Although scammers exist all over the world, the problem of phone fraud is particularly acute in Japan, where the elderly are often targeted as easy prey. According to an article in Nippon.com, the National Police Agency reported that fraudsters bilked victims out of about 50 billion yen every year from 2007 to 2017, but experts say the number is probably far greater since so many cases go unreported.
Aside from news reports and television specials in which specific scams and fraud cases may be mentioned, there is usually no way of knowing that phone fraud continues to thrive in Japan. However, there is one indication you can find, and that's the presence of fraud prevention posters put up by local police departments. This has been going on ever since phone scams became a major issue at the turn of the century. While posters in more populated areas will get renewed and updated to reflect the times, in more rural areas, it's not uncommon to find weathered posters that have been around for a decade or longer.
Whether or not the poster itself was dated or it's merely the style of the illustration, this phone fraud prevention poster by the Takatsu Police Office in Kawasaki and snapped by Twitter user and musician M-Project (@mproject) has gone viral for its dramatic and somewhat dated gekiga style.
Man: "Give me your bank card and your money!!"
Woman: "I'll never give you my money or my card!!"
In a Tweet which has collected 83,000 likes and 21,000 retweets at the time of writing, M-Project showed off the poster, along with the following comment:
As it turns out, the gekiga look (referring to a type of adult-oriented manga with a more cinematic style and mature themes which had its heyday in the Showa Era) is not a coincidence. As pointed out in a comment, the poster was illustrated by Shigeyoshi Matsumori, who worked as an assistant to none other than Tetsuo Hara, creator of "Fist of The North Star," a representative gekiga work.
Other comments included:
- "So, when is this movie coming out?"
- "Is this a quarrel between mother and son?"
- "I don't know why, but I get the impression the scammer and the grandma are about to have a shoot-out."
- "That's a really old telephone. Kuro-denwa (black rotary-dial telephones) like those are very rare these days."
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