Archive for the 'Monkey-Shibuya' Category

Shibuya Monkey Returns?

Shibuya monkey comes back to Tokyo after 2 years in hiding?A monkey that has been romping around parts of Tokyo since Aug. 6 could be the monkey that ran through Tokyo’s Shibuya station on Aug. 20, 2008.

On the morning of August 20, 2008, a macaque monkey scampered into Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Police armed with several meters of green netting and carrying hooped nets surrounded the macaque while it rested on an overhead timetable display. The monkey eluded capture and darted among commuters before escaping into the city. News video of the 2008 Shibuya monkey-chase was broadcast on TV worldwide and posted on TV and newspaper websites.

Macaque monkeys inTokyo, Japan August 2010 Route map Tokyo monkeys sightings August 2010


The first summer of 2010 monkey sightings occurred about 5:50 PM Aug. 4. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department says the monkey was discovered on the roof of a home next to a rice paddy in Nerima Ward. The same day, the monkey was seen in the same area jumping along electric power lines, scaling the walls of homes, eating some grapes in the garden of a house, and loitering in front of an elementary school.

The ape brushed a taxi that was driving down a road in Ikebukuro the morning of the Aug. 5. There were no injuries.

Also on Aug. 5, the macaque was seen in the vicinity of Ikebukuro station in the morning, and it was watched scampering on a road in Shinmachi, Itabashi Ward in the afternoon.

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There is speculation this Japanese macaque is a wild macaque that lived in Chichibu and might have followed a river into the urban area.

On July 23, the Shibuya monkey posted a message on twitter: "so sweety! atsui! matted fur drippng pocari sweat 8:] see yu my go out awgust! annibersery! this !!! keyboard ! stikney!!!"

It is not known why the monkey appeared earlier than Aug. 20.

Shibuya monkey evades police for year

Shibuya station monkey news 2008, Tokyo, JapanMonkey celebrates year of freedom

Where is the monkey? That is the question Tokyo residents are asking today on the one year anniversary of the appearance of the lone roamer monkey of Shibuya station.

On August 20, 2008, a macaque monkey dashed into Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Morning rush hour commuters watched as dozens of police officers arrived and began efforts to capture the ape. The monkey hung around long enough for TV news crews to get there and record video of the scampering monkey.

The macaque was adept at eluding its pursuers and escaped the green butterfly nets of the law. Monkey-chase video was broadcast on TV stations worldwide and posted on TV and newspaper websites.

Where are you monkey-san?

The monkey has been seen several times in different areas of Tokyo since August 2008. The last reported sighting was in October 2008. Television newscasters were wondering if more than one monkey was roaming the city after reports of a monkey on the loose in Itabashi, Tokyo, in early November 2008.

The monkey claims to be living in an internet cafe and has been posting updates since January 2008 under the name "Makawaii" via the social networking service Twitter. We believe the twittering simian resides in Tokyo. However it is unlikely the macaque is doing the writing. We believe the macaque is paying a cyber cafe resident to type the twitter posts.

Monkey may be horny

The summer high temperatures, often over 30 degrees celsius, and the high humidity of Tokyo should not adversely affect the hardy Japanese macaque. In summer, macaques shed their winter coat for a lighter covering of fur. Macaques have a lifespan of over thirty years.

Taro Suzuki, Chief Profiler of the Missing Monkey Unit of the Association of Primates Special Hunting Team has been profiling the loose macaque. He says these monkeys are innately group oriented. "Without a female companion Makawaii is most certainly craving companionship. No doubt he is a loveless monkey searching for a troop. Therefore the isolation has probably caused the lonley macaque to spank the monkey frequently," Suzuki said. "The Shibuya monkey is also suffering from dementia," he added.

The Shibuya monkey of Tokyo may be selling drugs in Roppongi. Monkey armed and dangerous

Tokyo police believe the wayward ape has turned to crime in order to survive. "It is likely the monkey is now disguising itself as a foreigner in Roppongi and is pushing drugs," said a police source who declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the subject. "We must catch the monkey soon in order to prevent evil acts, such as late-night naked romping in a park," the source said.

