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- Ban / Controversy / Conveyor belt sushi / crime / Japan / Kaiten / Kaiten-zushi / Photography / Sushi / Sushiro / TkyoSam / Trouble / viral / YouTube / YouTuber
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Earlier this month, Tokyo-based American YouTuber TkyoSam placed a GoPro on the conveyor belt at Sushiro, a popular revolving sushi restaurant chain in Japan. After the video gained popularity on the internet and caught the attention of national news, Sushiro has issued an apology, banned filming inside its chains altogether, and is considering pressing criminal charges.
Source: http://xiaosan / PIXTA(ピクスタ)
The original video, which has now been removed from YouTube, feature TkyoSam setting a GoPro on a sushi conveyor belt. The camera travels around, filming customers as it passes by and eventually goes through the restaurant's kitchen. Some customers smile and even wave at the camera, but others seem none-too-pleased with being filmed. Eventually, kitchen staff pick up the GoPro, seem to have a discussion about it, and return it to TkyoSam, who said in the video description that the staff were not upset with him.
Originally posted on March 6th, the video charmed many as a relaxing look into the lives of diners from the imaginary perspective of a piece of sushi, cover by Mashable, The Daily Mail, and even making the front page of Reddit. Attention to the video in Japan, along with voiced concern over breaches of privacy and restaurant hygiene, however, seem to have led to the video's removal along with an official statement from Akindo Sushiro that denounces the video as disruptive.
In the official statement, Akindo Sushiro states that they never granted any permission for the video's filming, calls it unacceptable, and apologizes for any discomfort caused and their staff's insufficient response. They follow up by placing an emphasis on concern for respect for privacy and hygiene within the restaurant, clarifying that they have cleaned and disinfected the conveyor belt since the video was taken. Furthermore, it seems that they will ban filming in their restaurant altogether and consider serious legal action against those who commit similar disturbances.
While the original video was deleted, TykoSam's original response to backlash of negative comments on it can be seen here.
It's important to note that placing a camera on a sushi conveyor belt isn't exactly new--a quick YouTube search will yield results of similar videos, by both foreigners and Japanese alike. The scale of attention and timing, however, seems to have escalated response to TykoSam's video beyond what might have normally ended in admonishment from the staff. Japanese media has been linking the video to the recent antics of Logan Paul (although to be fair, this pales in comparison) and recent television news has reported on an increase of stores and establishments putting up signs discouraging photography and filming. While certainly unfortunate for visitors to Japan who wish to document their travels in some instances, it's always wise to ask for permission when taking pictures where privacy may be an issue.