A group of foreign YouTubers is under investigation after stealing food and traveling across Japan by bullet train without paying for a ticket.
One of the YouTubers, ‘Fidias’, posted a video under the title ‘I Travelled Across Japan For Free” to his channel, which has nearly 2.4 million subscribers. In the video, he can be seen taking the train from Nagasaki to Aomori without valid tickets – going as far as hiding in a toilet to avoid the ticket collector.
At one point in the video, he also walked into a hotel, pretending to be a guest, to get free food.
In another video uploaded to X, formerly Twitter, he can be heard boasting that he got free food from a five-star Japanese hotel and that ‘[they left] without getting caught and with no problem.’
Another part of the video showed the group begging for money from locals to buy train tickets.
While Fidias’ YouTube followers applauded him for his audacity, the reaction he received from other users was far from positive – with many accusing him and his group of abusing Japan’s hospitality and safety.
On social media, one individual pointed out that ‘another annoying YouTuber had emerged’ and that the group ‘should be arrested.’ Another wrote that ‘[they] don’t want visitors to destroy Japan – one of the safest countries in the world.’
The regional train operator, JR Kyushu, has looked at the YouTube video and will be studying the footage more closely before deciding whether or not to report the group to police.
Shortly after his videos emerged, Fidias uploaded an apology video to his channel, claiming that he should have ‘acquainted himself with Japanese cultural norms’ before filming and posting the videos. He also said that he would ‘do more research [next time] to prevent it from happening again.’
Currently, it’s unclear whether he and his group are still in Japan and when the videos were filmed.
Problems with Inbound Tourism
In recent years, overcrowding at popular tourist destinations, as well as littering, drinking on the street, and other bad behavior, have prompted the Japanese government to introduce measures to prevent over-tourism. According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, bad manners from inbound tourists have had an impact on locals in some areas.
Fidias’ videos came to light after another YouTuber named Johnny Somali was arrested after he live-streamed himself breaking into an Osaka building site. The 23-year-old was subsequently caught and charged with trespassing.
Media reports said he and another tourist from the U.S. broke into a hotel that was near completion and repeatedly yelled ‘Fukushima’ when construction workers told them to leave the area.
His other videos have caused anger in the country as well, including one where he joked about the atomic bombings in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That same month, he was also arrested again for filming and playing loud music inside an Osaka restaurant without permission.