What happened?

Recently in Japan, a video of a crime at a sushi chain restaurant has been making headlines.

At Hamazushi, wasabi was put on sushi ordered by others without permission. Since the wasabi was placed on the sushi as it was flowing down the lane, eaters had no idea who had actually committed the crime.

Another video posted on instagram by a Japanese high school student at Sushiro. The video shows the young man licking a soy sauce bottle and teacups used as self-service and putting them back where they were. 

After that, junior high school student sprays alcohol spray for hand sanitizer on sushi which is for someone at Kurazushi. The alcohol, of course, is not edible and may cause bodily harm.

The fact that these properties such as soy source and cups, which users trusted were clean, could have been possibly dirty, contributed to the credibility fallout. The total market value of the company was damaged by 18 billion yen (4.5 billion baht).

The video of Sushiro got particular much attention. The main difference from previous sushi terrorism is that the prank was not against the sushi, but against what was around it such as teacups. Sometimes you can tell visually or by smell that something has been done to sushi, but people were shocked because they believed the items everyone used were safe.

These crisis has been called “Sushi Terrorism” in Japan.

【Video Links】:

What is the matter?

This is because they underestimated the potential of social networking sites.

One of them posted the video on Instagram “stories”, and deleted it soon. He might thought only their followers could see it. But one of their followers leaked it and now it has spread around the world. 

The video of Sushiro now has 40 million views. This is the power of the Internet. He just wanted to get the attention from a few followers, but unexpectedly, they were widespread.

In the social networking society, sometimes “extreme content” attracts people’s attention. Licking itself is surely disgusting, but technically it is not illegal. When the act causes damage to the company, it can be a crime. The line between interesting content and immorality is blurred. This case is exposed because it filmed and posted on the internet. 

Would he have done the things he did even if the Internet did not exist in this world? I think he would not.

Issues of Punishment

Another problem is that most of them who committed the crimes were underage, and their actions were first got to society’s attention because they posted videos.

Japan has laws regarding crimes committed by young people. According to the law, those under 14 years of age are considered to lack the capacities to carry out the punishment. In the case of Sushiro, he was 17 years old. 17-year-olds are considered halfway between adults and children, and may be penalized like adults or placed on probation, as in juvenile law. How the company (Sushiro) will deal with the issue is a point of controversy.

Some argue that as long as he uses the Internet like any other user, he should be punished in the same way as any other adult. 

On the other hand, some say that he is not yet mature enough and that a charge for damages for defamation is far too heavy as a penalty.

In 2013, a university student working at a private restaurant posted an inappropriate video on Twitter. The content was that he jumped into a dish washer. He worked as a part-timer at that time. A part-time job is called “baito” in Japanese. From there, this phenomenon was named “baito terrorism” which means the crime committed by part-timer.

The restaurant was blamed, and as a result, it had to be closed forever.

The owner of the restaurant filed a lawsuit and claimed about 4 million baht as damage, which ended up being only about 500,000 baht in the judgment.

The main reason of this judgement was that the owner could not prove a evidence how the video directly influenced financial difficulties.

As with these sushi terrorisms, it will be also difficult to prove whether their posts are really related to the loss of customers. They are too young to have the ability to pay compensation, which ultimately results in a huge loss for the company.

What has changed?

There are 2 things changed after “Sushi Terrorism”

The first thing is the new equipment added to the chain to try to control such crimes.

The second thing is their life.

【New Equipment】

Kurazushi has installed AI cameras at each table to monitor the lanes where sushi is flowing and the customers behaviors. These are new crimes with not much previous examples. Even with the help of AI, it is difficult to distinguish between criminal and normal behavior. We are monitored the entire time we eat at a sushi chain restaurant. Which means our privacy is exposed.

Another sushi chains (Hamazushi) have abandoned the whole lane system and replaced it with a system where only what you order on a tablet is delivered to your table. If sushi is flown on a conveyor belt, there is a possibility that someone could misbehave before it gets to you.

Sushi chain restaurants are called “kaiten-zushi,” and “kaiten” means to go around in circles. Hamazushi has completely quit serving rotated sushi, so the name and the business system are no longer quite the same.

A few seconds of video can force a service to dramatically change. 

【His life】

The boy in the Sushiro video did not take that act seriously. Besides, he had no idea of the impact after that spread. This attitude evoked even greater criticism as it aroused the emotions of the viewers.

The right to be forgotten is not yet guaranteed in Japan, and no court decision has been approved either. you can see Japan is a society that values public welfare; everyone’s happiness over privacy. The right to be forgotten depends on whether the following three points are found.

  1. The impact of the content of the crime, the social situation of the time period and how it was changed by the incident
  2. The strong social criticism it has received
  3. Whether it is necessary to leave it on the Internet to prevent possible future crimes. 

Those mean that their actions are likely to remain on record on the Internet. 

In addition, Japan is a society of villages

The image of village society

This is a term used in Japan to describe a society in which people monitored each other in order to prevent crime. Since ancient times when rice cultivation was practiced, there have been many opportunities to work in groups, and there was a system of taking collective responsibility.

This characteristic is still very much in practice.


1. When they are looking for a job, interviewers trace their criminal history and search the Internet. Because their information is left there, they tend not to get jobs as a result. 

2. The rumor of the case makes it difficult to continue living in an area for people who have committed a crime. It means even if he has already served his sentence or paid money to the company, he will be labeled as a criminal for the rest of his life.

The sushi terrorism videos went viral instantly, and viewers quickly identified their backgrounds, ages, and even the schools they went to. Even if they are not punished justly, they certainly have a harder time going in Japan as a collectivist country.

What Can We Do?

I said these attacking company by some posts are recent crimes, but it is true that such crimes have been consistently talked about since 2013, and 2018, and then 2023. It is still an immature crime compared to other crimes such as murder and robbery. But 10 years is not a short time.

The Internet is increasingly part of our lives and inseparable. Sadly, we can expect crimes like this to continue to happen in the future, as companies suffer from such video postings. Even a single short video can have a huge impact on society.

The solution is to quickly establish clear penalties for these inappropriate activities and for posting them. Some say “the old days were good,” but we can no longer go back to the past, so we have no choice but to build new rules and systems.

Importantly, we need to consider how the content of post will be perceived by people. 

So, What Do You Think?

Have you ever seen a video like this before?

Do such inappropriate videos and crimes exist in your country?

If yes, do you think they are being punished appropriately?

Even if they are underage, should they be responsible for my postings as long as I use the Internet?

Do you think the person filming is also responsible?

If you have any thoughts, please write them in the comments!