A blogger in Japan concurs on the monkey’s criminal intent. "I think it will become evident that Noriko Sakai, the singer and actress arrested on suspicion of possessing stimulant drugs, was in fact covering for the monkey", said Nick at JapanSoc. "Rather than turn him over to the authorities when they discovered his hidden stash of narcotics in Sakai’s home, they fled to a safe treehouse in the mountains before she eventually gave herself up and claimed the drugs as her own," he said.


Another blogger in Japan believes the monkey is dead meat. This barbecue meat image was provided by Lee at Loneleeplanet.

 Other bloggers in Japan contacted by Lets Japan refused to speculate on the macaque’s status citing the risk of a police request for a urine drug screening test.

Sources report police dispatched investigators to Karuizawa and Nikko National Park to search known monkey hangouts in order to get a lead on the lawbreaking ape.

Police believe the monkey is preparing to stroll through Shibuya station again soon. Police sources cite recent activity on the monkey’s credit card. In addition to charges for Shinkansen bullet train "green car" tickets to Karuizawa and Nikko, the macaque had also been shopping in Shibuya. "The monkey purchased underwear at a Shibuya department store and wire cutters at a Shibuya hardware store. We think the monkey plans to hide the cutters in its underpants and cut our green nets if caught," a source said. "It is a clever monkey," the source added.

Police artist sketch of Tokyo Shibuya macaque monkey wearing underpants disguise.

Officials refused comment on rumors a DNA test had been performed on a straw taken from a half-eaten banana found on the ground in front of a Shibuya produce store. Sources say the banana-straw DNA matched the DNA of monkey hair retrieved from Shibuya station in August 2008.

Monkey DNA test performed on straw in banana in Tokyo, Japan Police tested straw for macaque DNA in Tokyo, Japan


Tokyo police continue to advise against getting close to the monkey. "If you see this masked, drug-dealing, bloomer-wearing, gal-groping, elderly-swindling, hidden-camera-picture-taking fugitive macaque, do not approach it," warn police.

Police expressed their determination to catch the monkey. "He stole an officer’s hat during the chase last year," said one officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. "No one steals a cop’s hat and gets away with it. Especially a monkey."

Mask May Hide Monkey Mischief

Masked macaque could attack Tokyo police handout monkey H1N1 flu wanted poster Police are warning Tokyo residents the wild Shibuya monkey may use the mass mask H1N1 flu hysteria to venture out and cause trouble. Police say if the monkey puts on a mask, it will be easier for the simian to slip out of its hideout and blend in with mask-wearing citizens.

The macaque monkey turned up unescorted in Shibuya train station in Tokyo the morning of August 20, 2008. Rush hour crowds scattered as the monkey scampered around the station. The monkey rested atop a timetable sign while cops below stretched green netting to trap the macaque. But the monkey was too quick for the cops and ran out of the station.

The monkey, nicknamed "Makawaii", has been seen in the Tokyo city limits on several occasions. It’s believed the monkey has been posing as a "net cafe refugee" and living in an internet cafe in Tokyo. Messages have been regularly posted by "Makawaii" on the internet messaging service Twitter. The monkey claims it is being given a net cafe cubicle free of rent in return for doing janitorial work at the outlet.

Tokyo cops are distributing an updated Masked Monkey Most Wanted poster door-to-door. The A4-size handout shows 4 computer-enhanced images of the mask-wearing monkey. The handout also include tips on how to spot a sick monkey. Police say the monkey has probably been indoors for several months and is likely to wildly celebrate any time spent outdoors by drinking too much beer and sake, and possibly stripping and chattering loudly in a city park. Officials are advising citizens to carry green netting at all times, and to report any monkey-like mischief.

