YouTuber sent to prosecutors for stunt at busy Japan road crossing

Kyodo News

Posted at Oct 26 2020 09:50 PM

A Japanese YouTuber and two men were referred to prosecutors on Monday for allegedly placing a mattress on the sidewalk in front of the busy Shibuya scramble crossing in central Tokyo as part of a prank video, investigative sources said.

Masahiro Harada, a 29-year-old YouTuber known as "Hezumaryu," and the two accomplices who appeared in the video are suspected of obstructing pedestrians on the sidewalk near the famous intersection on July 2 by laying out the Japanese-style futon mattress before one of them lay on it, according to the sources.

Harada, who has traveled across Japan to create YouTube videos, was quoted by the sources as saying to investigators that he had thought their action would not be considered a crime so long as they did not use a bed.

In 2019, Tokyo police referred a different group of pranksters to prosecutors over a stunt in which they placed a bed with a YouTuber inside in the middle of the Shibuya scramble crossing while pedestrians were traversing it.

The allegation against Harada is the latest in a series of arrests, including one in July after he allegedly ate fish that he had not paid for in a supermarket in the central Japan city of Okazaki, for which he was indicted in August.

While in custody, the YouTuber tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As a result, several people who were in close contact with him including some police officers were found to have contracted the virus.

Harada was again arrested on Oct. 16 for obstructing business by claiming that the branded T-shirt he purchased in a shop in the western Japan city of Osaka was fake, despite the product actually being genuine. He was later released.