In 2016, looking ahead to the next 20 years of the city, a new “Shibuya Ward Basic Concept” was formulated. With the countdown as a starting point and with “YOU MAKE SHIBUYA” as a new slogan, Shibuya will go forward into the future with a campaign to disseminate how build a better city for all residents and visitors. The countdown, which kicked off the campaign, was implemented as an effort to bring safely and security to the New Year’s celebrations and to counter social problems at the end of the year. The Metropolitan Police Department restricted traffic to the roads around Shibuya Station, creating a pedestrian-only area, and large-screen displays were set up at 13 separate points throughout the area to reduce congestion around the scramble intersection.
Traffic regulation by the Metropolitan Police Department started at 22:00 on Saturday, December 31. By 22:30, with the roads fully closed to traffic, revelers began to arrive; some dressed up as roosters in tribute to 2017’s zodiac sign, many others with party favors to cheer in the new year. Revelers continued to fill the roads, and even though the temperature was only three degrees, Shibuya was enveloped by the warmth and enthusiasm of New Year’s.
23:00 marked the start of the official countdown event, which employed the large-screen displays around the station. Special sponsor Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited (hereafter referred to as Coca-Cola Japan), who supported Shibuya’s safe and secure New Year’s, were introduced along with sponsors KDDI Corporation, SECOM CO., LTD. and Tokyu Corporation. In the video by Coca-Cola Japan, actress Haruka Ayase appeared. The crowd’s enthusiasm was kicked into high gear as Ayase cried, “it’s almost 2017! Are you having fun? Let’s start the Coca-Cola Countdown! 1,500 seconds to go!” The 1,400-second mark was announced by Olympic gold medal-winning former swimmer Kosuke Kitajima, followed by singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at 1,300 seconds. Finally, the baton was passed to actor Hiroshi Abe at 1,200, working the crowd into howls of excitement. (See individual celebrity comments below.) In addition, at the Shibuya 109 event space, Coca-Cola Japan ran a giveaway and photo space to make the countdown even more exciting.
At 23:45, 15 minutes before the new year, as more and more people appeared, the presentation was handed to members of the Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee, hosted at a rapid tempo by Honorary Shibuya Ward Tourism Association Chairman Tetsuya Bessho and freelance announcer Rio Hirai. After a greeting by Kenji Onishi, Chairman of the Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee and Shibuya Ward Commerce Association, Shibuya Mayor and Vice Chairman of the Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee Ken Hasebe appeared on screen to launch Shibuya’s new campaign slogan, “YOU MAKE SHIBUYA.” In addition, celebrities related to Shibuya, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and others familiar with the city sent their own messages for 2017 to the visitors.
And finally, with only seconds remaining in 2016 and the excitement of the venue at its peak, the 67,000 people gathered at the venue began the countdown. With a shout of “three, two, one, Happy New Year!” the revelers welcomed 2017 with cheers as red lights lit up all around. On the displays, the words “2017” and “SHIBUYA” appeared as thousands of party-goers snapped photos to savor their bright memories of the moment. “I enjoyed doing the countdown at the scramble intersection that represents Tokyo,” said one participants, adding, “it’s wonderful to be able to welcome the New Year with so many people. It was a countdown where Shibuya became one! It was the town’s very first effort, and I’m happy I was here to witness this moment.”
Mayor Ken Hasebe, who brought the countdown to a successful close, said, “my hope was for the countdown to be an event where everyone could have fun in an orderly way, and we were able to execute this. With ‘YOU MAKE SHIBUYA’ as our slogan, we want to aim for an all-new Shibuya.”
- Venue: Around Shibuya station
- Host: Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee (Shibuya Ward, Shibuya Ward Commerce Association, Shibuya Station Area Management Council)
- Support: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- Special Sponsor: Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited
- Sponsors: KDDI Corporation, SECOM CO. LTD., Tokyu Corporation (alphabetical order)
Celebrity and guest comments
Ken Hasebe (Mayor of Shibuya and Vice Chairman of Shibuya Countdown Executive Committee)
“Shibuya is aiming to become a ‘mature international city’ along with London, Paris and New York. To that end, we have set a future image of the city as a ‘city that changes uniqueness into power.’ Our new campaign slogan for promoting this idea is “YOU MAKE SHIBUYA.” Under this slogan, Shibuya Ward welcomes the participation and involvement of all kinds of people in constructing Shibuya’s future together. A lot has happened in 2016, and it is soon coming to an end. What kind of new year will 2017 be? How will people in Shibuya make their dreams come true?”
Yuriko Koike (Governor of Tokyo)
“Soon, this year’s countdown will begin. I’m sure everyone is filled with excitement. With the energy from this crowd, I will continue to push forward next year with all my might. Shibuya is the origin of youth culture in Japan. At the same time, it is a diverse city where you can feel both nature and history. Mayor Hasebe is working hard to make Shibuya better. The scramble intersection of Shibuya has become an icon of Tokyo, and even appeared in the video of the closing ceremony at the Rio Olympics. I sincerely hope this countdown to will continue to disseminate Shibuya’s wonderful bustling spirit worldwide. I pray everyone here at this gathering will have a fruitful new year. Happy New Year’s, everyone!”
Kosuke Kitajima (Olympic Medalist and Former Swimmer)
“Hello everyone, this is Kosuke Kitajima. We have 1,400 seconds to go until the end of the year. The Olympic Games were held this year, and next time, the excitement that captured the hearts of the country is coming straight to Japan! As Coca-Cola’s Chief Olympic Officer, it’s my job to keep that excitement going over the next three years, so let’s cheer on the Olympics together! And of course, let’s have a great time today! Cheers to the new year with Coke!”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (Singer)
“Good evening! This is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Is everyone excited? Having fun? There are 1,300 seconds left to go. Did you leave anything behind? Let’s reflect on the year and look back on great memories. Here’s hoping everyone will have a wonderful 2017. This has been Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! Cheers to the new year with Coke!”