Translation of the police handout, from top:
Wanted ! The Shibuya monkey might wear a flu mask! *Computer image. Symptoms of flu in macaque monkeys. Weight loss. Delusional. Paranoia. Call 110 if you see this monkey!

news Japan reports 135 swine flu cases, closes schools
Japan Swine Flu Cases Top 100; Schools Shut, Workers Sent Home

Tokyo Monkey Maybe Moved To Osaka

Monkey in Osaka, Ota city may be the Shibuya monkey.A monkey scampered through a residential neighborhood in Ibaraki City, Osaka prefecture, and ate a dried persimmon.

A passerby called police around 2:30 p.m. Feb. 13. "There is a big ape in the East Ota neighborhood," the woman told police. The Japanese macaque monkey snacked while police kept watch. The police pursued the monkey as it scampered along rooftops and power lines.

Around 5 p.m., the monkey jumped onto the Hankyu Kyoto Line railroad tracks and fled across the border into the Takatsuki City limits. The police lost sight of the monkey.

It is unclear if the Ibaraki City monkey is, or is related to, the Tokyo Shibuya monkey. If the Shibuya monkey travelled to Ibaraki City by train, it would have had to pass unnoticed through several stations, a difficult task for a dirty, smelly, yen-less, stressed monkey.

Route of monkey escape in Ota city, Japan The appearance of a second monkey running wild in an urban area in Japan could be cause for concern. The Shibuya monkey apparently is stealing food and supplies. The Ibaraki City monkey stole a persimmon. The Shibuya monkey uses Tokyo train routes without paying fares. The Ibaraki City monkey also utilized public transportation facilities. An influx of lawbreaking, mass-transit-riding impish monkeys would divert police from other efforts, such as their never-ending campaign to inform every person over the age of 65, in person, twice, about frauds targeting the elderly.

The Ibaraki City monkey is on the police Most Wanted list for fruit theft now. Scientific studies have proven that stealing persimmons leads to a desire for stronger fruit – fresh ume and aomikan for example. The monkey could eventually become addicted to ginnan nuts.

Perhaps police have reason to worry. If the Ibaraki monkey teams with the Shibuya monkey, it would be another organized crime gang to be put down. The monkeys could take over the illegal ginnan nut trade.

We don’t believe the lovable Shibuya monkey could turn to a life of crime. However, if the two meet, the influence of the Ibaraki monkey may be too strong. Monkeys high on wild ginnan may dare to call senior citizens, convince them a relative is a monkey, and swindle cash for the monkey’s ultimate fix: bananas.

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Missing Monkey Unit Following Twitter Chimp

Police distribute Wanted posters about the Shibuya monkey to elderly in Japan. The macaque monkey that appeared unescorted at Shibuya train station in Tokyo in August 2008 remains free. The monkey outsmarted police and escaped into the city. Cops have been responding to the occasional monkey-sighting, but have failed to catch the chimp.

The monkey is now living in an internet cafe. The little simian was last seen in Tokyo Nov. 6, 2008. A chimp claiming to be the Shibuya monkey "Makawaii" has been posting updates via Twitter.

A primate specialist says monkeys that escape into urban areas become stressed and usually seek a quick return to their quiet hometowns. Taro Suzuki, Chief Profiler of the Missing Monkey Unit of the Association of Primates Special Hunting Team says monkeys that become lost in a city will make great efforts to return home. Distrusting public transportation, loose monkeys often hitchhike home.

Monkey expert in Japan studied Shibuya macaque. Suzuki believes the Shibuya monkey was traumatized by the police attempts to catch the monkey. "As the nets were green, the monkey has probably developed a phobia about green. The countryside has much greenery and the monkey is afraid of returning to a forested area," the APSHT profiler said.

A review of photos of the monkey confirms Suzuki’s theory. The macaque is pictured in gray areas. One video shows the monkey fleeing from greenery in Tokyo.

