Stupid videos continue to flood the Internet in Japan, while one company is looking to send a message.

Long-time readers of our site might remember a spate of stupid images posted to social media in Japan back in 2013. Frequently, they showed young people in various dangerous and unsanitary situations such as climbing into ice cream freezers at convenience stores or sticking ketchup bottles up their noses.

Now, it looks as if we are witnessing the return of the trend once dubbed “bakatter“, which is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for “stupid” (baka) and “Twitter” because of its occurrence at the same time as the rise in popularity of the social media platform.

This time, however, it seems the idiots are upping their game from still images to short video clips, possibly due to the recently popular TikTok app. This first major incident occurred last December when an employee of Big Echo karaoke rooms recorded a coworker rubbing fried chicken on the floor and then tossing it in the fryer.

Then, late last January a part-time worker at a Sukiya beef bowl restaurant posted a video of himself throwing ice around and sticking a ladle in his crotch.

Videos began appearing more quickly in February with one showing a customer at a Hamazushi conveyor belt restaurant opening a passing piece of sushi with his bare hands and then placing a large piece of wasabi inside.

Around the same time another video from an Osaka Kura Sushi branch showed a worker tossing a large piece of fish into a garbage bin and then recovering it and placing it back on the counter.

A few days after that, a video emerged showing an employee of a Yokohama 7-Eleven store sticking a piece of oden in his mouth and spitting it out before throwing packs of cigarettes into the air and chanting “I want to eat pancakes.”

This most recent video was especially odd as 7-Eleven always has a stock of very affordable and delicious packaged pancakes on their shelves. Nevertheless, the convenience store chain announced that they had fired both the clerk who appears in the video and his coworker who filmed it.

Kura Sushi, on the other hand, is taking the less sympathetic route and, in addition to their apology, declared that they are preparing for both criminal and civil legal action. Naturally the sight of an employee having fun with waste bins isn’t the ideal image a for a sushi restaurant to have in an incredibly competitive business.

▼ For example, three of the biggest conveyor belt sushi restaurants have excellent options for a variety of customers, including solitary, regretful, drinkers.

But you might be surprised how large the repercussions can get. On 6 February, about two days after the garbage video was posted and got subsequently picked up by media, Kura Sushi’s stock price fell by 130 yen (US$1.18). Considering this is a major national sushi chain, that amounts to a loss in market value of 2.7 billion yen ($24.4 million).

Granted “market value” is a bit of an ambiguous term in regard to the actual damage incurred by the restaurant chain. After all, it’s not as if billions of yen suddenly vanished from the company’s coffers, but it will definitely have an impact on the monetary figure prosecutors may end up setting, in that it will surely be high.

Online comments were both optimistic that the beloved sushi chain will eventually get blood from these two rocks, while others aren’t so sure.

“I really want to know how much they are going to demand from these guys.”
“It’s completely their fault. They should pay the maximum amount whatever it is.”
“They are going to be paying this off the rest of their lives.”
“Sorry, but there’s no way they can prove the stock price was caused by the video.”
“The best Kura can get is the cost of the fish, utensils, and disinfecting recouped.”
“Maybe those boys can sell a kidney.”
“A decline in stock price isn’t damage to Kura.”

Some online have also speculated that the lawsuit could take the form of a class-action suit by all of the individual shareholders, in which case a figure in the billions becomes a more realistic possibility. It would be an ambitious and complex move, but with a lawyer who has the necessary fondness for money, not impossible.

▼ If you’re going to risk a billion-yen class-action lawsuit, at least make your stunt somewhat funny.

In addition, at the outset of the 2013 run of stupid social media posts, there were also rumors of shady baito-terrorism businesses. Using the Japanese word “arubaito,” (from the German arbeit) which means “part-time worker”) these enterprises will set up a client’s rival company with a “stupid” employee who will self-destruct in a glorious manner online and do serious damage to the reputation of said company.

If this is the case, then a vicious lawsuit might be one way to bring this type of clandestine operation into the light. One way or another, I just hope people leave the fish alone, because this is all just nasty.

Sourcees: Sponichi Annex, Gogotsu, Itai News
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