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Japanese Firefighter Punished For Side Hustle, Moonlights As YouTuber With 15k Subs 

Japanese firefighter punished

What do you think of when you think of a firefighter? Strong, brave, heroic – whatever it is, it certainly isn’t “a gaming YouTuber with 15,000 subscribers”. 

A Japanese firefighter’s secret side hustle was recently exposed when local officials of the city of Wakayama received an anonymous tip-off that one of their firefighters was moonlighting as an online gaming streamer on YouTube.

The firefighter in question

The 33-year-old firefighter was a popular YouTuber with a following of 15,000 people; he streamed while playing games – usually multiplayer strategy games – and provided commentary as well. 

firefighter - gamer
For illustrative purposes
Image credit: Branden Skeli

According to AFP, he had approximately 300 of such videos uploaded and made an estimated amount of ¥1,150,000 (~USD9,906.29) in advertising revenue. 

Local officials spent a long time critically analysing the YouTuber’s videos before they managed to ascertain that it was indeed one of their firefighters. A local official had to sift through dozens of his videos and scrutinise his voice as it was their only clue as to the identity of the YouTuber.

firefighter - YouTube
For illustrative purposes
Image credit: Szabo Viktor

As a result, the firefighter’s salary for the month of January was cut by 10%. The firefighter had violated the Local Public Service Act, which stipulates that public employees are prohibited from having a second job. The firefighter was quoted in an interview with AFP, saying, “My recognition of what would be considered a second job was naive.” 

Official response by Wakayama City

firefighter - firetruck
Japanese fire truck, for illustrative purposes.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Wakayama Municipal Government asserted that the act of being a YouTuber was not necessarily bad in itself. Rather, it was the adverts that the firefighter was condoning that worried the authorities. They were concerned that some of the content from the adverts could be inappropriate or unbefitting of the clean image that the city wanted to portray. 

For illustrative purposes
Image credit: What Is Picture Perfect

Local officials believed that the firefighter’s actions had betrayed the trust of the people of Wakayama. 

Japanese firefighter punished for moonlighting as YouTuber

It may not seem like much to us civilians to hear that a firefighter was leading a double life as a YouTuber, but to the officials, it certainly was a big issue. To all those secret YouTubers out there, take care. 

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Cover image adapted from (left to right): What Is Picture Perfect and Branden Skeli