An IRL Twitch streamer was harassed, shoved, and allegedly punched by a stranger in Japan simply for filming him in public, causing the streamer to report the incident to Tokyo police.
The laws on filming people publicly in Japan are fairly nuanced, as they are in much of the world. Technically, it is legal for someone to use their camera for photographs and videos at their own discretion when out and about, but there are various instances in which doing so becomes illegal.
One such situation in which the legality of filming becomes much muddier is when making videos for commercial gain, a difficult line to toe as a Twitch streamer since the platform’s presence as a commercial entity is far less cut-and-dry than the shooting of an advertisement or television show.
In this situation, the bilingual Australian streamer ‘mari_kuri’ was outside of what appears to be a supermarket and was confronted by a stranger who seemed familiar with the streamer’s IRL content.
As the man explains, “you are making money,” but that he does not personally appreciate the act of being filmed: “If I see you, I am not enjoying. Because you are always taking a movie and you don’t want somebody taking a movie, because the last time I saw somebody was taking a movie … you run away.”
The stranger’s argument appeared to be that he didn’t want to be filmed and that, therefore, the IRL streamer was making money off of people’s discomfort, which was hypocritical because he had seen mari_kuri “run away” from being filmed in the past. The argument then reached a boiling point when the streamer gave a simple response: “If you don’t want to be filmed, just walk away.”
It was a bizarre argument and one that didn’t reach a happy ending. After his “just walk away” comment was received poorly, mari_kuri was told that he should walk away, and he started to do so before being encroached upon and having his camera grabbed and mangled. At that point, it’s unclear exactly what happened but the streamer claims that he was physically aggressed.
“I don’t like Nigerians grabbing me and grabbing my camera and grabbing my bag, and you know, grabbing my shoulder and punching me while I’m trying to walk around,” he said.
Ultimately, the incident was reported to the police later during the stream, but what happened after the report was filed remains unclear.
As Twitch continues its rise as a monetized platform, it will be interesting to monitor how governments handle the legality of the presently nebulous IRL streaming media, which is one of the website’s more popular forms of content.