For those of you who do or don’t know, Mario Kart in Tokyo (Now “Street Kart Tokyo Bay”) has become a huge thing for foreign tourists over the last several years.
It’s as simple as it looks – you cosplay as one of Mario Kart’s characters (Mario, Yoshi, etc.) and drive through Tokyo on a street kart. If you have a valid Japanese License, International drivers permit, or a SOFA license, you are good to go! How can this be not fun, right?
But the sad truth is that the local Japanese people do not necessarily welcome it.
One issue has been safety. Many locals complain that the drivers of the karts have been violating various traffic rules and thus creating dangers on the public roads. Some tourists who have tried the karting complain that they were more or less scared driving at over 30 mph, not wearing seatbelts nor helmets.
Another problem is that this operating company (former “MariKar”) was infringing Nintendo’s copyright for years since 2016 until it eventually lost the lawsuit in late 2018.
This time, the Tokyo District Court ruled in Nintendo’s favor. The court ordered MariCar to stop its costume rentals and pay damages to Nintendo.
Nintendo initially didn’t care, but after a while, many unhappy locals who misunderstood that Nintendo ran this karting business, started to make complaints. So, Nintendo had no choice but started to take actions (and yes guess it right, many Japanese people are sympathetic toward Nintendo).
So as of July 2019, you can’t wear costumes of Mario Kart’s characters anymore. That’s terrible news for Mario Kart fans, but you can still enjoy the karting itself.
While it’s been controversial, Tokyo needs crazy activities like this to attract more tourists. So when you ride on a kart, hope you’ll follow the instructions and enjoy a safe ride!
By Ryu Tokyo