A festive way to kill time while you wait for the cops to come arrest you.

Despite being part of downtown Tokyo, the Yoyogi neighborhood is pretty sleepy. Situated between the bustling office skyscrapers and entertainment centers of Shinjuku and the trendy boutiques of Harajuku, Yoyogi is a low-key enclave of specialized schools and restaurants, and is generally the sort of place most people skip right past on their way to more exciting parts of the city.

But Yoyogi got a little too exciting this week when a knife-wielding man barricaded himself in a restaurant.


At around 2:40 on Monday afternoon, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Harajuku Precinct received a call from an employee of the Hanabi no Utage izakaya (Japanese-style pub) in Yoyogi. A customer was refusing to pay for his meal, and the restaurant wanted an officer to come resolve the issue.

However, between the time the call was made and when officers arrived on the scene, the man had begun brandishing a knife. He’d also removed his shirt for an unspecified reason, perhaps to show off the yakuza-style tattoos covering his shoulders and arms.

Thankfully, no hostages had been taken, and the staff and other customers had all managed to successfully escape from the building. Alone in the restaurant, the man broke one of its windows that overlooked the street below, then began hurling beer bottles and chairs out of it. He also fired off a few fireworks, which aren’t something you can usually find in an izakaya (but perhaps since Hanabi no Utage means “Banquet of Fireworks,” the restaurant keeps some on hand), which would have added a festive flair to the whole thing if weren’t for the fact that it was a crazed, knife-wielding man handling the pyrotechnics.

▼ Odds are the man was intoxicated, as he was in a pub and apparently had no endgame planned out besides “Throw stuff out the window.”

When officers attempted to enter the restaurant, the man shouted at them to stay back, and they instead set up a perimeter around the izakaya while negotiators attempted to convince the man to come out. However, since the restaurant is located across the intersection from Yoyogi Station, on the high-traffic Yamanote Line that circles downtown Tokyo, the police were only willing to be so patient, and at roughly 5 p.m. they got tired of talking and stormed the restaurant, subduing the man and placing him under arrest.

The man, whose name has not been released, suffered minor injuries in the standoff-ending scuffle, but no one else was harmed. Considering what’s happened to some people who go flashing knives in Japan, the arrest could have been much more painful for him, but odds are the real pain will be coming at the sentencing in what should be a very easy conviction.

Sources: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko, Asahi Shimbun Digital
Featured image: Twitter/@phenom4040