Within the past 10 years, Halloween in Japan has morphed into something that might be compared to Mardi Gras in that it attracts costumed revelers from all over the world. The big difference is that instead of having parades—Halloween in Shibuya is the parade and if you’re there—you are in it!
Ten years prior, Halloween in Japan was virtually unknown and was celebrated by only a handful of foreigners who would jump on the JR (Japan Railway) loop lines in both Tokyo and Osaka, and party on by getting drunk and going in circles.
Fast-forward to 2017 to last night’s all-night event in Shibuya. It was an experience like no other prior. Japan has totally captured Halloween and turned it into their own unique festival.
Last night’s event in Shibuya was attended by revelers and reporters from everywhere, with tens of thousands creatively costumed, and in some cases, profoundly inebriated.
Considering the highly concentrated pushing and shoving masses, there was little or no violence, mostly because of the intense presence of uniformed, whistle-blowing police—everywhere!
Interestingly, the police presence is a topic unto itself, but let me make this brief aside, after having had the opportunity to witness how they handled a situation last night. A small fight broke out on one of the jam-packed streets. Police were on the scene within seconds; they isolated the troublemaker, and using no mace, no Tasers, no guns or clubs, they simply surrounded him and moved him away from the scene as he kicked, lashed out and screamed obscenities. It reminded me of how our blood cells deal with an infection…naturally.
Costume-wise, most notably, was the proliferation of cutely dressed, mini-skirted women (always in pairs or more), and guys in groups, showing lots of skin, dressed in women’s costumes, such as bunnies, cats, and mini-skirted high school uniforms. Other popular costumes included Minions, Wally (as in “Where’s Wally”) and zombies. However, as you'll see in this video, there were many other extremely creative costumes.
Most of the streets in the Shibuya area were blocked off to traffic, but circling the periphery were lots of highly stylized motorcycle riders (in costumes) who accentuated the atmosphere by revving their engines as loudly as they could.
This year's event has grown exponentially since last year, and so its hard to imagine what the event will be like next year, or in years to follow.© Japan Today