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Schoolgirl seeking crowdfunding to produce anti-train groper pins

35 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

Japan’s public transportation network gets high marks for its punctuality and cleanliness. Not every ride on the rails is a pleasant one, though, because some lowlifes called "chikan" use the crowded conditions on commuter trains as cover to grope unsuspecting women.

Now, one high school girl and her mother have had enough, so they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to design and distribute what are essentially “Don’t touch!” signs for women to wear while taking the train.

Last year, Takako (whose name is an alias to protect her identity) entered high school, and because of the distance from her home to her campus, also started commuting on the train, alone. Unfortunately, she soon found herself the victim of "chikan," with incidents occurring, according to her mother, “almost every day.”

Shocked and frightened, Takako found herself unable to verbally protest or call out for help from others, and would come home in tears from the ordeals. Takako and her mother put their heads together, trying to think of preventive measures and other ways to protect the child, none of which proved effective. The mother gave her child a warning buzzer, but the teen was too timid to sound it inside the train. The girl tried changing the car she rode in, but simply ended up encountering other "chikan." Even consulting the police proved ineffective, as the authorities said that since Takako wasn’t being repeatedly victimized by the same person, they had no way to effectively catch the perpetrators.

At about the same time Takako entered her second year of high school, police in Saitama Prefecture began distributing stickers that could be used to mark offending hands with ink. However, this too would require more boldness than Takako could muster. Moreover, she was concerned about the possibility of mistakenly accusing someone of being a "chikan" when he had no such intent, which is not an entirely implausible scenario given how closely riders’ bodies are often pressed together on Tokyo’s rush hour trains.

But in April, Takako and her mother finally hit upon the idea of simply creating a "chikan"-deterring card (see photo below right) and attaching it to the girl’s school bag.

Takako’s mom created it herself, using free illustrations she found online. The text reads “Groping is a crime,” at the top, with the woman at the bottom declaring “I won’t take it quietly!” The high schooler placed it on the shoulder strap of her bag, facing towards the rear, and hasn’t encountered a single chikan since.

Realizing that other women are dealing with similar problems, Takako and her mother began to think of providing others with similar anti-"chikan" items. They imagined, though, that some women might feel reluctant to wear a placard, and eventually decided to test a round pin, which they felt would be less intrusive and perhaps even a bit fashionable.

The text is the same as the card’s (although with “I won’t take it quietly!” now on the top and “Groping is a crime” on the bottom), and although the pin is arguably less eye-catching than the card, it’s been just as effective in completely preventing any "chikan" from putting their hands on Takako since she started wearing it.

However, the pair think the overall look is a bit amateurish. Takako says it’s far preferable to being felt up by "chikan" on the train, but to help spread the use of the pins, the two are holding a design contest for a new illustration to replace the silhouettes on the current design. Submissions are being accepted through Japanese website Crowd Works between Nov 11 and 25, with a total of 110,000 yen in prize money being awarded, including 50,000 yen for the overall best entry.

In order to secure the funds for the contest, as well as the production and distribution of the Stop Chikan Pins (as they’re officially called), there’s also a crowdfunding campaign going on through website Faavo. 500,000 yen is being sought, with reward tiers that include one of the pins starting at 3,000 yen.

For those interested in contributing art or monetary donations, the design contest and crowdfunding websites can be found here and here, respectively.

Related: Stop Chikan Pin official website, Facebook

Sources: Huffington Post Japan, Stop Chikan Pin official website, PR Times, Faavo, Crowd Works

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- “Women who attract chikan, and women who don’t”: The illustrated guide that’s provoking debate -- Policewoman’s posterior produces poetic justice as she arrests man she says groped her on train -- New anti-chikan cellphone stickers let you mark train gropers with sign of shame

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


35 Comments
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Well - that answers the question of what to do about groping on the other thread beautifully! Clearly if the perps think they are not going to get an easy ride they won't do it, and equally clearly the only reason they are doing it is because they think they are going to get away with it. So spread the pins and spread the news - start teaching these girls to shout and scream and break fingers.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Sad that it has come to this. I think that all chikan are perfectly aware it is a crime though. But, if it works then good.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Looking on the bright side, I would argue that groping on trains in Japan is far much less prevalent now than it was two or so decades ago. That said, it is still fairly ubiquitous and still a huge problem, but just much less so than it once was.

In the bad old days, most people I knew in Japan acted like it was a big joke, and the victims were seen as more at fault than the perpetrators. Feeling girls up on the train was seen as harmless fun and a quirky pastime — an irritating inconvenience at best, and not considered a crime. There was lots of outright denial also that "safety" Japan could even have a problem with crime of any sort.

