In a unique and theatrical display of civic responsibility, samurai-clad trash collectors roamed Tokyo’s streets following Halloween festivities, wielding garbage tongs and stylishly tossing litter into wicker baskets on their backs.
This spirited group, known as “Gomihiroi Samurai” or “Trash-Picking Samurai,” has captured the imagination of many since its formation in 2006, amassing nearly 800,000 followers on TikTok.
Their performance is not just for entertainment, as explained by Keisuke Naka, a member of the group who has been a trash-picking samurai for seven years.
He emphasised that if people are drawn to their antics, they should also pay attention to the broader issue of litter and trash. Despite Japan’s reputation for cleanliness, Naka noted that this image doesn’t tell the full story.
In areas known for vibrant nightlife and bustling tourism, such as those observed during Halloween celebrations, litter tends to accumulate due to street drinking and festivities.
The “Trash-Picking Samurai” have made a notable impact on the local community. Residents attest to the positive changes they’ve witnessed, with stories of streets previously marred by excessive trash and even the presence of rats, now cleaner thanks to their efforts.
Naruhito Miyasaka, a college student living in the area where Naka collected rubbish, highlighted the marked improvement, noting that the trash situation was previously quite dire.
Junya Kakihara, a local restaurant owner, credited the samurai performances with raising awareness about the trash issue and said he actively encourages people not to litter when they are tempted to do so.
This creative approach to tackling litter is not only entertaining but also serves as a valuable reminder to cherish and maintain a clean and pleasant environment for everyone.