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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

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Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/16 17:06
Was approached by a man dressed in robes the other day in Akihabara, near the station. He said he was traveling and asked that I pray for world peace with him, prompting me to sign a little book of his which was also filled with names of other strangers. Strangely all the names seemed to be spelled with the same handwriting.

He gave me a cheap plastic charm and then asked for donations, showing me what other people had donated...mostly huge numbers like 30,000 yen. I realized it was probably a scam and just gave him 500 yen, which got a startled and disappointing grunt from him before I walked away.

Anyone else seen this guy before? A google search shows that this was a known scam in Tokyo a few years back, even had a picture of the charm I got. 500 yen wasn't really a loss to me, but be careful if you're a tourist as you may have a similar encounter.
by KGhaleon (guest)  

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/16 18:58
I know these guys. I live in Tokyo and go very often to Akiba. These guys are Chinese and pretend to be from Bhutan.
Itfs a scam that has been going on for years. One day they already approached me, I pushed one of them violently and he almost fell. They left very quickly.
The cops donft do anything, you know why? Letfs be frank: all victims are foreigners. Yes, westerners, foreigners, residents or tourists. If there is no Japanese victim, it is OK for the cops.
Useless cops, it makes me angry. I thought one day about creating a website about this but forget about it.
I remember seeing a report at TV one day. I will try to find the video on Youtube

PS: I am sorry for you.
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/16 20:15
I had seen a suspicious monk at Ueno park before.
Buddhist monks never talk to tourists on the street.

The cops donft do anything, you know why? Letfs be frank: all victims are foreigners.
Because tourists can't spend time at police box and the law court.
This scam makes me angry too. And it's a dishonour to the Metropolitan Police Department, of course!
by ajapaneseboy rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/18 22:10
I ran into one on New Year's Day, at the Benzaiten shrine below Tokyo Tower, a few years ago. He offered me a shiny sticker and asked me to put my info in a small book along with other names. When I wrote my donation of Y100 he corrected me and pointed to the other donations of hundreds of thousands. I think you'd be a fool to fall for something like this. When I didn't change my amount he took back the sticker and angrily stormed off.
by sebastian122 rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/20 11:56
Unless someone has made inappropriate physical contact with you, please do not push them violently...
by KarlMarx rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/20 13:07
Well, I was standing next to a friend, talking and laughing when this fake monk coming from nowhere just came between us and tried to force me to accept his "golden Buddha sticker" and requesting me to sign in a form. It was just in front of Messe Sanoh.

I already watched their scam as a spectator. It was one of the victims who told me they were Bhutanese Buddhist monks (the 2 guys did not seem convicted although one gave some money...).

I googled "monks in Bhutan". Well, they are not dressed that way, not that color, not that style and not that shoes (kung-fu style...)

I got angry to be interrupted by this crook and reacted violently. He should be happy I did not punch him in the face. Back home I would have punched him.

PS: That story happened in spring 2005. Nine years after that they are still here and cops are still sleeping. We really need to do something...
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Talk to your embassies 2014/10/20 14:24
I'm a Japanese resident and I've noticed a few of those "monks" and they're always talking to those who are obviously foreign tourists. I don't even think they'd talk to foreign residents, because anyone who is used to Japan would notice that they're not "real" monks.

Of course, you should talk to the Koban about this, but better, people should talk to their Embassy in Japan, because that's the organization that is supposed to take care of the safety and benefit of tourists from their country. The Embassies can then talk to the Japanese police for more patrol.

Meanwhile, I always try not to donate anything unless I truly think I know the organization. If I get approached on a street in my country, or in any country for that matter, I ask for a flyer, go home and do some research, and then when I'm finally sure I go back to donate, or donate on-line. I'm sure most people on the streets ask for donations out of pure goodwill, but you can't be too sure about how organized their bosses are.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/21 01:59
OMG, I am so happy someone posts this. I have been meaning to ask this question on here but kept forgetting to post it or Ifm just got super lazy. I canft believe it fake; I had my doubts about him when he came up to me. Ifd like to believe that every one living in Japan or traveling in Japan is honest and when this guy came up to me I had my doubts about him.

When I was Traveling in Japan in December 2012 to January 2013, I was in Tokyo visiting Kaminarimon. This guy came up to me asking to give a donation. I was like, okay out of everyone around me, you only came up to me. He kept on saying donate for world peace and ask for a donation of 100,000 yen. I give him a crazy look; he showed me his book with people donating 100,000 yen and they sign the book. I said to myself, these people who donated 100,000 yen are fools.

With my limited accounting skills I started to view every name and the amount donated and things were not adding up, 2+2 did not equal 4. I did notice a small amount of donation given, less than a handful and the donation was like 5,000 yen and lower. I can remember that date like it was yesterday. Hell I have the photo where I was standing when he walk up to me.

Sorry, these photos are on my photo bucket account.
I was standing in front of this store taking picture of this motor bike here when he walked up to me.
http://s1353.photobucket.com/user/SeikoKo13/media/Tokyo%20Downtown/
IMG_1538_zpsab5783b7.jpg.html?sort=3&o=15

If youfre facing Kaminarimon, the store is to your left and that where he walked up to me.
http://s1353.photobucket.com/user/SeikoKo13/library/Tokyo%20Asakusa%20Sensoji%20Temple?sort=3&page=1

Anyhow, I did not give him no 100,000 yen; I only gave him my lunch and snack budget which was 2,500 yen, which I kept in my pocket. He kept pushing me for more money, saying for pace and I told him this is all I have, which wasnft true.

