Scenes From The Future
TOKYO, MAY 17, 2022 (LJ) – A statue of the rogue Japanese macaque monkey befriended by many in Tokyo, was unveiled today at Shibuya station in Tokyo.
Nicknamed Maka-Waii, (hat borrower) the female macaque first appeared unattended at Shibuya station in Tokyo on August 20, 2008. After a chase through the station, police surrounded the monkey with green netting, but the monkey escaped the hands of the police, in the process, grabbing a police cap from the head of an officer.
The macaque again dashed through the station, then found her way outside, and, putting on the cop’s cap, smugly sneered at its pursuers and disappeared into the neighborhood.
The monkey was believed to have made it’s way down from Okutama, a mountainous area about 50 kilometers northwest of Tokyo.
The seemingly tame Maka-Waii, had often been spotted – always with her police hat on her head – around Shibuya station. Although she allowed people to get close enough to feed her, she was never caught. Police finally said shoganai, and Maka-Waii went on to become a tourist attraction and neighborhood celebrity.
In addition to handouts, Maka-Waii apparently lived off discarded food from the numerous restaurants in the area.
In February, Maka-Waii was discovered motionless at the base of a children’s slide in a playground next to the Yamanote line tracks, 500 meters from Shibuya station. She was not breathing. Police began an investigation and eventually determined the macaque was dead, probably due to a head-first fall from the top of the slide Her police cap was not found.
The memorial bronze likeness of the cuddly monkey is next to Hachiko, the famous dog who continued to wait for his master at the station, long after the owner had died.
The officer who lost his hat in 2008, who was removed from patrol and assigned to a desk position shortly after the incident, says he is still praying for the safe return of his hat.
August 20, 2008:
Monkey amuses commuters at Shibuya station, gives cops the slip
Monkey eludes net-wielding police at Tokyo station
Related: Cat In Hat Can’t Quit
Photo illustrations by Lets Japan.