Victims then wouldn't even dream of reporting incidents to the police, knowing that the report would only elicit laughs from the boys in blue. Until the early 1990s, women were just expected to quietly endure groping, and not make a scene. If in the rare case a victim did upset the harmony by causing a commotion, it was they who were seen as crass and outlandish.

Then around the early 1990s it started to become more accepted for girls to yell "Chikan!" on a train when faced with a pervert. This sea-change in attitude even became fodder for conversation on the television talk show circuit. Later, the police even started taking these incidents more seriously.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I hope it helps, but the real problem (other than the crime itself of course) is that victims usually don't do anything about the crime. Like this victim, who had it happened almost every day, but never reacted.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Unfortunately, she soon found herself the victim of “chikan,” with incidents occurring, according to her mother, “almost every day.”

...the real problem (other than the crime itself of course) is that victims usually don't do anything about the crime. Like this victim, who had it happened almost every day, but never reacted.

@sensei

I would add that an even bigger problem is that some fellow passengers are often aware of groping taking place in their midst, but rarely do anything to put a stop to it. I have seen girls yell "Chikan!" on the train, only to have eyes of fellow passengers suddenly dart toward the floor. Japan sorely lacks the Good Samaritan concept of helping a stranger who is in trouble.

Many years ago before the days when groping was regarded as a punishable offensce, I once stepped in and brought a chikan to the nearby police box, but long story short I was treated like the deviant. After that, I told myself I will never again get involved.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Please sponsor the project if you can, folks. JT has sensibly provided the link.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is a good idea. In the long term, chikan may see through it, but in the short term I can see it stopping some of them.

The police hire high school grads, so I don't see why they couldn't get a young female officers in plain clothes, or 18-19 y.o officers in school uniforms even, to randomly ride the trains along with backup to make some well-publicized arrests. The trains could also put signs up saying "plain clothes officers ride this line" to emphasize the point.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Hopefully these pins will be about 9-inches long and tipped with the poison of a puffer fish. Let's just call it a more proactive approach.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Now, one high school girl and her mother have had enough, so they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to design and distribute what are essentially “Don’t touch!” signs for women to wear

It would be better if they go to kindergartens and pass out "Don't Kanchou!" signs. Where at these young ages, boys learn it is okay to poke their fingers into anyone's buttocks and "get away with it".

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Good on these people for TRYING to do something, but if someone is too timid to call out, to react, to wear a buzzer, or to even wear a sticker in which the ink on a chikan would rub off on their hands, how on earth do they think a 'groping is a crime' pin is going to actually deter chikan, and more importantly, how is it going to change the attitude of Takako to the point where she feels comfortable in calling the chikan out?

All I see in this is another sign/button that the criminals will completely ignore. Instead, this young woman and her mother should be teaching women that it is alright, and everyone for that matter, that it is their DUTY to speak out of they see or encounter such acts.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hongo, I love it. Just don't stab yourself digging it out of your bag!

The pin is a great start; however, it has one flaw. Someone will call the bluff: "I won't take it quietly." I'd be willing to bet that even with the button the victim will take it quietly.

Japanese women need to be taught how to find their voices and call out. Assertiveness training and "group practice" in shouting down a perv needs to be part of the empowerment process. When I took students on exchanges to Japan I instructed them to yell "BACK OFF" as loudly and angrily as possible if they were ever touched inappropriately by anyone anywhere.

Delivered with enough vitriol it's close enough to F OFF and carries a lot of force. That alone might paralyse most perps.OMG look at the gaijin making a scene. It certainly would draw unwanted attention and might stop the unwelcome behaviour for that alone.

I have run into this issue of Japanese people not willing to speak for something as mundane as asking directions, never mind calling out abuse. "I can't ask the shop keeper which way to go because I am not buying something from him." But that's how it is with anal retentive cultures. There's an element of constipation. The culture needs to change. Good luck.

I hope people chip in. It's a step in the right direction. Might even be the beginning of change.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“Groping is a crime” on the bottom

There's a joke in there somewhere....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Talk about times changing when I left school all the girls would complain if they went out and didn't get a pinch on the backside - they had thought they had lost their appeal these days its a crime.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I think it is great that they persisted to find a solution that seems to work and didn't fall into default "shoganai" .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A grope for 100 yen?

Talk about times changing when I left school all the girls would complain if they went out and didn't get a pinch on the backside - they had thought they had lost their appeal these days its a crime.

Some guys are just so insensitive to girls' needs! Think of the girls!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even consulting the police proved ineffective, as the authorities said that since Takako wasn’t being repeatedly victimized by the same person, they had no way to effectively catch the perpetrators.

they had no way to effectively catch the perpetrators

They don't sound very bright.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I use my elbow in a way that no person would ever ever forget.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I use my elbow in a way that no person would ever ever forget.