Suzuki also studied Makawaii’s Twitter post archive. On Jan. 15, the monkey posted "Designing futur netcafe-it will be tiled room and have concret flors for ez cleening with hose". On Jan. 20, "jumping around and bouncing off the walls!!". On Jan. 27, the monkey wrote "hding under desk chewing fingernails."

"My analysis of the the monkey-posts indicates the monkey is suffering from dementia. The Shibuya monkey has taken shelter in the safety and comfort of an internet cafe. I recommend this as short term solution. As you can see, the confined space and fear of green is having a detrimental effect. I hope the monkey seeks treatment soon," Suzuki said.

Tokyo police would not comment on efforts to catch the monkey. Lets Japan has learned computer security experts are using traceroute data to locate the monkey. A source says the missing monkey appears to be using off-the-shelf software to create phantom computers to mask the source internet protocol address. Police are also using coordinates from spy satellites.

Lets Japan asked passers-by for ideas about apprehending the Shibuya monkey.
How do you catch a monkey?

I will spank the monkey.
He should stay indoors. It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
I’d like to get my stinking paws on that damned dirty ape!
A drunken donkey will not remember the monkeys bite.

Shibuya Monkey Has Internet Café Home Address

Tokyo Shibuya macaque monkey enters internet cafe.


The Shibuya monkey is living in an internet café. These images and a video clip from a cell phone camera were sent anonymously to Lets Japan. These photos show the monkey entering a cyber café.

The story of the Tokyo Shibuya monkey began August 20, 2008, when the unaccompanied Japanese macaque monkey ran wild in Shibuya train station during morning rush hour. Surprised commuters gaped at the ape as it led dozens of cops and reporters on a chase through the station, then raced outside and outran its pursuers.

The monkey has been seen several times in different areas of Tokyo. In early November 2008, TV newscasters were wondering if more than one monkey was roaming the city.

The January glimpse of the monkey in front of the net café is the first report of the mini-macaque in 2009. It has also been learned the monkey - nicknamed Makawaii by the media - is using the popular internet social messaging service Twitter. We have been following the monkey’s writings for several days. According to its Twitter posts, the monkey is out searching for food and sightseeing during the day and returns to its rented PC-and-sleep-space at night. Makawaii also seems to watch a lot of Japanese television and often plays online games. The ape displays an odd sense of humor, and may be slightly crazy.

Tokyo police continue to search for the monkey. Now the cops can also follow Macawaii on Twitter. related: Cyber cafe offers home to homeless

Top Japan Monthly Laughs of 2008

Woman secretlylives in man's closet in JapanJanuary
A letter a Kawasaki schoolgirl sent aloft by balloon in 1993 was found fastened to a fish by a fisherman off Choshi port,150 kilometers away from where the balloon was launched.

A 39-year-old man wearing a high school girl’s uniform and a long wig loitered near a Saitama high school and was arrested for trespassing and avoiding police by trying to blend into a group of teenagers on school grounds.

Cartoon robo-cat Doraemon named Japan’s "anime ambassador".

A city council employee in Kinokawa, Japan makes 780,000 hits on porn websites in nine months, on his office computer.

Homeless woman lived in man’s closet for year. Disappearing food leads to discovery in home of man who thought he lived alone.

Investigation finds "pub cabs" popular as hundreds of government bureaucrats routinely receive free beer, snacks and sometimes cash from taxi drivers competing for late-night business from public servants.

Dummy clown mascot "Kuidaore Taro" makes final appearance as 59-year-old Osaka restaurant goes out of business.

Wild macaque monkey causes chaos during morning rush hour at Tokyo’s Shibuya station.



(1) The Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare plans to set up counters in all prefectures and large cities to offer counseling to "hikikomori" – people who suffer from a kind of agoraphobia and who further isolate themselves from society.

Hikinomori agoraphobia counseling counter in Japan (2) Fifteen officers all fail to realize "corpse" wrapped in plastic found in forest was actually a life-sized sex doll.

(3) Two employees of Japanese confectionery company open can of red-bean paste, notice paste has strange odor, decide to eat some to check the quality, then suffer numbness in limbs, and are rushed to hospital.

