A short history of streaking in Japan
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The wonderful Mulboyne, a boundless source of so much trivia and fascinating information about Japan, has posted a few images from past streaking incidents in Japan.
We wanted to share these with our readers, along with some further commentary.
Japan is a culture of pubic bathing, so public nudity is hardly much to write home about. But streaking, where one runs naked through a public place, is different: it is done for attention or as a protest, and is pronounced like a foreign word in Japanese.
It was applied first, it seems, in the early 1970s to describe a rash of incidents involving, of course, foreigners!
Seven male and female school children started it off by streaking in their school grounds in Camp Foster in March 1974 Okinawa. This incident was the first time the word was used.
It was followed by a Japanese male on March 12th, the day after the American kids, streaking in the center of Hiroshima City. He managed to avoid the cops after they were called to apprehend him.
Another incident occurred on March 15th in Roppongi, carried out by a bold foreign male.
Three foreigners then went streaking in Ginza in March 17th, 1974, as shown in the picture below. Apparently they were 17-year-old American schoolgirls.
In the space of just one month in 1974, there were 25 incidents in nine prefectures and Tokyo, including 11 incidents where 17 people were arrested for public indecency. And no, it wasn’t all done by foreigners!
Streaking incidents have appeared irregularly in Japan after this, often leading to trouble for media in how to publish pictures without breaking the archaic laws against showing genitalia. No such qualms here.
However, there are at least other examples from a little earlier. The performance artist Dadakan (Kanji Itoi), for example, ran naked around the Tower of the Sun in the Osaka Expo Park in 1970 and also through the streets of Tokyo to make an anti-war protest.
Since then, of course, roshutsu (public exposure) has become its own popular subgenre of porn and fetish.