”Hearts without morals shall be punished!” declares group, which is recruiting new members.
With its mix of clothing shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs, Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most popular youth-oriented districts. The neighborhood is less prim and proper than Harajuku, but without descending into the high-priced sleaze of Roppongi’s underbelly, and every weekend you’ll see waves after wave of young people flowing across Shibuya’s world-famous Scramble Intersection and into the street called Center Gai, which serves as the hub of the area’s many entertainment options.
As such, you can always find groups of students or young adults loitering around Center Gai, waiting to meet up with friends and go to the next store on their shopping circuit or bar on their pub crawl. Unfortunately, when they do head off some of them leave their trash behind, and Center Gai is one of the very few places in Tokyo where you can always expect to see some litter on the ground.
So last Sunday, a group of dashing young samurai took it upon themselves to address the problem.
東京でゴミ拾いしてたお兄さんたち 道に落ちてるゴミみたら「何奴」て言うんめっちゃおもろかった。（笑） https://t.co/XQpkab2fhz—
さかもとりん (@skmt1011) March 09, 2016
The team of kimono-clad heroes stood tall as they patrolled Center Gai, and wherever they spotted trash, they stopped, drew their tongs with a katana-inspired flourish, and got to cleaning, all while loudly wondering “What lout would do such a thing?”
While samurai were traditionally men, the group included at least one dashing young woman, who can be seen dressed in red in the video below, chanting “Hearts without morals shall be punished!” with her cohorts.
ERA (@ERA1140) February 21, 2016
So just who are these lovers of justice and cleanliness? While many who’ve seen them in person refer to them as the Gomihiroi Samurai (“The Samurai Who Pick Up Litter”), they’re officially called Jidaigumi Basara, the Tokyo branch of Hokkaido-based samurai performance troupe Issei Ichidai Jidaigumi. The group’s flair for the dramatic can be seen in this video from their official Twitter account.
3月6日(日)15時からのGOMI拾い塵芥の陣。 この世界の道端からGOMIがなくなるまで モラルの無い心を成敗し続けます。 https://t.co/b18bewOL7N—
時代組婆沙羅 （時代組 東京支部） (@jidaigumi_tokyo) March 07, 2016
The socially-conscious samurai have quickly earned a fanbase, with online comments including:
“All of Japan should be proud of you.”
“Now THIS is the samurai spirit that people of today have forgotten.”
“Can I join you guys?”
If you, like that last commenter, are feeling similarly inspired by how Jidaigumi Basara is literally cleaning up the street, the group is indeed looking for new members, with the application form found here on its website.
Related: Issei Ichidai Jidaigumi website, Jidaigumi Basara Twitter
Featured image: Twitter/@jidaigumi_tokyo
Top image: Issei Ichidai Jidaigumi
Insert images: Twitter/@skmt1011, Twitter/@ERA1140