lifestyle

Tokyo Metro manner posters confuse and delight commuters

63 Comments
By Michelle

Sometimes the hustle and bustle of big city life in Tokyo makes you forget your manners. Women who don’t have enough time in the morning apply makeup on bumpy train rides, people doze off on the shoulder of their neighboring passenger, and the occasional man will clip his finger nails. With most people commuting by train and working very long hours, sometimes there’s no time to do things at home. And sometimes, you’re just so tired and stressed that you don’t care that you are behaving badly.

As a result, back in 2008, the Tokyo Metro system launched a three-year-long campaign aimed at reminding subway passengers to mind their manners while riding the trains. It featured the slogan “Please do it at home” or “Please do it again” alongside an illustration of the featured manner or rule.

All posters are written in Japanese and English, some featuring hilariously outrageous and sometimes confusing activities that make you wonder, “Do people actually do that on a train?!”

Below are some posters.

Source: Hamster 速報

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Commuters, Mothers and Government Bump Heads Over Baby Buggy Posters -- Eating on Trains in Japan: Survey Asks “How Much is Too Much?” -- Recent Survey Suggests That Japan’s Older Generation’s Manners Stink

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63 Comments
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Random, marker-pen "contributions", would go a long way in adding oomph, to these lame-ass posters...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Yes, they do that in trains. I've even been in a train where an ojayi is opening up a vending small bottled sake and drinking it right inside the train ... sometimes with tsumami even.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I enjoy them.....

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The most obvious mistake is the drunken salaryman. No one would EVER expect him to do that at home, only in public.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This is one of those rare cases where the English is actually more polite that the Japanese version.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

These are pretty cool. The guy in the last one looks a little unhappy, though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What is up with the bug eyed victim in many of these?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't find girls attending to their makeup an affront in any way.

A curiosity perhaps, but not offensive. The others are great!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Tamarama: I actually find women applying makeup quite sexy.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Such bad behaviers are common inJapan. Are there any issues like this in US or Europe?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

launched a three-year-long campaign

Only 3 year? Should do it non-stop.

Great drawings, but would they really help?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hardly anybody pays attention to signs on the train. When it comes to public transportation, all notions of Japanese manners go out the window. Every man for himself on the train. Not even pregnant women get priority seating during rush hour here. Terrible.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@Magnet,

Address the pregnant woman or elderly person, and ask them in a loud voice if they can't get a seat. Works a treat.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Not even pregnant women get priority seating during rush hour here.

My wife is 7 months pregnant. She never fails to get a seat on the Metro. It helps that she has the "I'm pregnant" keychain on her bag. They hand those out for free at the city office or any station. Love the posters, by the way.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why English? Most of the people who act up are Japanese. And I can tell you, a lot of the litter bugs are ojiisans who come on the trains and leave those glass containers of alcohol. These people have no shame, leaving their crap everywhere. My relatives once came here, and on the train they were amazed at how clean it was, etc, while the ojiisan sitting in front of me was dropping peanuts onto my feet and threw his bag of rubbish on the floor.

Tamarama: I actually find women applying makeup quite sexy.

Yeah, I love it when the train suddenly breaks and the gals get a red lipstick right across the cheek!

Advice to school girls: try not to eat ramen on the commuter trains.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sometime I am ashame for Japanese manner. Many time I see elder, or can't walk people, or pregnancy lady on train and many Japanese pretend they can't see. Looks like sleeping, but only pretend.

Many time foreigner people stand for others, but Japanese is nearly never. It is so shame!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I'm waiting for a manners poster politely requesting the Tokyo hordes to clean their teeth in the mornings, take a shower before riding the train and use some form of deodourant, particularly in the summer months. For some reason we haven't had this one yet.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

"Please swing your wet umbrella like a golf club at home" Lol

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There should be a sign for the old Oba-san to not push in line. I don't care who you are- wait your turn.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@ bicultural, yeah, my wife's pregnant too. She's got the baby bump and the little keychain thing, but it's still extremely rare that she gets a seat, especially during rush hour. Congratulations to you and your wife BTW.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

back in 2008, the Tokyo Metro system launched a three-year-long campaign aimed at reminding subway passengers to mind their manners while riding the trains.

