Litterbug smokers aren’t so eager to brawl once they find out they’re picking a fight with a guy who beats people up for a living.

Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood is packed with shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and bars, but on a recent afternoon, Japanese YouTuber Kai Asakura (whose channel can be found here) bypassed all of those entertainment options. Instead, he started picking up litter in the section of Shinjuku called Kabukicho, which includes the street that leads to the life-size Godzilla head statue as well as Tokyo’s highest concentration of host and hostess bars.

Dressed in the unofficial uniform of a geeky otaku anime fan (flannel shirt, unfashionably cut jeans, large-frame glasses, bandana, and backpack), Asakura was specifically targeting cigarette butts, which are disappointingly common on the streets of Kabukicho. While he was using a pair of tongs to transfer the litter into a trash bag, he kept spotting smokers casually tossing their butts onto the ground, though, so he decided to ask them directly to pick up their trash, and recorded what happened next. The first person he talked to sheepishly apologized and picked up the butt he’d dropped, but Asakura’s second encounter didn’t go nearly so smoothly.

▼ Because of the video’s long length, it’s embedded several times below, each queued up to a different highlight.

“Excuse me,” Asakura says as he approached two men whom he just witnessed dropping their butts on the ground. “Did you just litter?”, he asks, and right away the pair becomes combative.

Man A: “Nope. And speak up. I can’t understand what you’re saying.”
Asakura: “Well, just now, you dropped your cigarette butt…”
Man A: “Speak up! Say it in a big voice.”
Man B: “Hahahaha!”

Asakura explains that he just saw them drop their cigarettes on the ground, but all it gets him is mockingly sarcastic false agreement.

Man B: “Are you one of those clean-up-the-town volunteers?”
Man A: “Littering is wrong. Wrong! You’re doing a great thing. What’s your name?”
Asakura: “Asakura.”
Man A: “Well, little Mr. Asakura, you’re doing a good thing, so I’ll cheer for you. Hooray! Hooray! Asakura!”

▼ The part where Man A cheers for “little Mr. Asakura.”

Keeping his cool even as he’s being openly mocked, Asakura once more repeats his request.

Asakura: “So, can you pick that up?”
Man B: “You’re being a pain.”
Man A: “You pick it up. If you want it picked up that much, you do it. If you take care of it, there’s no problem.”

Asakura explains that he has been picking up other people’s trash, but since the litterers themselves are standing right there, he feels it’s not to much to ask them to clean up after themselves. This earns him an obvious lie from one of the men.

Man A: “The butt fell out of my hand accidentally, and it’s too painful for me to reach down and pick it up.”
Man B: “So what do you want, huh?”
Asakura: “I’m not trying to pick a fight. But what you’re doing is wrong, so I wanted to ask you not do to it. That’s all.”

Eventually, Man B decides he’s had enough of the conversation.

Man B: “You’re being a pain in the ass. Leave. Go somewhere else.”
Asakura: “Somewhere else?”
Man A: “Shut up already.”

Man A punctuates his command by kicking Asakura’s trash bag, and Man B follows suit, standing up and grabbing Asakura by the shirt while saying “You’re being a serious pain in the ass. Let’s go.”

▼ The kick

Now, let’s pause for a second and talk numbers. The litterers have Asakura outnumbered two to one, and odds are they’re not all that intimidated by his 172-centimeter, 61-kilogram (68-inch, 134-pound) frame, which is why they’re so ready to throw their weight around. But here’s some other numerical data they’d be wise to consider: Asakura’s record as a professional mixed martial arts fighter is 14-1, with nine straight victories by knock out, technical knock out, or chokehold submission, with all but one happening in the first round. He hasn’t lost a fight in more than two years, and just two weeks before he posted his anti-littering video, he spent the night wasting no time breaking the jaw of opponent Ulka Sasaki, something that took him only 54 seconds from the fight’s opening bell to do.

▼ In case you don’t recognize Asakura without his otaku getup, that’s him in the red trunks.

Rather than just drop the two litterers right then and there, though, Asakura decides to give them a little preview of what they can expect if they really want to turn the altercation physical. “Wait just a second. You mind if I warm up?” he says to the man who’s been grabbing his shirt. Asakura sets down his backpack (which Man B almost immediately tries to steal), does a few quick stretches, and unleashes a flurry of sharp, lightning-fast shadow-boxing punches.

▼ Asakura’s warm-up

Nice and limber, he walks back over to Man A.

Asakura “Well? Still want to ‘go?’
Man B: “Wait, Asakura…are you the mixed martial arts fighter?”

Putting two and two together, Man B now realizes he’s been picking a fight with a guy who fights for a living, and he instantly undergoes a gigantic attitude adjustment. Both suddenly former tough guys grab the backs of their necks (the standard Japanese involuntary gesture for awkwardness, embarrassment, or fear), and when Asakura asks them one more time, nicely and with a smile, “So, can I have you two pick up your trash?” Man A is quick to assure him “Yes, yes, we’ll pick it up right away,” and both bend down, pluck their butts off the ground, and place them in Asakura’s trash bag (Man A being miraculously cured of the flexibility-hampering pain that he said was preventing him from doing so just a few moments ago).

▼ Finally picking up their trash

The conversation unfolds along similar lines when Asakura approaches a group of three other men who just tossed their butts on the ground, this time without even stamping them out first. “So it needs to be put out? Then do it for me,” commands one of the men while defiantly kicking the still burning cigarette across the plaza. “Shut your damn mouth” growls another as he shoves Asakura in the chest. Eventually, one of them suggests they drag Asakura with them to wherever they’re going, and Asakura asks them to take their hands off him, since he wants to take off his flannel shirt so it won’t get dirty.

“You’re pissing me off,” says one of the three as he shoves Asakura.

This time, Asakura doesn’t have to go into his shadow boxing routine, as the sight of his muscled upper body in his sleeveless undershirt is enough to give the men second thoughts. “Do you work out or something?” one asks, and when Asakura says, “Well, I do mixed martial arts,” one of the trio realizes who the fighter is, and again the litterers’ bravado quickly evaporates. “Still wanna go? Are we not doing this anymore?” Asakura innocently asks, and the previously most aggressive member of the group backpedals with remarkable speed, saying “No, it’s not like I wanted to fight or anything…right?” trying to save some small scrap of face. After a bit of awkward silence, Asakura gets the ball rolling again, gesturing towards the men’s discarded cigarette butts and saying, “So, could you please pick those up?” and they promptly do.

▼ The pick-up

And so, on that day Asakura helped make one of the dirtiest parts of Tokyo a little cleaner. Granted, it’d be nice if everyone refrained from littering simply because it’s inconsiderate and disgusting, but barring that, the possibility that it might get litterbugs a scolding from a professional martial artist they have no chance of intimidating or beating up will do just fine.

Source: YouTube/KAI Channel / 朝倉海 via Jin
Images: YouTube/KAI Channel / 朝倉海
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