Locals say it’s all part of a Kyoto University tradition.

While most people in Japan don’t like to be the “nail that stands out“, seeing as it inevitably gets nailed down, when you’re young and carefree, it can be tempting to test the boundaries and toe the line of what’s considered acceptable in society.

For those straddling the gap between high school and working life, especially in an environment like the one at Kyoto University, where graduates regularly dress in cosplay for their graduation ceremonies, crazy stunts can be a last hurrah before joining the workforce and transitioning from the senior role of easygoing sempai to overtime-working, bottom-of-the-rung office junior, or kohai.

▼ Kyoto University students get dressed up for their graduation ceremony.

As the March graduation season closes in upon us, locals in Kyoto are preparing themselves for unusual scenes around the city’s university, but they certainly weren’t prepared for what they saw at the nearby Hyakumanban intersection late last month.

▼ The intersection is located at one end of Kyoto University.

According to reports, a group of youths decided to sit themselves down in the middle of the busy crossing, and to add to the spectacle, they brought with them a kotatsu, a low, heated table commonly used inside Japanese homes. Sitting cross-legged around the kotatsu, which was unheated at the time, seeing as it wasn’t plugged in to an electrical outlet, the youths caused a scene that attracted the attention of bystanders and annoyed drivers who were forced to manoeuvre their vehicles around them.

▼ This video, filmed by a bystander, shows the scene as it took place.

Witnesses say the young men and women in the group, some of whom were wearing hard hats, also had a nabe hot pot with them, another item commonly used by families eating dinner indoors while seated at the kotatsu.

▼ The kotatsu, before it was taken out to the middle of the road.

The group sat down around the table at the intersection and refused to budge, despite the constant traffic moving around them.

▼ After about ten minutes, police arrived at the scene, scolding the group for their behaviour, and forcing them to pack up and leave.

Witnesses say the young men and women headed towards the direction of Kyoto University after the incident, suggesting the members of the group were students there. Local police say they want this type of life-threatening dangerous behaviour stopped, and are currently investigating whether Kyoto University students were actually involved.

While the group’s motivation, and their speech through the loudspeaker, remains unclear, locals say students have been setting up kotatsu tables on roads within the university grounds for many years. It seems that this unusual tradition is now being taken outside for public display, and the following night, a couple of youths were seen recreating the events of the previous day at the same spot, despite warnings from police.


Kyoto Prefectural Police have now stepped in to express their anger at the incidents and are looking to press charges if traffic laws are found to have been violated, saying the actions of these people could have caused a serious accident.

With the university’s graduation ceremony coming up in the next couple of weeks, let’s hope the students stay safe and keep their traffic-stopping cosplay on the grounds of the campus and away from drivers on the roads. After all, nobody wants to see a giant salmon head go rolling.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@Minami5003