(1) British tourist swims naked in the moat of Imperial Palace then leads cops on foot chase around palace grounds.

(2) A camera-police-hotline-alarm-equipped Coca-Cola vending machine is installed in a park in Toyohashi, Japan, and is vandalized three days later.
British tourist swims nude in Japan Imperial Palace moat. Security Coca Cola Coke vending machine has camera, alarm, light in Japan


Man releases hundreds of beetle larvae inside moving express train "to see women get scared and shake their legs.”
Artist's conception of beetle larvae on a train in Japan.December
Japan police cancel plan to fine drivers aged 75 or older who fail to display a maple-leaf-shaped sticker that indicates to other drivers that they are elderly. Some elderly have said the sticker resembles a dead leaf, and police will also consider redesign of the sticker.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Shibuya Monkey

Finding the perfect gift for the monkey in your life is always a challenge. It’s especially difficult when the monkey is on the Tokyo police department’s Most Wanted list. How are you going to get that gift to the monkey while the monkey is being chased by cops? It’s not like the simian safe houses are listed in the phonebook. But this cute little bundle of fur and speed who ran through Shibuya station last summer has brought us so much joy. We can’t forget our little macaque elf who is now all alone on the streets of Tokyo. So here’s our list of ideas for presents for "our" monkey, and yours…

Tokyo Japan Shibuya wild monkey celebrates Christmas 2008.

"I suggest an "Omawari-san Navi", the latest police detector for monkeys."
From Nick at JapanSoc .

Omawari-san police navigation GPS in Tokyo finds cops for monkey..
Keiko suggests "Three day trip to Nikko." Keiko adds "Watch this funny movie! Monkey attacks tourists in countryside." (Ed. - No relation to the kindly Shibuya monkey we’re sure).

"The monkey is in need of some direction and there is only one role model for him. For Christmas I would get him the following: ‘Monkey’." (What is "Monkey"? Watch the video.) submitted by Danielle from Narrative Disorder.

Monkey Japanese TV program from the 1980s.Yoko says: "Gift ne…staying at Onsen hotel. Escape from big city!!(???)"

"How about a map so he can find his way back to his forest?" Suggested by an englishman in osaka.

"A backpack in the form of a tiny, stuffed, Tokyo policeman to keep his yama imo in…" Suggested by Digital World Tokyo.

And from the staff (me) here at Lets Japan:
A gift card for a lifetime supply of bananas valid at all supermarkets and green grocers in Japan.


Police backpack for monkey in Japan holds warm potato. Banana point card for Tokyo wild monkey.

101 Monkey’s Days

1010 days of Shibuya Tokyo Japan monkey photosThe little monkey that has caused so much trouble in Tokyo since August has now been running loose for 101 days. The last reported sighting of the Japanese macaque was on Nov. 6 in  Itabashi, Tokyo.

The adventuresome wild monkey first appeared in Tokyo’s Shibuya train station the morning of Aug. 20. The lone simian caused a ruckus as it dashed through the rush hour crowds, then relaxed out of reach while cops and reporters gathered. The police efforts to net the monkey failed, and the macaque outran its pursuers and escaped into the metropolis.

The monkey has been spotted numerous times, and seems to favor the attractions inside the Yamanote train line, which circles central Tokyo.

Police continue to investigate reports of loose monkeys in the city. Sightings are regularly reported on Japan TV news programs. The initial August new reports and monkey-chase videos were distributed worldwide. (See monkey timeline.)

Temperatures can dip to 1 degree Celsius during the winter in Tokyo. If the Shibuya monkey is of the northern Japan tribe, the monkey will now have grown a heavy winter coat of hair.

Tokyo monkey grows thick coat of fur for winter.

Food sources for the monkey may be scarce in Tokyo in the colder months. Our monkey friend may have been eating heavily in the past 100 days in order to increase body fat.

Monkey in Tokyo may have gotten fatAdditionally, the Japan banana shortage is likely frustrating the monkey.

