Halloween is not until Wednesday, October 31, but celebrations in Tokyo were underway in full spirit and color over the weekend.
The night of October 27 saw a parade of colorful costumes and characters in Shibuya, known as the hub for fashion and young culture.
The scramble crossing in front of the main Shibuya train station was again at the center of the fun — and chaos. The fun went beyond celebrations going into the early morning of October 28.
This year, incidents included the overturning of a light truck and five arrests of men between 20 and 50 years of age due to violent behavior and voyeurism.
The Metropolitan Police Department Shibuya Station said that the vehicle damaged by revelers drove into Shibuya in the early hours on October 28 and was quickly surrounded by the large late-night crowd. Unable to move forward, the driver reported the incident to the police, after which the upset revelers got out-of-hand. Some people were filmed jumping on the roof of the vehicle while others overturned his truck.
A police report was filed, and the Shibuya police are investigating the incident for property damage.
Twitter users voiced their frustration that those who overturned the truck weren’t arrested.
Nobuo Miyazaki, a Sankei Shimbun reader, argued:
The people who did this specifically should be arrested. If you don’t, then the people who do these acts win.
— Nobuo_Miyazaki (@nobmyzk) October 28, 2018
Other chaos was caused by a woman being groped, voyeuristic pictures taken under skirts, and fights which broke out in the street due to the influence of alcohol. The police arrested five men, between 20 and 50 years old, on suspicion of sexual offenses.
Shibuya’s Halloween Tradition
Halloween in Shibuya has become a staple during Halloween, especially among young people and foreigners. Increasingly, it has become the Halloween catwalk venue — people go to see and be seen in their costumes, while having a drunken hurrah.
The local government is trying to encourage Shibuya’s popularity at this time of year, while prioritizing safety. Executives of the Metropolitan Police Department stated, “We hope people can enjoy Halloween in safety.”
Bulletin boards related to the weekend celebrations were also in English, Chinese, and Korean, catering to the foreign audience.
Leading up to the weekend festivities, the Shibuya Metropolitan Police organized officials and implemented traffic controls in the surrounding area to allow revelers the space of the scramble crossing in front of the station.
Those preparations included implementing what Shibuya police call the “DJ Police” — policemen who would shepherd the inebriated crowds calmly, without issuing stern orders.
However, as in the past, the crowds were not contained within the main scramble intersection, instead spilling into the surrounding roads and causing episodes of violence and havoc.
In 2015, 70,000 people visited Shibuya for Halloween, and, according to this year’s reports, the trend shows no slowing down. Fortunately, the weekend chaos is not expected to prevail on the day of Halloween this year as it falls on a weekday.
In preparation for the day, the Mayor of Shibuya Ken Hasebe issued a statement to halloween-goers:
There are people who work hard everyday so that they can be proud of the city of Shibuya. It is because of people like these, that we can’t allow the behavior [that we saw this weekend]. I therefore ask that on October 31 people not cause a nuisance to the neighborhood, follow a moral and law-abiding behavior, and enjoy in a contained manner halloween.
Whatever the outcome on halloween this year will be, it remains to be seen, however, if next year’s celebrations will be filled with bright costumes and seasonal fun, or top this year’s raucous affair.