Japanese people are so well mannered and polite that they need posters to remind them...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I love these hilarious posters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LOL@ the big strong handsome foreigner with the big backpack! Please do it again!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

kozaki9210

Such bad behaviers are common inJapan. Are there any issues like this in US or Europe?

Japan has better manners than 95% of the world. A lot of people here complaining about the once or twice they had to put up with seeing someone do something bad on the train, but i think most of them have forgotten how bad trains are in their own country...

... Bad BO? Most mornings in Australia i would have to block my nose the entire trip, and that is WITH the train windows open. Some people there do not believe in daily (or monthly?) showering it seems. ... Rubbish on trains? about 20% of the seats on the trains in Sydney are not useable because of the food/gum/whatever that is left on them by lunchtime ... drunks on the train? At least they dont mug you like they do overseas.

Trains here are awesome, clean and for the most part polite. Its true that men will not stand for women but you can thank feminism for that. Equality and all that.

lastly the English is on them to remind foreigners how things are done here in Japan. Its written in small text, but its there incase someone thinks its ok to just act like they are in their own country

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Oh and my favourite poster is this parody one written about the halloween party train that used to run every year on the Yamanote line: http://gakuran.com/36-iconic-tokyo-metro-subway-manner-posters-2008-2010/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Please do it at home

Oh, I do, honey, I do!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Please don't take out your eyeballs while on the train.

Please keep your shoes on while on the train.

Please stop making bubbles with your umbrella.

Please stop cleaning your ears on the train.

Please stop doing biceps curls with your bag on the train.

Please stop slapping people's arse while on the train.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Please stop making yellow posters?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

afanofjapan: "Japan has better manners than 95% of the world."

Ah, but there is where you and Japanese are mistaken; they THINK they have better manners than most of the world but when you point out the fact that they do not you are 'bashing Japanese culture' (they don't actually deny it's just as much a part of culture here as anywhere else when they reach that bottom-of-the-barrel argument). They are FAR more rude than their SKorean counterparts, because unlike in Japan, other passengers do not put up with the horse-pucky. A kid in SK sits in a priority seat and an obachan will tell him off or just sit in his lap. A kid takes a priority seat in Japan and pretends to sleep until he gets an instant message on Line and the elderly person in front of him merely stands there hoping the kid gets up. I've noticed they don't usually announce the 'don't use cell phones in the priority seating area' anymore because everyone does any way. Try telling a Japanese old lady her daily shopping doesn't require three seats and see what happens. Ask the businessman who complains about young people make too much noise to turn his cell phone ringer off and see what happens. These are but a few examples people have been stabbed over in the past when the people criticized flake out, but there are a WHOLE lot more.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Smithinjapan-san, you are very wise I think.

Long ago, manners were important in Japan. We Japanese think "We must not think only of ourselve, but those around us and how they judge" and should do manner to make good judgement for us.

Nowaday we do like this only when we think someone we know can see. Stranger is not important to consideration, so manner is poor in public place.

Not only for younger! Many salariman have terrible manner - they spit on a form, very wide legs as sitting, and loud yawn with so stinky breath in a train. I think "Are you Japanese man? It is so shame!"

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I find the Tokyo Metro quite well-behaved compared to some of the local lines. If you want real entertainment, try the white Jouban Line heading out into Ibaraki from Ueno. remember one man with an electric nasal hair clipper shoved up his nostril, men with their socks off in summer and culinary delights including dried squid washed down with one-cups.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

"They are FAR more rude than their SKorean counterparts"

Funny how I know several people who have lived in Korea for many years and says the exact opposite.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I don't se what is wrong with having a little drink on the train. also, JT, the pictures above are cut off halfway.

and behaviour of people on trains in (say) UK is way worse. Mugging anyone?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

smithinjapan, i will agree with you on most points. Giving up seats here is certainly less common than overseas. I cant excuse that, but i would say that stems from individuals being less than vocal about their need/want to have a seat. Not giving up your seat inconveniences one person only, so it is rare for people to be told off for it (I am not defending it btw, i wish people would be more vocal in this case). In Australia for example, i have seen barely pregnant women go completely mental at someone for not 'magically recognising' their pregnancy

I have also been told off for insinuating that a woman was old, because i asked if she wanted a seat.

