Scenes from the weekend show not everyone was interested in staying away from hotspots like Shibuya and Osaka during Halloween.

When Halloween rolls around in Japan, partygoers and cosplayers head out to major cities to party with friends, meet new people, and show off their costumes on the streets. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic prompted some city mayors and officials to ask people to stay home during Halloween, in order to avoid creating crowds where clusters might occur.

In Shibuya, the country’s biggest Halloween party spot, Mayor Ken Hasebe urged people to stay home and enjoy a virtual Shibuya Halloween online instead. But when the sun set on the last day of October, the crowds came out, proving that not everyone was ready to heed the mayor’s request to curb their outdoor celebrations.

Yes, that pink-headed costume above is what you think it is, and it wasn’t the only one out on the streets that night.

Toshiyuki Ono, Director of the Shibuya Center-Gai promotion association, was in the area at around 6:00 p.m., and said there looked to be an 80-percent reduction in visitors this Halloween.

However, Halloween at Shibuya is usually a popular spot for foreign visitors, and with current travel restrictions preventing international travellers from visiting the area, this should be taken into account for the apparent drop in numbers.

▼ This video shows what Shibuya looked like at Halloween this year.

While there appeared to be significantly less costumes on the streets than in previous years, a lot of people passing through Shibuya on the night of 31 October commented that it was far more crowded than they had hoped it would be. And the night wasn’t without incident, as this street brawl shows.

▼ Warning: The clip below contains violence.

While Mayor Hasebe was firm in insisting people stay away from Shibuya during Halloween, over in Kyushu’s Fukuoka, a city with the sixth highest level of coronavirus cases in Japan (after Tokyo, Osaka, and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Aichi and Saitama), Mayor Soichiro Takashima decided against asking people to stay home this Halloween.

Saying “it wouldn’t make sense” to ask people to avoid gathering at Kego Park in Tenjin, the city’s main Halloween spot, Mayor Takashima instead told people to “enjoy cosplaying while wearing a mask during the ‘Corona Halloween'”.

And enjoy it they did, as this side-by-side comparison below shows there was no visible change to the number of people at the park during last year’s Halloween celebrations (left) and this year’s (right).

Commenters online were disappointed to see so many people willing to roll the dice with the pandemic by gathering in large numbers. And while a lot of the attendees wore masks with their costumes this year, at least one person was seen without a face covering…or any type of covering on the rest of their body either.

With everyone’s interest in “Halloween restraint” focused on Shibuya in Tokyo, Osaka turned into party central, with huge crowds gathering in the busy Dotonbori area.

People were sad to see how little regard was being shown for preventing the possible spread of the virus here.

Despite being the city with the second highest number of coronavirus cases in Japan, a lot of people could be seen gathering closely together in the American Village entertainment area without masks.

▼ Compared to Tokyo, there were many more people in costume on the streets.

With the coronavirus incubation period said to last up to two weeks, people around Japan are now waiting to see if this year’s Halloween celebrations will result in a spike in cases in the near future. They’re also waiting to see whether there will be any repercussions for this group who faked the carjacking of a police vehicle in Sapporo at Halloween.

With so many fears around people gathering in crowds during the pandemic, especially at Halloween, it’s likely that this year’s virtual Shibuya Halloween event — complete with stars like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu — may be part of the new normal next year as well.

And it looks like Japan’s hilariously low-key “Mundane Halloween” party is steadily becoming more popular too, with online participants this year and anti-cosplay cosplay costumes like “The solo booth counter from Ichiran Ramen”.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: YouTube/VR360 miorider
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