fun tzar’ mayor a few weeks ago, until I listened to him talk to the foreign press club. Then did a full about-face 180 degree switch on the original hip flex reaction to his ‘don’t come’ request. ( yes as you dive deeper into any issue , it can be done. You are allowed to switch your opinion , believe it or not! )

Mayo Haseba made a very simple, passionate and rational plea to try and stem the flow and avoid what could very well be a dangerous situation for thousands if things went pear shaped. He answered questions freely and competently and even stated that he hates having to say NO to any big events in his city. Became a bit of a fan actually. Takes some balls to sit down and allow people to question your decisions like that, especially going straight to the foreign press club. Would be nice if it becomes more of a trend!

I’d now suggest people in Tokyo stick closer to their own neighborhoods. I’m sure there’ll be a buzz happening in places like Roppongi, Ueno or even Harajuku park. Haven’t lived in Tokyo for over twenty years so I’m sure y’all know where to go. Just spread it out a bit. Keep it calm, be cool and don’t make an arse of yourself in front of the locals. Don’t hide behind a mask and be a mug basically! Have fun party people, keep your heads on and show the Japanese that we too understood the concept of respect. It’ll be a win win for all. The gaijin troublemaker image needs to go, so don’t add fuel to that fire! Happy Halloween.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I guess they were just too lazy to organize an event in that big space with the open air stage, where they hold Earth day etc.

food stalls from local shops, afequate space…could even be gated to control numbers and ticketed to make a buck.

oh well.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

halloween what...?

not related to Japan and its culture at all...how abt to go and scream somewhere in forest instead?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Why not use Yoyogi Park facilities Saturday and Sunday instead of Shibuya crossing nightlife? Most festive events are conducted there with nearly zero altercation and somewhat adequate sanitation due process. I get the influx is a ten-fold, but worth a shot for all walks of life...children trick-or-treating the shops during daytime hours, costume contest discounts or prizes for young adults, group dances flashing their creativity all dolled up (Harajuku takers) until closing hours. It's a festivity of food and beverage, and to be merry. Just saying.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Comparisons with festivals and fireworks may not be so relevant because they are all sponsored and planned months in advance. Take any boring meeting you've been in at work in Japan and multiple that by 10. That's how festivals happen.

If someone wants to plan a Shibuya Halloween months in advance and sponsor it, that's great. There may be a group of Halloween enthusiasts willing to volunteer to do all of this, but I've not seen them on the news. If no-one wants to do the work, you can't expect the authorities to be that enthused about tens of thousands just turning up and having lots of drunken fun that needs to be marshalled and cleaned up after. If Japanese football fans can clean a stadium they have paid handsomely to enter, perhaps Halloween revellers could do the same for public spaces they are using for free.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I can understand young people loitering the Shibuya streets as it’s exciting for them. But I’ve seen people in their 50’s or older trying to once again join this messy event…lol ! They should probably wine and dine at a decent restaurant and go back home for a proper sleep as they need that at their age! There are so many better ways to enjoy Halloween than wasting time on the streets in Shibuya of all places!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

g idea no need for cosplay in Shinya full of horny guys looking get some from the bunny girls at night. Halloween is not a sex festival

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I am going to stay as far away from this as possible. The Shibuya mayor, the media, the xenophobes, and pro-authoritarian foreigners have stirred and spread so much hate and vitriol, I don't even feel comfortable wearing a costume anywhere this weekend. I would actually be concerned for my safety. So, mission accomplished to that crowd - they won. They killed Halloween in Japan.

I am less worried about something like a stampede, so much as I am worried that there is going to be some mentally ill, girlfriendless, hikkikomori-netizen incel from outer Tokyo who sees this as an opportunity to go on a stabbing rampage and potentially target people who don't look Japanese. All the signs are pointing to something like this eventually happening, whether it's this weekend or later on down the road.

Shame on this country. Ever since Covid, the people here have done nothing to call out the xenophobia and anti-foreign propaganda from people in the media and in politics. They never wanted to reopen their country to the rest of the world. They have done nothing but complain ever since they had to, even though tourism has helped the Japanese economy.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Looking forward to a happy and safe Halloween in Shibuya, as there are no foreseeable risks, so this will be another fun year!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Looking forward to it. I'm leaving tomorrow night!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

 I would actually be concerned for my safety

Which is the whole point, that the major do not feel confident on safeguarding the well being of the people in an event that is predicted to go out of control very easily.

