Don’t get hurt in Tokyo! 6 videos of people not moving out of the way for an ambulance in Japan

Japan may be seen as a country full of nice people, but sometimes they’re just nice to you because you’re judging and expecting them to behave respectfully. This is especially true in bigger prefectures like Tokyo, Osaka, and Shibuya. The moment they have some anonymity in a crowd, they may show their true identities.

Please note that this is behavior seen in some of the most crowded streets in Japan’s bigger cities, and does not reflect all of Japan.

The below videos demonstrate this behavior in a way that’s unimaginable for many Americans, and perhaps people of other nationalities as well (please feel free to comment with your insights). Even Japanese commenters are lambasting the display, pointing out that those in the big cities as especially awful, and that this rarely happens elsewhere.

An ambulance driver announces, “I’m sorry, please clear the way for the ambulance,”; you practically have to apologize to get anywhere:

An ambulance is blocked by a wall of people who ignore the ambulance and its request to clear the path:

Here’s the first video, in which an ambulance has difficulty crossing an intersection due to cars not moving out of the way and stopping:

Even worse is the video below, with two ambulance vehicles trying to cross a pedestrian intersection, in which no one moves out of the way:

Here’s another example of a crosswalk:

A group of young women saunter over and a man rushing to make it across, as if he has to hurry:

However, not all hope is lost. This man helps another to stop even when it was their turn to walk when an ambulance approaches:

Crowd mentality is still strong in Japan, as individualism is sometimes  suppressed or frowned upon. “They’re not moving out of the way, that means I’m not wrong” is a common thought, and it’s rare to see a hero amongst a crowd. From a driver’s perspective, some just don’t want to upset the car behind them if they stop or slow down for an ambulance. Perhaps their views will change once they or their relatives get into an accident!


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