When I was in Kyoto I saw monks where people gave money to monk but they didnft walk up to people asking for cash

Photobucket, Photo of monk in kyoto
http://s1353.photobucket.com/user/SeikoKo13/media/Kyoto%20City/IMG_1171_zps2cda7332.jpg.html?sort=3&o=48

Here the funny part, I still have that plastic charm and itfs hanging over my door to my bed room and he gave me a wood like bracelet which I wear every now and then. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

Ifm with you Guest, I will help you in creating this website.
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/21 10:03
I encountered one too. I think it was in Shibuya. My instincts are to not accept anything handed to me on the street but my friend accepted the little golden card thing and was handing over 1000 yen when I noticed. The fraudster pushed for more money but we cut our losses and moved on. Hopefully my friend learned from that.....
by Sioux (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/21 10:51
I got angry to be interrupted by this crook and reacted violently. He should be happy I did not punch him in the face. Back home I would have punched him.

That's still no excuse, and it's hard to take you seriously when you rail against scam artists but advocate assault.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/21 13:23
There are real monks doing "takuhatsu" - with a bowl in his hand and just standing quietly. If you give him some money or food in his bowl, he'll bow to appreciate while chanting sutra.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Ueno_monk.jpg
(Shape and colour of clothes may vary.)

But he never asks or begs.
If someone who looks like a monk approaches you, he's not real but a scam.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/22 00:22
It's easy to blame the police for doing nothing.
But as long people give 2500Yen or so to a guy they do not know anything about is asking for problems. Only a couple of those 'good' persons a day is enough to get by without doing any legal work.
by B. Slager (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/23 19:44
I got targeted by one of these guys outside Harajuku Station about two months ago. Did some sort of blessing routine, handed me a plastic/gold charm and put a bead bracelet on my wrist. Then out came the book to write my name, wish ('World Peace'), and donation. He wanted 10,000 yen, and it had one other name with that amount in the book. I was still in naive mode I guess and ended up giving 1000.

I actually like the bracelet and have worn it since, so I can live with the relatively small cost for that and more importantly, the lesson.
by Starkerr rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/23 23:45
I took a picture of the charm and bracelet that was given to me. I scan it on my job PC today, sorry for the poor quality.

PhotoBucket. Charm and bracelet.
http://s1353.photobucket.com/user/SeikoKo13/media/Other/Stuff_zpsbc6f76cf.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

@B. Slager, I have to disagree with you. Yes, everyone is right, it is the police job to stop these people from scamming tourist, and tourist doesnft know if these scammers are real monks or not. How much money do they make a week, two weeks a month from scamming traveling tourist? This scam also hurts Japan travel economy. That person who donated 100,000 or 10,000 yen now cannot eat or shop at that mom and pop store that makes old school Japanese home cooking or clothing. That mom and pop store located where tourist walk by has to close down because tourist are going go to McDonalds down the street where itfs cheaper because the tourist got scam. Because Japanese police did not stop it, the mom and pop store is Out of Business.

@Starkerr, I agree with you 100%, the bracelet is hot. You said they did some sort of blessing routine. Was it 1 or 2 of them? They really wanted that 10,000yen from you.
by SeikoSKO rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/29 11:07
It's good that this has been posted.

Maybe Japan-Guide needs to add a 'Warnings' section to its 'Travel Essentials'.

Fake monks, mosquitoes, A&E costs etc.
by David (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/10/30 11:48
Good idea. Also add the touts that prey on tourists in Kabukicho and Roppongi.
by asdf (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/11/2 04:31
What's the big deal? don't you guys have people in your home town that try to scam people with all sorts of sob stories ,or try to "give" some crappy stuff then want money for it?

Years ago, close to my home, a guy was standing on the sidewalk, a small plastic container with a spout in one hand. Apparently his truck was a couple of blocks away, and he had no gas in it. He needed to go back home, 30 miles away...X $ would help him...
I laughed and walked away..

Several days later I ran into him again...I stopped, listened to his story and said "you must have slept in your truck these past several days" He looked confused, so I told him that I saw him days ago, same spot..same story.

His face turned bright red..he was so embarrassed..not a good scammer, for sure..

I saw him a 3rd time, told him that if he had walked back home the very first day he ran out of gas, he would be there by now..
He didn't understand..
Never saw him again...moved to another area or got a better con job..
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/11/3 06:50
I think its because it is "religious" in nature and in Japan, where you don't want offend anyone and be more respectful of others that this is an issue. Obviously, the scammers know this and prey on those who don't.

I, too, have been approached by those toting those charms on the Chuo Dori, north of Akiba and on the way to Ameyoko. When I only offered 1000yen, he took it as an insult. When I held my ground and wouldn't budge, he took it reluctantly and was off. A $10 lesson learned.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/11/3 18:39
Thanks for putting this up, I believe that every monk gets treated with suspicion as nobody actually makes it clear what to expect from a fake monk.
by Hoshisato rate this post as useful

Re: Beware, monk scam artists 2014/11/3 21:28
haha, this exact thing happened to me last week on my last day in japan (in shinjuku). he kept pressing me for money but i said 'i didn't have anything' and eventually he gave up.
by earthxsucks (guest) rate this post as useful

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