This holiday season, if you have some extra buds and bark, please carry it with you. If you see the monkey, please feed it.



Three Months Of Monkey Madness

Monkey uses Yamanote train line in Tokkyo, Japan.A wild monkey has been loose in Tokyo for three months. On Aug. 20 the Japanese macaque appeared in Shibuya station in Tokyo. Morning rush hour commuters cleared a path for more than 30 net-carrying cops who arrived to capture the ape. The monkey, then perched atop a ceiling-mounted timetable display, calmly watched the police cordon off the area. The monkey eluded the police and fled the scene as TV crews and cops chased the monkey. The monkey pursuit video and the story was reported worldwide.

The monkey has been spotted several times in the Tokyo city limits. Witnesses have provided grainy  video suggestive of UFO and Bigfoot images. Television news reporters have wondered if more than one wild monkey is running around Tokyo. (Monkey timeline)

Meanwhile, the monkey seems to be enjoying the sights of the city. A Lets Japan review of monkey sightings indicates the macaque has stayed within the Yamanote railway loop line, which circles central Tokyo. (see diagram).


Shibuya station is on the Yamanote line. Lets Japan suggests the monkey is using the Yamanote line to get around the city.

Trains in Tokyo are usually packed with commuters during the morning and evening rush hours. A small monkey could easily travel unnoticed. The monkey is small enough to pass under the gates of the ticket wickets, so a PASMO card would not be necessary.

Riding a train without paying is illegal. However, the monkey has already broken several city and national laws. The infractions include failure to be leashed, utilizing a railway without the supervision of an adult ape, disobeying police orders to halt, and fraudulenty claiming a public park as a home address. Additionally, Lets Japan believes the monkey also grabbed a police cap from an officer’s head Aug. 20, which would be a charge of theft of official property.

Shibuya monkey and ticket wicket height, Tokyo, Japan.School children in Tokyo, JapanDressing as an elementary school student – with large cap and knapsack – would allow the money to blend in with the crowds. Tokyo police have recently begun asking school kids to remove their hats for identity checks.

Finding one’s way around Tokyo can be challenging for newcomers. But our monkey friend has learned quickly. The macaque seems to be enjoying its fame and exploring the neighborhoods along the loop line.

Bad Time To Be A Monkey In The City

In October a widely-viewed TV program reported that a banana-based diet will increase weight loss. Supermarkets in Japan were soon reporting banana shortages, and banana prices increased. Yes, stores had no bananas. Without easy access to bananas, a rogue urban monkey could become distraught, and violent.

Shibuya Monkey Desperate?

Because of the monkey threat, police warned greengrocers to watch their storefront banana displays. Some vendors have their bananas under 24-hour armed guard. Grocery employees are checking ID’s to be sure only humans purchase bananas. Some outlets allow only one banana per human.

A specialist who studies primates predicts that without easy access to sidewalk banana displays, the Shibuya monkey will be forced to turn itself in or face starvation. The scholar urged the monkey to give up. "We’ll do our best to provide fresh bananas to you," he said. "And as a side benefit, you will lose some of your monkey fat." If the monkey is sentenced to prison, according to Japanese jail rules, special diet needs of inmates, including primates, must be provided.

Toky's Shibuya stationmonkey, August 20, 2008.A lack of the monkey’s favorite fruit at easy-to-reach sidewalk produce stands could lead the monkey – or monkeys – to leave the city. Unable to adjust to different foods, our little monkey friend may become frustrated and desire to return to the forest on the outskirts of the metropolitan area.

Give Monkey Space

If the monkey begins a journey home, it’s likely more monkey sightings will be reported.

If you spot the monkey, keep a safe distance. A hungry wild urban homeless monkey on the lam may be delusional and incoherent. On trains, please give your seat to the monkey, so the monkey does not have to hang from a hand strap. Pregnant women and the elderly should also make room for the monkey. Thank you for your understanding.


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