Japan Today

Ad publicly shames commuters in real-time for 'smartphone walking' in train station

By Mike, RocketNews24

A train operator has set up a monitoring device and announcement system to single out individual commuters caught using their smartphones while walking near escalators or passing trains.

Texting while walking, smartphone walking, however you’d like to put it, is a huge problem in Japan and much of the developed world as we increasingly become emotionless robots practically neurally connected to our handheld devices. Accidents can and do happen to people distracted by their smartphones in places like crosswalks and, especially, train stations, where myriad hazards like passing trains, escalators and other people demand explicit attention.

While most train operators in Japan have been combating the dangerous trend with signs and posters advising the dangers of “aruki sumaho,” the Kansai area’s Hanshin Electric Railways has taken it a step further with this clever commercial.

The commercial begins with producers setting up a camera system and microphones on a train platform. Then, the team lies in wait; watching for unwary commuters using their smartphones while walking.

At this point, the commercial’s producers use the speaker system and video screen to explicitly call out the offending commuter with lines like, “You there, in the pink cardigan. Walking while texting is dangerous!” and “There is currently a mother pushing a stroller while playing with her smartphone on the platform.”

In Japan’s “shame culture,” it’s easy to see how being specifically singled out for everyone to see could be an especially effective reminder that the practice of playing around on your device while navigating the subway is inherently dangerous. In fact, some of the people featured in the video look downright horrified.

Check out the ad below.

Unfortunately, here’s where we have to break down some of the illusion of this creative ad: Japan has extremely strict privacy laws when it comes to filming people in public, so anyone whose face isn’t blurred out (the commuters accused of walking while smartphoning) are either paid extras or signed a waiver after being filmed. And, lo and behold, the end of the video features a short disclaimer admitting the use of hired extras.

While knowing the horrified reactions of being caught are just amateur acting kind of diminishes the message a little bit, we’re definitely hoping the ad catches eyes and puts a stop to accidents before they happen. Although, with the ad being on YouTube and all, we’re pretty sure a lot of people are going to be seeing it on their smart device while, uh… walking through the subway.

Images: Hanshin Electric Railways/YouTube

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Ninja will murder you if you use your smartphone while walking, Japanese safety video warns -- Your smartphone could kill you: Phone-related deaths on the rise in Japan -- A message from Japanese train station toilet paper: Don’t stare at your smartphone while walking

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This is great!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd do it just to take a picture of me on the monitor with my smartphone

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wouldn't hear them due to my earphones being on full blast.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The woman in pink, obvious paid actress.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And the result of this "shame" campaign will be what?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Too bad that so many allow shame to modify their behavior, when they should do it for their own safety instead.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"You! Citizen! Desist your unsanctioned conduct or face ostracism from the herd!"

I have no time for phonewalkers myself, but this looks very much like the thin end of a wedge.

And should I ever get shrieked at by monitoring cameras as I go about my day, the monitors may expect a full-fledged mooning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Badge is right, otherwise why would she have to check her clothes when they mentioned pink and beige?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The caption says they are actors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What caption?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The same goes for the guy in the gray jacket and green scarf.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I do not have a phone, so I must be the perfect citizen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What caption?

The notice in Japanese at the ending.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And yet I've been told that when I post pictures of cars illegally parked and causing traffic jams, that I am breaking the law by not covering plate numbers or by showing faces. And using your cell phone while walking isn't even illegal!

Anyway, no one doing this should feel any more ashamed than other people who don't pay attention while walking for reasons other than smart phone use. It's not the phones that are the problem, it's people not paying attention. Shouldn't the businessman who was looking at the newspaper and nearly knocked over a baby carriage yesterday not be ashamed? The woman digging in her purse who didn't notice the train door had closed when she walked into it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, I have been quite annoyed by people doing smartphone walking every time I get on my bike. Very dangerous! Strangely enough, they tend to get the idea that I would shy clear of them. They're just a pain in the neck

Kudos goes to good actor(s) and actress(es) in the YouTube. I'm sure it works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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