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Shibuya official expresses frustration after American arrested for spraying graffiti

in Shibuya Ward earlier this month
An American boy, 19, was accused of spraying graffiti on a restaurant shutter in Shibuya Ward on June 2 (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Following the arrest of a male American youth for spraying graffiti in Shibuya Ward earlier this month, a local official has expressed his frustration with the perception foreigners have for the area, reports TBS News (June 13).

“Persons coming from a foreign country have a misunderstanding that Shibuya is a place for graffiti or street art,” said Toshiyuki Ono, the chairman of the Shibuya Center-gai and Utagawacho shop association. “Even if the shutters of the shops are cleaned, the painful reminder remains.”

According to the Shibuya Police Station, all 8 persons arrested for spraying graffiti in Shibuya this year have been foreign nationals, including the apprehension of teenagers from Australia in February.

On Wednesday, police arrested the American boy, 19, for allegedly spraying his nickname in black paint on the shutter of a restaurant in the Udagawacho area in the early morning of June 2.

After a witness tipped off police, the suspect was apprehended at the scene on suspicion of property damage. Prior to Wednesday, police had lodged separate charges against the boy for spraying graffiti on other buildings in the area, according to TV Asahi (June 13).

Arrived as a tourist

The boy, who arrived in Japan as a tourist on May 30, admitted to the allegations. “I wanted to leave my mark on Japan,” the suspect was quoted by police.

As a part of the investigation, police seized at least 5 cans of paint, a bag, shoes, a shirt and a baseball cap from the suspect.

According to the network, law enforcement has not come up with any counter-measures for the crimes. An employee with a shop that was vandalized by graffiti expressed their frustration. “I think it is wrong to leave your mark if it means causing trouble for others,” said the employee.