But the food, and loud talking etc inconveniences many people, and in that sense i think violators are rarer than overseas. Hard to take a train home in Sydney without someone playing their favourite music on their phone loudspeakers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whenever Im in Tokyo I found the manners a lot better than in Vienna. Here people are on their mobiles all the time and talking loud. I heard things like divorce problems, love struggles and tales about sicknesses and sexual behaviour all the time - LOUD. And a lot of people eat things like kebap with onions etc. Drinking also alcohol is normal here. But one thing is a little bit different, when someone is old or pregnant its easier to get a seat.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

kozaki9210MAR. 29, 2013 - 08:25AM JST Such bad behaviers are common inJapan. Are there any issues like this in US or Europe?

Trains in the UK/Ireland- some people seem to have real problems flushing a toilet- the number of times I've walked into the bog to find a richard floating there is unreal. Some people are really dirty too- leaving crisp packets, crisps, drink bottles, hair and those little carrier bags everywhere.

Then there's the mobile phone ring tones and conversations..oh and don't forget the loonies.

Japan is good, believe me (vomit aside).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They Missed the ones about the Over-Weight Japanese Salaryman who, not only takes up his portion of the seat, but another 1/3 of the other persons seat.

Along with those people who stretch their arms out so they can read their paper, book, iPhone or what-ever, while they inadvertently mash their sweaty arms and bodies up against the next person, or the oyaji who insists on folding his arms, that causes his body to spill over into the next persons seat...

Or How about the people that cough and sneeze, without covering their mouths / noses...

Or the Racist Japanese, that will stare with a not-so-friendly smirk on their face, obviously attempting some non-verbal communications... That's about the 4 or 5 biggest I've seen in 3 decades...

Time to join the civilized world here japan... Please act like it...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Hide Suzuki: "Funny how I know several people who have lived in Korea for many years and says the exact opposite."

Did those people see a Japanese man light up on a stalled train and then tell a blind woman she had no right to chide him about it because she is handicapped? And that was only in today's reporting.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

As for the train manners here. There are people that don't follow rules as there are in every country however I find the trains far less noisy nor am I ever worried about getting mugged or attacked as is the common case in Australia, not to mention all the litter, drunks and racism that comes along with it. People complaining about this one time that some peanuts fell on their shoe seems pretty petty compared to what goes on in Aus.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

afanofjapan: " I cant excuse that, but i would say that stems from individuals being less than vocal about their need/want to have a seat."

I agree with you there, and I too have been refused (not chided) when offering to give up a seat to an elderly woman. But this is another point about Japanese culture -- what is the job of the attendants walking the train besides trying to sell tickets? They see this, but do NOTHING. You could call it bad manners to kick a person pretending to be asleep in a priority sleep when s/he doesn't need it and you do, but the inaction of Japanese on this in society is rampant, from trains to little kids starving to death next door. So yeah, we ought to encourage people to be more vocal and empower them more and not just insist on the broken honor system that pervades this society. Instead, what you get is 'women only cars' ("You were groped? well, why didn't you ride in the women only car?") and a bunch of other bandaids to staunch the bullet wounds. And heaven forbid you DO accost someone for doing something wrong like the blind lady accosting the man for smoking -- you get treated as the criminal if not stabbed or pushed in front of the train.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@smithinjapan, It is obvious you've never lived in SKorea. I've lived there a couple of years, and, although I have no dislike for them and have several friends there - there is absolutely no way you can call the Japanese more rude than the SKoreans!

