Sentaa-gai, or Center Town as it is rendered in English, is the name of a famous commercial thoroughfare in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, which has become a Mecca for Tokyo youth. Last autumn, however, one of the street’s official name was changed to “Basketball Street.” The new moniker aims to reduce the street’s negative image by associating it with a popular sport. From the 1980s, Sentaa-gai’s environment had increasingly deteriorated, earning it a reputation as a place to obtain illegal drugs or where youth gangs congregated. The street subsequently became known as a hangout for equally disrespectable characters, such as dark-skinned ganguro girls known for their garish cosmetics and lurid costumes, and similarly flashy young males referred to as “Center Guys.” It is hoped the street’s new name will aid in efforts to make it a more wholesome place to visit.



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