Man Pleads Guilty over Kura Sushi Prank Video

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Kura Sushi restaurant

A 21-year-old man admitted Thursday to a charge of disrupting business in February by filming disturbing behavior at a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in Nagoya and posting the video on social media.

At the first trial hearing in the Nagoya District Court, the painter from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, also admitted to a charge of kidnapping for taking a girl around to different prefectures to make money.

In an opening statement, prosecutors claimed that the man wanted to “do something funny” at the Kura Sushi Nagoya Sakae restaurant in the city’s Naka Ward, having been inspired by a problematic trend in which social media users post videos of disturbing behavior at restaurants. The man — along with a man and a woman he met via social media — took a video of himself putting the spout of a soy sauce bottle to his mouth as if drinking from it and then posted the video on social media, the prosecutors said.

The video had about 70,000 views and triggered intense criticism. The restaurant was forced to dispose of the contents of all 97 soy sauce bottles in the store and disinfect the boxes containing pickled ginger and wasabi. It claimed that it spent at least ¥570,000 in labor costs alone.

Separately, prosecutors said that the man met a girl in Tokyo and took her around Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures from December of last year to March, luring her in by saying she could make a living doing compensated dating in Nagoya.

The man told media on the day, “I deeply regret that I have caused trouble for so many people.”