Warriors against Trash | God's World News

Warriors against Trash

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    Keisuke Naka and Ikki Goto, Gomihiroi Samurai members, pose for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan, on November 1, 2023. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
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    Keisuke Naka and Ikki Goto pick up trash in a parking lot in Tokyo, Japan. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
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    The Gomihiroi Samurai attract attention with their stylish moves. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
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    The street performers hope to make people smile while drawing attention to the need to pick up and prevent litter. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
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    The performers use their trash-picking tongs like swords. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
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Samurai roam the streets of Tokyo, Japan. These aren’t the elite warriors of medieval Japan. These are modern versions. They wield tongs instead of swords. Dressed in fedoras and durable denim kimonos, they toss litter into baskets on their backs with flourish.

The samurai are street performers. Their group is known as Gomihiroi (go-mee-hee-doi) Samurai, or “trash-picking samurai.” The samurai have attracted a large fan base. More than 800,000 viewers follow their adventures on social media. Their videos feature epic music, dramatic camera effects, and the fighters’ stylish moves.

“If people are paying attention to our performance because they think it’s fun, they might as well start paying attention to the trash problem itself,” says Keisuke Naka as he clears an area under a large sign reading “No Littering.”

While Japan is famed overseas for its cleanliness, that image is only partly true, adds Naka. He has been a trash-picking samurai for seven years. He gathers empty cans, plastic bottles, and cigarette butts.

In a 2019 interview with Nion, samurai Rikiya Takahashi said that the street performers “hope to make people smile, and believe this will cleanse both their minds and their cities.” He added, “We perform only with the hope that people will think the act of picking up trash is cool.”

Tokyo residents say the garbage gatherers make a difference.

Naruhito Miyasaka is a college student who grew up and lives in the area in which Naka collects waste. He tells how the trash problem was previously so bad that people saw rats scampering amid the rubbish at night.

Junya Kakihara, a restaurant owner, says the performances led him to pay more attention to the problem. “I tell people not to litter when they are about to do so,” he explains.

Naka says, “Right now we have three members in Tokyo, two in Los Angeles, [California,] and also one member of the first generation in Hokkaido Prefecture. Members in Tokyo dress up as samurai and perform trash-picking in Japanese samurai style five times a week.”

Christians know that good works, such as cleaning up a neighborhood or being kind to others, don’t earn us salvation. But as we become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, we seek to glorify Him with our good deeds. Consider how can you serve the people around you—and maybe even make it look cool.

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5:16

Why? Finding creative ways to do good can raise awareness and improve attitudes about doing lowly tasks.

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