When you’re out and about riding the rails in Japan, you’re likely to come across manners posters inside carriages and around train stations, with designs featuring everything from manga-like drawings through to classic ukiyo-e woodblock prints to catch the eye of passengers and help everyone travel together amicably.
Now that the coronavirus continues to hang over everyone’s heads, West Japan Railway Company (JR West) is putting up posters to help passengers travel safely during the pandemic, and beloved manga/anime character Doraemon has been employed as the spokesmodel for the new safety awareness campaign.
The poster created for the campaign is titled “New Normal For Train Travel“, and shows Doraemon and his friends joining him for the ride.
The poster sets out seven steps for safe train travel in the “new normal”, with the message: “Let’s enjoy trips safely by keeping new manners in mind”.
The first step outlined in the poster shows the cute cat robot from the 22nd century and his pal Nobita Nobi wearing face masks beneath a message that reads: “Customers, Train Staff and Rail Crew: Don’t forget your masks”.
Step Two shows Nobita sitting on the train with Doraemon flying through the air outside the open window. The message here reads: “The air inside the carriage is ventilated through windows and air-conditioning”.
For Step Three, we have Nobita’s love interest and close friend, Shizuka Minamoto, clutching a handstrap on board with the message: “We’re working hard to sterilise handrails, handstraps and seats”.
In Step Four, antagonist Suneo Honekawa appears to be heading off on a ski trip, with the words: “Reserve seats on the net beforehand. Let’s get excited for the trip before it begins”.
Step Five has Nobita’s classmate Gian reminding us to be quiet, with: “Let’s hold back on chatting inside carriages. Without holding back on feeling joy.”
Step Six sees Nobita and Doraemon strolling around what looks to be Kyoto, with the message: “Your destination isn’t going anywhere. If it’s crowded, enjoy it leisurely later”. That’s an apt reminder to avoid crowds, especially in notoriously crowded Kyoto, which JR West services.
The final step for travel in the “new normal” sees Doraemon and Nobita munching on slices of Memory Bread, which allows the user to memorise anything that’s been ‘printed’ on it. Here the message cutely reads: “Anyone who looks like they’re going to forget the above should write it on Memory Bread and eat it”.
We’ve seen a lot of weird and whacky manners campaigns from Japanese rail companies before, but this is the first time we’ve been asked to eat magical memory bread to help save us from a pandemic.
It’s certainly a novel way to grab attention, and the seven pointers outlined in the campaign really are vital to keeping everyone safe, especially when Japan eventually lifts its international travel restrictions and reopens its borders to the rest of the world.
Source: West Japan Railway Company
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