Japan Today

Tokyo Metro to begin playing classical background music on Hibiya Line trains

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

One thing people notice when they first use the Japanese rail system is the variety of sounds and melodies that can be heard while waiting on the platform. From the electronic bird chirps, which guide visually impaired commuters to the exits, to the different jingles played as the train doors close, it’s hard not to feel a strange sense of bliss despite the crowds, thanks to all the sweet sounds filling your ears.

Now subway operator Tokyo Metro is taking music onto the train as well, with a new trial on the Hibiya Line’s 13000 series trains, which were first introduced to the network in March last year. Equipped with a high-quality stereo broadcasting system, these trains will begin playing classical background music on board a limited number of journeys between Naka-Meguro and Kita-Senju stations from 29 January.

The trial is designed to provide a more comfortable journey for passengers, with a variety of relaxing classical music pieces chosen for the broadcasts, which include Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”, Mendelssohn’s “Song of Spring” and Chopin’s “Nocturne“. A number of “healing music” pieces by Japanese composer Mitsuhiro will also be played.

According to media reports, the idea for the trial came about after a train driver mistakenly played classical music while the train was in service in July last year. The classical music, which is usually only used for speaker checks while passengers aren’t on board, received such a positive response from those who heard it, that the rail company decided to trial it on a few services throughout the year.

Each time, the background music was met with an overwhelmingly positive response, with passengers saying it made them feel relaxed and “cured their hearts”, prompting the subway operator to extend the trial to more services on the Hibiya Line.

The services set to broadcast the background music on board are listed on the timetable below. The four columns with times listed on the left are the weekday services, bound for either Kita-Senju (北千住) or Nakameguro (中目黒), which appears at the top of each column. The four on the right are the weekend and public holiday services, bound for the same destinations.

▼ The stations, from top to bottom in the far left column are: Nakameguro – Kasumigaseki – Ginza – Kayabacho – Akihabara – Ueno – Kita-Senju


No end date has been set for this new trial period, so next time you need to get around town, you might want to see if the Hibiya Line can get you to where you’re going. Not only will you get to enjoy an efficient train service, you’ll get to rock back and forth to classical music during your commute.

Source: Net Lab

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo’s Shibuya Station now sending trains on their way by playing the Dragon Quest theme 【Video】

-- Japanese rail employee surprises commuters with unusual-sounding announcement

-- Star Wars and Darth Vader theme melodies now being played at Tokyo train stations 【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I can easily see a number of passengers falling asleep and missing their stop!

Seriously, though, they should try this during morning and evening rush hours to help soothe the frayed nerves!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Please just don't play music at all, on trains, in lifts, in supermarkets etc. It's very annoying and totally unnecessary.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I hate this. Yuk. Don't program our lives. Leave us alone.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I can easily see a number of passengers falling asleep

Is that perhaps the idea? I used to travel that line and remember ticket inspectors would often get on about Hiroo to catch the kiseru cheats who would be carrying on to the Toyoko line. If you were awake, you'd move up the train, get off at Ebisu, and wait for the next train. (Perhaps it doesn't work like that any more.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fast forward a few years to when the inside of a train sounds much like the interior of a Japanese supermarket, with tiny boom boxes and micro TV screens blasting out advertising jingles as well as overhead theme music constantly reverberating during your hour long ride. My head is swimming already. Just wait, when video screens can be printed on paper, all those suspended paper advertisements you already bump your heads on, will be distracting as all heck. Enjoy the silence while it lasts. Granted, the article DID say classical music, but one person's relaxation is another person's fingernails on chalkboard. I'm fine as long as it isn't opera or contemporary classical.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Haven't they created a type of music or sound effect yet to prevent train groping like they do for other things?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

(Perhaps it doesn't work like that any more.)

Kiseru cheats. Haven't thought about that term in a long time. Never did it myself. Am sure there are still people who do it. However, with so many people using PASMO, Suica and the like, I can't remember the last time I saw someone actually checking tickets on the Hibiya-sen.

Ahhhh, I miss the old days.... particularly the sound of the guys at the kaisatsuguchi with their ticket punchers...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One thing I’ve learned about Rocket/Sora News is that skipping the first paragraph is mandatory. The story Always starts on the second paragraph. On topic, lest the editors get their “socks” in a twist: as long as they use classical music recorded by a professional orchestra and it is not Muzak, I’d like it. If it turns out to be Muzak, which destroys every kind of music on the planet, I’d have to object. And, really, Clair de Lune? Again?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They should play classical music on every bus, bus terminal, train, train station, airplane and airport all the way from Naha, Japan to Wakkanai, Japan.

This would be a benefit in terms of feeling at ease, it would likely reduce anxiety which is present in the unfortunate fast paced world in which we reside and also would likely reduce aggression. All of this should occur regulary whether it is on Monday morning for work or late on a Saturday night. This would be the equivalent of adding a cushion to a hard metal chair. Overall I believe this would be a great idea.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Classical music requires concentrated listening or it becomes muzak.  Totally wrong and unnecessary.  There is already too much of that.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is an excellent idea and will get more people into the joys of classical music

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Like ubiquitous Christmas carols from October 31 to December 25, classical music--especially the tunes mentioned in the article--used in this manner becomes trivialized and tedious. Instead of foisting it on all people, why not have a wireless channel which people can access via their phones while commuting. Then passengers have a choice.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't particularly like classical music, so I do not see how this would be 'soothing' or reduce my anxiety, in fact it would irritate the hell out of me. I'd prefer The Fall or Half Man Half Biscuit, but it would probably wind up others. That's why piped music is an appalling idea.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Half Man Half Biscuit

True high culture. Nigel is one of the finest lyricists ever lived.

I actually don’t mind classical music but let people use their own devices if they want to listen to music.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

HMHB; how delightful that the four lads who shook the Wirral have their fans over here.

Yes, I'd certainly enjoy hearing them on the train. Others might not, though.

"And the light at the end of the tunnel, is the light of an oncoming train..."

Either that or Isao Tomita's interpretations of Debussy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wouldn't mind listening to Kitaro 'Silk Road', 'Whispering Earth', etc granted 'Sacred Journey II' might put many to sleep.

For classical I prefer Vanessa Mae or 'Hooked on Classics'.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The Japanese think Japan is a quiet, peaceful country because people don't speak on their phones while riding trains, and keep quiet in elevators. But from a foreigner's perspective, with endless safety warnings in public transport, high pitched radio advertisements in grocery stores, and incredibly loud shouting in markets supposedly in place to encourage me to shop there, I find it incredibly irritating and peaceless

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yup, Japan is an incredibly noisy place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I recommend ambient music rather than classical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the thin end of the wedge. Next they will be playing music by FFS 48 and the like.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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