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Takanawa Gateway, new JR Yamanote Line station name, fails to resonate with Tokyoites

32 Comments
Photo: Wikipedia

A movement has been launched to rescind the name selected for the new station on Tokyo's Yamanote loop line situated between Shinagawa and Tamachi, which is scheduled to commence operation from 2020.

As of 6 p.m. on Dec 10, an online petition to halt use of the new name had already garnered over 12,000 signatures.

"In the public campaign for entries to name the station, Takanawa and Shibaura received the most votes," popular columnist and illustrator Mineko Nomachi, who's spearheading the petition, told Nikkan Gendai (Dec 11). "Instead, Takanawa Gateway, which ranked 130th, was selected.

"That completely negates the meaning of holding a campaign in the first place. And it's also a betrayal to the people who submitted entries," Nomachi fumed. "I started circulating the petition to draw attention to the dishonesty of whoever was behind picking the name. "

The Takanawa district is adjacent to where the old Tokaido ("Eastern Sea Route") passed, and the area served as an entry point -- or gateway -- to those arriving at Edo, Tokyo's forerunner in pre-modern times.

Among the complaints concerning the name is that at nine syllables, Takanawa Gateway is "too long." Some Japanese, particularly elderly people, are unfamiliar with word "Ge-e-to-we-i"; others simply oppose the use of English in station names, which they see as unnecessary or inappropriate.

When the J-Town Net website conducted an online survey of people's reaction to the name, 95.8% of the respondents agreed that "It would be better to change to another name."

Sadamaro Aida, a journalist who writes about travel and transportation, remarked that the name selection process appears to be no more than a "pretext."

"Over a year ago, East Japan Railways announced its development plan for the new station between Tamachi and Shinagawa, which it tentatively named 'Global Gateway Shinagawa,'" Aida said. "So it appears that use of Gateway had already been decided upon, in which case there's was nothing to be done about it. I sense the government was involved, much like the scandal that occurred over initial selection of the 2020 Olympic Games emblem, which raised a huge ruckus three years ago. At that time, the percentage of people who favored dropping the emblem and selecting a new one was around 96%."

Aida told Nikkan Gendai he could only recall a few rare cases when the name of a station, for whatever reason, was changed, such as the former "Matsubara Danchi" on the Tobu Isesaki Line, which was changed to Dokkyo Daigaku-mae to associate it with the nearby university. Another example he recalls, was in Kansai, when Sakai-shi was changed, first to Hanwa Sakai, then to Sakai Kanaoka and then back to Sakai-shi again.

"If several hundred thousands signatures can be collected, there's a chance East Japan Railways will consider changing the name," Aida tells the newspaper. "But once the station goes into service, there's no possibility of a change, because of high costs that would be incurred in converting all the signs, indications on ticket vending machines and so on. So if it's going to be changed at all, it will have to happen before the station comes into use."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Fair enough, a realestate company did for its own purposes name it. Not as claimed public input.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

New stations should be named after gender neutral game characters.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

But that's not the right name either. The actual real name is Takanwa ゲートウェイ (as in ghetto-way). Reminds me of my "my-number" number.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"That completely negates the meaning of holding a campaign in the first place. And it's also a betrayal to the people who submitted entries," 

True, but haven't people already learned by now that it's not really up to them to decide anything..

Also, also, "fuming" over a name of a place that gets you from point A to point B is ridiculous and just shows that people have way too much free time to complain about random stuff.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

others simply oppose the use of English in station names, which they see as unnecessary or inappropriate.

Let's be honest Tokyoites, this is the MAIN point of complaint.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"That completely negates the meaning of holding a campaign in the first place. And it's also a betrayal to the people who submitted entries," Nomachi fumed. "I started circulating the petition to draw attention to the dishonesty of whoever was behind picking the name. "

This! I think the petition was just to draw attention to the project. They got it and then decided to go with their own choice, "ohhhh Gateway sounds so kakkoiii, we should pick that".

What I wonder is why didnt they fake the results and make gateway number one? Noone could see who voted anyway, not really smart people working there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A somewhat farcical turn of events.

With Boaty McBoatface and Brexit, the UK now stands as the perfect example of what can happen when you ask the public. As most parents will know, you should never ask a question whose answer you don't want to hear.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"In the public campaign for entries to name the station, 'Takanawa' and 'Shibaura' received the most votes," popular columnist and illustrator Mineko Nomachi

If this is true, then the name needs to be rescinded!

Not selecting the name with the most votes just shows people that voting does not matter -- and that is very very wrong -- or what the government bureaucrats want to show? No wonder the voting turn out in elections is low in Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"But once the station goes into service, there's no possibility of a change, because of high costs that would be incurred in converting all the signs, indications on ticket vending machines and so on."

