Shibuya’s next big screen to rival basketball court

AFP-JIJI

Tokyo’s renowned Shibuya scramble crossing, where up to 3,000 people merge into a seething mass of humanity every time the lights change, will soon get the nation’s largest advertising screen, the company behind the project said.

The crossing is a visual shorthand for crowded Tokyo and is beloved of documentary makers and movie directors. It already has several big TV screens.

The new one will dwarf them all with a whopping 420 sq. meters of moving pictures rendered on a machine the size of a basketball court.

“It will be the largest LED ad screen set up outdoors in Japan,” said a spokeswoman for Hit Co. “It was made possible by reducing the weight to about three-fifths of a conventional screen.”

The screen will sit opposite the statue of the dog Hachiko, a popular meeting place for Tokyo’s young.

It will be 17.3 meters tall and 24.3 meters wide, and will go into service June 1 after a ceremony next week.

The Shibuya scramble crossing turns all traffic lights red simultaneously and allows pedestrians to cross in any direction, including diagonally.

Around 500,000 people use it every day. It is adjacent to a major train station in Tokyo’s bastion of youth culture and one of the city’s best known landmarks.

Its cinematic appearances include the 2003 film “Lost in Translation,” when a young Scarlett Johansson wandered through the crowds.

The crossing was used in a campaign by NTT Docomo Inc. in late March to highlight the risks of using smartphones while walking.

The computer-enhanced video clip generated a buzz on the Internet by showing that if 1,500 pedestrians entered the crossing while texting, only 36 percent would make it to the other side because so many would bump into each other or fall.