Mention “Akihabara” and any otaku (self-proclaimed or otherwise) – regardless of age, gender, nationality or race – will probably react fondly and recognise the upbeat, bustling little town located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward as ‘a haven for electronic goods/gadgets, video games, anime and maid cafes’.
On a slightly darker side, some may not know (or may have chosen to forget) the horrific incident known as the “Akihabara Massacre” (formally named the “Akihabara Toorima Jiken” – literally “Akihabara Random Attacker Incident” – by Japanese media/society) that happened on 8 June 2008 at a crowded intersectional crossing between the Kanda Myoji-doori and Chuo-doori, resulting in the loss of lives of 7 innocent persons and the sustaining of severe injuries of 10 more others at the time of incident. The perpetrator was apprehended on the same day and later charged and sentenced.
In Japan – commonly acknowledged as the country with one of the lowest crime rates – for an incident of such a scale of public harm to occur (in broad daylight) is considered unprecedented, and therefore, alarming. Ten years forward, on 8 June 2018, Chiyoda Ward administrative leaders and city fathers decided to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the incident and honour the memories of the victims by setting up a temporary Memorial Corner at the site of the incident. Throughout the day, passer-by’s may approach the Corner to offer prayers, flowers, or simply bow in silent memory of the terrible incident 10 years past.
And yet, Japanese netizens’ hackles were raised in ire and irritation when photographic eye-witness reports on Twitter showed a picture of a group of representatives – reporters and photography crew – from the media camped out along the sidewalks and public walkways of/near the memorial site.
— 湯島のとも (@Syas) June 8, 2018
— SW (@sh_shuji) June 8, 2018
The original tweet was quickly shared and retweeted over twenty-thousand times and irritation/angry comments dissing the paparazzi poured in over Japanese social media. Most chided the media for lack of respect for society in general – both for families of the Incident’s victims; and for the public that generally wished to honour the Incident by paying their respects. Some even went as far as to call the paparazzi the ‘scums of society, doing what they please just to score readership’.
According to a shared retweet of the original, the police was later dispatched to clear the mass of media reporters who camped out at the site, and no serious physical harm came to any members of the paparazzi or the general public.
Fans who are interested to find out more about the original Akihabara Massacre may read up details here.