I call BS on the cost.  If they did change it after, they'll just slap a sticker on it like every other train or bus line service I've used. 

Aida told Nikkan Gendai he could only recall a few rare cases when the name of a station, for whatever reason, was changed...

Not that uncommon, either.  The Nagasaki trams just changed a bunch of station names throughout the city this past summer.  And I'm sure that was more work than changing one station name on a wealthier JR line.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

New stations should be named after gender neutral game characters.

What is this trollery still here?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I remember something like only 30-something people voted for Takanawa Gateway, likely people involved in the project who were pushing for the name!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Uh-oh! People's feelings got hurt! Better call the SJWs and get the name changed!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Uh-oh! People's feelings got hurt! Better call the SJWs and get the name changed!

Imagine invoking SJWs (individuals who promote socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, and multiculturalism, as well as identity politics) on an article about naming a train station, where not a single one of those concepts is relevant to the discussion.

IOW, imagine people who view the world through such a kaleidoscope.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The people making the decision on these names are probably in the 60s or older. This is the generation that built and named apartments as "mansions." They think names like "Lions Mansion" or "Diamond Mansion" or "(place name) Heights". They think putting any English word makes its cool.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Among the complaints concerning the name is that at nine syllables, Takanawa Gateway is "too long." 

What a petty bunch! And, they can't even count! It does not have nine syllables. It has six syllables and if you add 'eki' it has 8 syllables. Takanawa Gateway is too long but, Nagariyamaotakenomori (near Kashiwa) is completely acceptable. Some people really have nothing better to do with their time. Haters have to hate!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okay let's do a syllable count:

たかなわ ゲートウェイー

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Actually based on the Japanese definition of syllable, it looks like 10 to me.

Still fewer than 西中島南方 (Nishinakajimaminamikata) station (11 syllables) on the North Osaka Kyuko Line.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Give the people what they want.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why gateway though? Takanawa isn't a gateway. Shinagawa isn't even really a "global gateway"... Most international flights come through Narita and not Haneda (though there are more recently which is nice for me).

The tourism industry has been doing so much better recently but the government is so terrible in creating lasting ideas within Tokyo because they don't really get what foreigners want when coming to Japan, a Japanese experience. The rural areas that try seem to do much better.

They really should just call it Takanawa. Japanese are just going to call it takanawa anyways...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Whiners

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Nope, doesn’t resonate with anyone really. The name is fine, even though only 36 people voted for it, but like a piece of machinery running on rails, somehow boring.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absurd decision. More then ninety percent of the people who will use this station don't know the meaning of the word "gateway".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"That completely negates the meaning of holding a campaign in the first place. And it's also a betrayal to the people who submitted entries,"

Because that's what companies in Japan do; they decide something, then seek approval, deciding what everyone else should deem favourable before asking. Then, when it's rejected, they do it anyway. It's a nation-wide practice, and from top to bottom. As with them choosing one of the lowest-ranked names instead of #1 or #2, they did this with the Olympic emblem, Kansai Airport built their second runway after asking international carriers for input if they should do it and every company saying "no" (to which they said they don't need foreign input), to even Constitutional changes or passing laws like the Secrets Law -- they've already decided... the idea that they actually seek public support or approval is a farce.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese are just going to call it Takanawa anyways...

Agree, yes, it seems there is a tendency in Japanese to like to shorten names which are long.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because that's what companies in Japan do; they decide something, then seek approval, deciding what everyone else should deem favourable before asking. 

Yes, I have noticed this but it is time to change this procedure. The knowledge economy requires it so I say good going to the group making the fuss.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With the Japanese population dropping by the year does it really matter if part of the station name is English

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It’s a silly name - drop the katakana.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Disillusioned

I live near the Tsukuba Express, and having to say "Nagareyama Ootakanomori" is an absolute nuisance. I might as well just calling it Station #12. (Minami Nagareyama is a mouthful as well, but at least it makes geographical sense.) Shorter is better when it comes to train station names.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lets start playing with the name from gateway to get away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can understand those not wanting to use an English word. It should use the Japanese word for station. It is in Japan after all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should scrap the new station altogether: it will make journeys longer for everyone who isn't getting off there, adding to the misery of the daily commute. People can walk to the area from Shinagawa in 5 minutes anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I offered a name. NEW STATION.

Simple, to the point, easy to remember.

Please give me your opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While I understand there's a PR side to these campaigns to drum up interest, but what's the point of totally ignoring the survey as the one used is all the way at 100+ place. This just pisses everyone who you reached out to, and is bad PR, with no good PR to go with it.

And what's in a name (as long as it's not totally ridiculous and stupid), don't people just call it wtf they want anyways. This isn't your first born or something its a station.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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