First few months I was there after coming from Japan, I was just in shock about the manners of the people, I showed the wife a picture of the place where we'd living she asked 'whats all that garbage?' 'Thats much better than the alternatives!' I had to assure her. In Japan on a pedestrian green you can cross with confidence that no one will try to run you down (you'd really feel thankfu;l to a SKorean driver who'd extend you the same coutesy, even when cops are there), If you ride a bus you have to run to your seat coz the driver will accelerate like in a race, he'll make sudden brakes while people about to descend are standing up (coz u have to stand up or he'll just drive through your stop). In just the first few months my wife got into a fight with a taxi driver, a fight with several ajummas,... theres so much more examples - we eventually took the 'rudeness' as matter of course and just learned to be rude back when necessary.

We now live in New York and we actually find New Yorkers much more docile and the place much more relaxing than SKorea, and that should say a lot.

On trains, I'd rather have the Japanese train anytime over the NY or SKorean one.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ah, but there is where you and Japanese are mistaken; they THINK they have better manners than most of the world but when you point out the fact that they do not you are 'bashing Japanese culture' (they don't actually deny it's just as much a part of culture here as anywhere else when they reach that bottom-of-the-barrel argument).

No smith. It's usually the foreign travelers who visit Japan thinks Japan have better manners than their own country. And let's face it. Which group of people organizes a unauthorized "party" disrupting the daily commute and have the nerve to argue that it's their god given right to do so because they are paying customers?

And thanks to XianDC for putting the SK situation into perspective. The below article indicates some Korean perspective on Japanese public transportation as opposed to their country's. It basically confirms what you stated.

http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/5019871/

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"Please use silent mode. Speak quitely during phone conversation".

How about not having a phone conversation, period!! It appears the subways there have reception throughout so a person can converse without getting cutoff.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@smithinjapan

"Did those people see a Japanese man light up on a stalled train and then tell a blind woman she had no right to chide him about it because she is handicapped?"

No, everyone in South Korea or actually anyone outside of Japan has utmost respect to all the strangers they are riding any train with LOL.

You NEVER see any rude behavior outside of Japan in any public places, I swear. Rude behaviors are non-existent.

SMH, I guess even to someone who seems intelligent like you, grass looks greener on the other side. There are rude people everywhere, Japan is no exception. But since there are soooooo many commuters in a small country, specially Tokyo, it does seem a lot but not any more than other countries.

Is this so hard to understand ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Rude behavior on transit is not a problem unique to Japan. It irritates the people who are polite to no end. Short of attempting to see the divine Buddha in each thoughtless perpetrator, there's not much that can be done. Shoganai.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smithinjapan, never missing an opportunity to slip the boot into Japan, or the Japanese.

Japanese trains are great examples of how well-ordered and thoughtful most Japanese are. Yes, occasionally there are exceptions, and they stand out a mile. But how you turn those into your main characterisation of the Japanese whilst ignoring the thousands you also see sitting or standing doing the right thing, makes no sense. The guy lighting a cigarette on a train? It's so outrageous it made the news.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Kimokekahuna Imagine a thread where Kimokakehuna doesn't bash the Chinese. I have ridden many trains in China. Unfortunately, people did speak in that language that you despise so much. How rude can you get?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is that Charisma Man with the backpack?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When Mrs Des was (heavily) pregnant, she had to ask people in Tokyo if she could please have a seat. So, yeah, they definitely need education in public manners down there. Hope the campaign works, and I reckon JR could market these signs on souvenirs for foreign tourists!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pexa: "People complaining about this one time that some peanuts fell on their shoe seems pretty petty compared to what goes on in Aus."

I know! and the gall of the woman who complained about being raped in a shinkansen toilet while everyone else pretend to be asleep while the rapist threatened them! That happen in Aus?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Tamarama: "The guy lighting a cigarette on a train? It's so outrageous it made the news."