Yeah, I remember that night.... ; )

2 ( +5 / -3 )

How (sadly) funny is it that the girl is wearing a pin that says I won't take it quietly, but she's wearing that pin because she took it quietly over and over again. Rather than a pin on few girls bags, this needs to be made into a campaign with poster and billboards on the trains. Focus on informing guys that this is a real crime that they will be prosecuted for, and teach girls that it is okay to yell "Stop" if someone is touching you when you don't want them to. It is utterly ridiculous that girls will just stand silently and let themselves be groped because its too embarrassing to tell the person to stop.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is a good start but the problem is much deeper. If the culture can get into the whole self-defense with fighting and/or using pepper spray thing, gropers will start thinking twice. They know it is a crime but a broken nose, damaged eyes or bruised groin sounds worse.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can this "pin" also be used as a weapon to stab the groper?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can this "pin" also be used as a weapon to stab the groper?

Victorian ladies were advised to put pins between their lips when trains entered a tunnel to deter gentlemen from "stealing a kiss."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@DaDude

It is a good start but the problem is much deeper. If the culture can get into the whole self-defense with fighting and/or using pepper spray thing, gropers will start thinking twice. They know it is a crime but a broken nose, damaged eyes or bruised groin sounds worse.

All joking aside, the problem here is where to draw the line, especially if the "self-defense" measures are applied mistakenly or a potential victim tries to take the initiative, especially if said chikan decides to go at it in a crowded area where a kick or a spray might not be accurate enough.

@RealityofFake

It is utterly ridiculous that girls will just stand silently and let themselves be groped because its too embarrassing to tell the person to stop.

Ridiculous maybe, but Japan isn't alone with this sort of problem. The perceived shame of admitting that you are being molested is at the centre of so many paedophile cases the world over, not to mention the fear that this molestation could lead to something worse if they make a fuss about it. Fear is a powerful motivator.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even consulting the police proved ineffective, as the authorities said that since Takako wasn’t being repeatedly victimized by the same person, they had no way to effectively catch the perpetrators.

Have a young female officer dress up in school clothes and together with another officer perform a sting operation. Ride those trains which are known chikan hotspots and conduct the operation there. Catching them in the act is the best way.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I've met some very sexy police women. As genjuro said, put them in a school girl uniform and start busting and ADVERTISE the bust. Japanese, being moral cowards by nature, will quickly learn to keep their hands to themselves.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

ADVERTISE the bust

In Houston and other places news sites post mugshots after arrests. Don't know about Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maria - "Please sponsor the project if you can, folks. JT has sensibly provided the link"

The banner image says "泣き寝入りしません" meaning "don't put up with it", but it literally translates as "don't cry yourself to sleep"

How can a Japanese man call himself a father, or even a man, when his daughter is CRYING HERSELF TO SLEEP every night?? :-(

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I hesitate to advocate blanket public CCTV because we don't want a surveillance state, but clearly we need blanket CCTV, at least on lines where there is a chikan problem. Couldn't the police put in temporary hidden CCTV, or operate stings, or something?! I mean it's not like they have much other real crime to deal with is it? And for those caught more than once (why more than once? Because accidents and malicious accusations can happen) the penalties have to be pretty harsh, i.e. prison, and big fines. Attacks like these can destroy the lives of victims.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@interuni321 - "Attacks like these can destroy the lives of victims"

They can, and THEY DO. And that's why it happens... because Japanese men hate women!! :-(

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I bet it does:

only an absolute moron would think it is.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

no blaming the victims but..... how come this happen everyday and no one does anything about it??? back in my country women would grab the guy's wrist or simply yell to give the guy the most embarassing time of his life. Unless he's a sicko, the chances are low the guy would ever do it again in a crowded train.

instead of it, japanese can only give the yamete ó_ò look making the sicko feel even more as if he's in some kind of AV scene.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No need for crowdfunding. How about just designing your own pin?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lucabrasi Victorian ladies were advised to put pins between their lips when trains entered a tunnel to deter gentlemen from "stealing a kiss."

Ah, I sense a faint whiff of Qi.......Do you have a magnet?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No need for crowdfunding. How about just designing your own pin?

Read the article again. They have a design but aren't satisfied with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@turbostat - "would it be OK if a big [homosexual] guy with muscles poked you between the cheeks on the subway and rubbed up against you?"

It is called EMPATHY. The dictionary definition being "the ​ability to ​share someone else's ​feelings or ​experiences by ​imagining what it would be like to be in that person's ​situation"

And it is well-recognized that anyone without EMPATHY is a sure-fire sociopath!!... ;-)

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/empathy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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