“Unavoidable circumstances” close Tokyo’s Sega Ikebukuro Gigo arcade after 28 years

After 28 years of success, Tokyo’s iconic arcade store Sega Ikebukuro Gigo has closed its doors to locals and tourists alike.

Through Twitter, Sega Ikebukuro Gigo made the announcement a month ago that it was officially closing down on the 20th of September this year. Unfortunately, that day has now passed and an era has been brought to an end.

After having opened in July of 1993, the Sega arcade’s exterior changed at fairly regular intervals over the years and became a local landmark. Tourists began to flock to the building, but with the current pandemic, many have missed their chance to visit, let alone return.

sonic outside sega ikebukuro gigo
Image: @SEGA_ikebukuro via Twitter

Out of respect to the arcade’s success, Sega held a ceremony for the occasion. A sign out front read “Thank you for 28 years” in Japanese and employees sported the same message on their shirts for the day. On the store’s loudspeakers Hotaru no Hikari (The Light of the Firefly) played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne with different lyrics – a tradition of sorts when stores close in Japan.

Once the arcade’s final day was brought to an end through a countdown, the manager himself climbed onto a ladder and gave a speech. He recounted its history and his understandable sadness that the Sega store was shutting its doors:

“If it were in my power, I’d want to stay open forever at this location and greet the happy faces of our wonderful customers.”

He did, however, want to make it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was not the reason for the Sega arcade’s closing, but “unavoidable circumstances” instead. Those same circumstances are an end to the lease agreement and the building’s owners wishing to renovate the property.

As unfortunate as it is, all good things come to an end eventually. Here’s hoping that once renovations are finished, a new landmark might take Sega Ikebukuro Gigo’s place and draw those tourists back someday.