Good point, but light gun shootings in the US, the common place does not make the news. The man in question, which you have acknowledged as being bad mannered but chosen to chide me for bringing it up, is rather an exception, while ignorance of the 'rules' is not. Do you know what the funny thing is? I hear people talk about how 'moved' they were when every once in a while a kid gives up his seat for an elder -- but the people telling the story are not that old. Now, do I need to spell that out?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

sad thing is most of them are actually accurate.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think it's great and exportable to emerging developing countries like India, China which their transportation infrastructure are growing too fast...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Kaz: India and China, emerging countries? Hmm. They've been around longer than Japan. Maybe you meant 'In countries with emerging mass transit systems like India and China'?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapan

The man in question, which you have acknowledged as being bad mannered but chosen to chide me for bringing it up, is rather an exception, while ignorance of the 'rules' is not

I absolutely disagree with you. The vast majority of people in Japan who use the train are extremely well-mannered and considerate. You see it all the time, constantly. Very, very occasionally, you see someone be selfish and/or rude, but in my opinion is very much the exception and certainly not indicative of Japanese people in general. I think you are miles off the mark.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@YongYang- Actually, Kaz said, "emerging developing countries," which is accurate when referring to their economies. Both India and China are considered developing economies, though the coined term BRIC groups them with Russia and Brazil to give them special accelerated status just behind Mexico and South Korea in terms of economic maturity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tamarama: "Very, very occasionally, you see someone be selfish and/or rude,"

Actually, you see people being rude on the trains these days pretty much ALL THE TIME, although the 'rudeness' they conduct is questionable. Today I saw two older men spitting on the platforms, saw highschool kids putting their gym bags in front of the doors (they moved them when people had to get off, to their credit), saw no less than five businessmen talking loudly on cellphones, saw an obachan take up three spaces with her shopping, etc. And just wait until hanami season goes on full tilt!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I never meet rude Japanese on a train. Maybe I live in a different Japan...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Martine- Never met a rude Japanese on a train? Where do you live? I don't believe Japanese train riders are rude in general, but in my 7 years in Japan I observed 1000s of incidences I would deem rude. The worst were, one night my then girlfriend and I were returning home on the Yamanote quite late after a night out.

She was showing a bit of cleavage and a drunk salaryman was standing over us struggling to stand up straight as he was clearly drunk. Then he noticed her cleavage, his eyes got big and he made a big smile and began to stare directly at her chest with no shame. Then, to top it off, he got an erection that was staring us both in the face. Naturally, when confronted with the last part we had had enough so we got up and moved.

Years later, while traveling home with my Japanese wife. We were at Takadanababa station. It was late on a weekend and very crowded. Were were first in line and the was a drunk salaryman to my left who was yelling at the people in our line that we were in the wrong line for the next train and we had better not try to get on in front of him. My wife insisted I ignore him, so I continued to read my newspaper. When the train arrived we pushed on and much to my surprise (and my wife's!) he attacked me from behind! After recovering from the surprise I protected my wife and I by pounding his head until he was subdued then physically throwing him off the train. Luckily I was not seriously injured and maybe even more importantly not questioned by the police.

So, as you can see, just like any society, Japan has its share of rude people and if you have never seen any, then you must not get out much.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Martine: "I never meet rude Japanese on a train. Maybe I live in a different Japan..."

How long have you been here, my friend? If you want to compare the manners of Japanese on trains to other nations, I will agree with pretty much everyone that aside from a few personal issues (girls putting on make up, for example), people here are quite polite. Now, keeping in mind that in different cultures what is acceptable varies, if you then take what USED to be considered rude on trains in Japan but is now common place, that's where you get the debate. The problem with Japan is that almost everything is lip-service. Priority seating is clearly marked, but clearly not enforced. Women-only cars -- an excuse to avoid dealing with groping -- is abused daily by men who don't give a damn. Ad nauseum. Yeah, having only two or three Japanese spitting on the trains as opposed to people in China doing it a lot more could be proof of better manners, if you like, but considering the fact that people say Japanese never do that... well... you kind of lose that argument.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

What I notice is that people on trains in Tokyo put up with ANY amount of crowding. In the US, the passengers on a crowded train will put up their hands and tell the people still on the platform not to get on, wait for the next train. That takes some highly evolved group attitude skills to endure the crowded-ness without panicking or getting aggressive.

That said I am rather low on the evolutionary ladder so I arranged my life to avoid the crowded trains and ride a bicycle instead most of the time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These posters that are descriptive and lucid are appealing for minding your behavior on rides. In other words you are always looked by neighboring passengers. I don't matter these posters, because I don't ride public rides very much. But the characters in the posters make me feel pleasant.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great series of posters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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