Forgive me for making politics out of the theft of an adored landmark from a place I happen not to adore so much: Shibuya’s Hachiko, the namesake statue of the Tokyo intersection immortalized for a generation of film buffs in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” But this is too much.
The other night, some hoodlums made off with the plaza’s famous dog meeting place by setting up workers’ signs, cones, and a tarp to hide the crime from view. After they carted off the effigy of the loyal professor’s pup, speculation in the Japan Times is that a metal shortage related to the Beijing Olympics has led to the theft:
“I’m not surprised — nothing is sacred for these thieves,” said a source in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
“They made off with 200 incense burners at a cemetery in Kanagawa and a bronze bell from a fire watchtower in Ibaraki. They’ll clearly stop at nothing. I fear Hachiko might be on his way to China,” he added.
All right. Sure, it’s possible that scrap metal scavengers took to one of the most public plazas on Earth, covered by a 24-hour NHK camera, to make an extra buck. But then again, cities can get a little carried away by their ideologies.
After all, Boston famously overreacted to a promotional stunt by some Cartoon Network pranksters whose Lite-Brites were mistaken for IED’s. I’m not accusing anyone in the Japanese government or local authorities of any prejudice, but an unnamed source in the media accusing China with no evidence and a reporter parroting it uncritically certainly do paint a picture, don’t they?
UPDATE: Aw, crap. April Fools! This will teach me to go by the date where I am, not where the story is. Apologies to the Japan Times for believing the worst.