Looking forward to a happy and safe Halloween in Shibuya, as there are no foreseeable risks

As the previous disasters clearly prove there are quite a lot of foreseeable risks, which is precisely why the Major is so strongly asking people not to assist to the event. Nameless people pretending the many risks of having this kind of event without proper control and security don't exist are not exactly trustworthy.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Mayor be damned! I'm going to party like never before!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Which is the whole point, that the major do not feel confident on safeguarding the well being of the people in an event that is predicted to go out of control very easily.

That's not what I'm talking about. I specifically was not referring to the crowds in Shibuya. I am concerned about being targeted or harassed by people brainwashed into hysteria by anti-Halloween propaganda, whether it be in Shinjuku, Ueno, or Yokohama. Where I work, there is literally a ban on any Halloween related conversation - that's how insane this has become.

Halloween related / IRL live streamers / public drinking related concerns have replaced Covid as the dominant mechanism for disciplining young people and foreigners in Tokyo.

It's not about Shibuya Halloween, it is about control.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

That's not what I'm talking about.

But you make no effort to prove that any of the warnings are unjustified or that people are being "brainwashed" into realizing the event can be risky instead of just actually having important risks.

Shibuya is not forcing people to stop celebrating anywhere else in any way they want to do it. What you are doing is projecting a personal situation and pretending that must be the reason why an event where safety can't be guaranteed is being cancelled because of something else just because that fits a conspiracy you like to believe.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The dangerous part is trying to get on a train to leave with the crowds pushing you off of platforms.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

But you make no effort to prove that any of the warnings are unjustified or that people are being "brainwashed" into realizing the event can be risky instead of just actually having important risks.

What you are saying is a non-sequitor. You know who didn't make any real effort to assess potential risks? The people who have been trying (and failing) to end Shibuya Halloween since last year. Nothing tragic occured last year, and this was right after tourism resumed more or less completely. How are you in any position to dismiss my point when you cannot adequately support yours?

I have seen no evidence produced that could support the theory of serious safety risk - only that Shibuya Halloween is likely to produce a lot of garbage / loitering... a problem easily solved by having public trash cans and not passing the buck onto the individual. In advance, I reject any notion that I need to provide a source for that specific claim in particular. Don't bother.

Shibuya is not forcing people to stop celebrating anywhere else in any way they want to do it.

They can't force anyone to do anything. They also actually cannot stop people from walking on public streets - not sure why I need to explain this to you again. What they can do is set up an officially sanctioned event elsewhere to lessen any negative effects of high pedestrian traffic near the station / Center-gai. Yeh they didn't do that. They never made any attempt to do that.

There is no conspiracy here. There is a pattern of behavior on full display for everyone to see. That's the reality.

Also a reality? Rising hatred and animosity towards non-Japanese people in Japan. You'd have to be really mentally challenged to deny that one.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

What you are saying is a non-sequitor

No it is not, the argument is clear and coherent, without proving first that the warnings are unjustified you can't simply attribute them to the conspiracy you want to believe.

You make no effort to refute the warnings or the basis for them, that means you are implicitly accepting they are valid and justified. But still want to claim they are actually part of a nefarious plan to manipulate society, except that you have no proof other than your personal belief this is the case.

You know who didn't make any real effort to assess potential risks? 

That would be you, but still want to dismiss the previous examples of disaster as if they were works of fantasy, they are not and fatal victims prove very clearly that uncontrolled mobs can be very dangerous.

Have you provided any objective assessment from a professional that say there is no risk? without it you have no argument.

 In advance, I reject any notion that I need to provide a source for that specific claim in particular.

Recognizing in advance when you have no argument, but still want to push a baseless claim means that you not only understand your position is mistaken, but that you want to repeat it anyway, that is not something done when discussing honestly.

They can't force anyone to do anything.

Yet your only point is that they are trying to do it by pointing out real risks that you want to ignore.

Also a reality? Rising hatred and animosity towards non-Japanese people in Japan

That would be something only you would be doing, Shibuya is not saying only Japanese can attend Halloween, they are giving a general petition for anybody, no matter nationality to avoid attending. The only one making a distinction between Japanese and foreigners? you.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's the same story every single year, Shibuya puts barriers, police cars everywhere and things like that to "stop" people from "disrupting" the Shibuya Crossing, by disrupting the Shibuya Crossing while not allowing people to just make a simple celebration.

It would actually go better if they just accepted the reality that this is going to happen, and it doesn't matter how much they try to force people into not wanting to party, it is still going to happen, and instead of wasting all of these resources into this campaign using it so that they can try to make it as safe and organized as posible.

Japan has a lot of events with a lot of people in the streets all over the place, so the only reason they are going so against this one is mostly ideological.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It would actually go better if they just accepted the reality that this is going to happen, and it doesn't matter how much they try to force people into not wanting to party, it is still going to happen, and instead of wasting all of these resources into this campaign using it so that they can try to make it as safe and organized as posible.

Japan has a lot of events with a lot of people in the streets all over the place, so the only reason they are going so against this one is mostly ideological.

That's what I'm saying.

They certainly have the money to undoubtedly overpay some graphic designer to create a horrendous logo and promotional campaign with taxes. But they haven't even considered how an event could be successfully organized and make money for the city. There are literally Olympic venues going mostly unused. You mean to tell me they couldn't put on some solid three day event rather than drumming up needless hysteria?

Again - it is about the image of Halloween as some rowdy, alien event, as well as the opportunity to eliminate garbage in Shibuya. The garbage problem? Also solvable, by literally having public trash cans, instead of passing the buck onto individual pedestrians.

They don't want to do these things. Because the way Japanese society likes to operate is this: if you have individual needs, you are the problem. Be a team player. Don't question authority or hierarchy, ever.

It's all smoke and mirrors. And also rubbish.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

while not allowing people to just make a simple celebration.

People can make simple or not so simple celebrations, Shibuya is simply saying it is risky to do it there. Problems and violence have happened even with control from the authorities, saying that they should just let things happen is like saying that water sprinklers after a limited fire were just an overreaction and things should have been left to burn because nothing happened after all.

That's what I'm saying.

This is not what you are saying, your comment says everything is a conspiracy to manipulate the people but you never provide any evidence that this is actually the purpose nor that the warnings are unjustified.

 But they haven't even considered how an event could be successfully organized and make money for the city.

How do you know they have not? safety measures (specially in the year after dropping anti covid measures) are not cheap, simple or even guaranteed to work. It is perfectly possible the city consider the losses (for sure and in case of disaster) not worth the possible gains.

They don't want to do these things. Because the way Japanese society likes to operate is this: if you have individual needs, you are the problem. Be a team player. Don't question authority or hierarchy, ever.

Since so many people want to celebrate in Shibuya your argument is self defeating. According to you the easiest thing to do is just to ignore the risks and problems and just let the people do as they like, this is obviously not the case.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Luis David Yanez

Nope is not idiological...is because Halloween in Shibuya there is no organizer.

May be if someone organizes a Halloween event in Shibuya streets with the required permits and authorization and with the collaboration and support of authorities and business, I think there will be no problem.

I don't care for those celebrations and don't have the will nor the need to be an organizer so is not my problem, but if you want your Halloween in Shibuya then work for it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nope is not idiological...is because Halloween in Shibuya there is no organizer.

Most of the events like the Awa Odori Festival are organized by the government.

If the Government wanted, they could do it, and waste the same kind of money they are wasting on preventing it, but they prefer to just try to prevent it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I've seen the videos of Shibuya on Halloween. I can't understand why anyone would look at those and think, Hey, that looks cool, I wish I was there. With so many people around me I can't move, with no ability to see beyond 2 meters, and no chance of getting on a train afterwards.

It's baffling. Why is Halloween a party here anyway, just ignore the day like most of the rest of the global population.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gotta love the lack of perspective and persecution complex of a few around here. Sure there are Japanese who aren't welcoming of foreigners or just don't like them being around just as there are Americans back home who do their own version of that.

But to bleat that Japanese society is xenophobic/racist/reactionary because the Mayor of Shibuya and others including members of the general public don't want to encourage adults in costumes hanging around drinking alcohol and blocking various forms of public access 'because Halloween', is just deluded.

Go to a bar that's putting on a Halloween event - J authorities aren't stopping you. As for the whining about no public consumption of alcohol including milling around the front of convenience stores, guess what, Shibuya's just doing what many first world cities do and implementing its own version of dry zones for a few nights.

I get that a lot of the outraged foreigners see their public parading in teen costumes as some kind of inalienable right but most of the world including Japan doesn't think like that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites