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17-year-old girl hit by train while using smartphone on platform

84 Comments

A 17-year-old girl was hit and injured by a train as she walked along the edge of the platform, engrossed in her smartphone, police said.

According to police, the incident occurred at Kugenumakaigan Station in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Sankei Shimbun reported that the girl was walking along the edge of the platform, looking at her smartphone and with her head slightly tilted toward the tracks, when she was struck by a train on the Odakyu line. The girl received a slight head injury, police said.

The issue of people bumping into others, falling off train platforms or wandering into the path of an oncoming car (called "arukisumaho" in Japanese) has become a big issue recently.

JR East recently said that of 229 train delays caused by objects falling on tracks in April and May in seven prefectures, 23% were due to smartphones being dropped. Umbrellas were the next highest.

Last year, JR officials began a campaign to put up posters asking commuters to be careful with smartphones when standing or walking on platforms, as well as getting on and off trains.

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84 Comments
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It is amazing that something so logical as looking where you are going needs to be taught to people.

33 ( +34 / -1 )

maybe she'll learn to look in front of her next time.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

It surprises me that there aren't any more accidents, the same Keitai zombies just cross the streets without looking

24 ( +25 / -1 )

I'm not sure why. For some people it has become second nature, like waking up just at the right stop (I mastered this one), so there aren't as many accidents as you'd expect.

Then again, there are always those who....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some people got to learn the hard way.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Last year, JR officials began a campaign to put up posters asking commuters to be careful with smartphones when standing or walking on platforms, as well as getting on and off trains>

Does JR really believe that the idiots with their heads buried in their phones, would read these signs? By the way, why do so many stupid people have smartphones.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

@Kapuna

because they no longer have any brains

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The number of times these immersed walkers have bumped into me are more than I can count.....

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Man, people have to be spoon-fed common sense here.

Actually, people walking around with their heads down seems to be the norm, even when walking UP the stairs.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The number of times these immersed walkers have bumped into me are more than I can count.....

Really? Are you sure that's not you? It's literally never happened to me.

-24 ( +8 / -33 )

As an educator, I love bumping into people engrossed in there phones, me at 92KG they usually less than 60KG.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

How addicted are you that you can't put your phone down for 5 minutes. If you are looking up a map, i can kind of understand although i would appreciate it if you do it on the side, but gaming or chatting while walking?

9 ( +8 / -0 )

Been to that station. It's quite small and not much room to walk on the platform, and while I agree that she should have not been using her smartphone so close to the edge, they really need to put up some barriers.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I looked in my rearview mirror yesterday afternoon to see everyone in the car behind me looking at their phones, including the front seat passenger, and DRIVER! I kept looking, and every time I looked, the driver had his phone held up off to the side, he was reading stuff on the screen and glancing at traffic at the same time. it was stop and go late Sunday afternoon traffic so no speed was involved, but I'm glad he didn't hit me.

This girl was very lucky. I'm afraid though, that it's going to take something really big to wake people up.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They'll need more barriers to corral all the people not from jumping but just wandering on the the tracks. After they're installed they'll have even less reason to look up.

I want to make apps to help people but this aspect really bothers me

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can always tell the 'Smartphone' users when driving at night in the back streets; all you can see ahead of you is a ghostly white face almost floating on its own, as its attached body clad in a dark suit is almost invisible.

Note to oneself, leave plenty of room and expect them to cross without looking, or do something equally unexpected.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I had a guy who was doing the same thing while he was crossing against a red light run into me on my bike recently. Never even thought that was possible. Really impressive timing, though.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I notice that many Toei lines in Tokyo have walls barring people from being in the trains' way. Maybe JR should adopt that idea.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@Himajin

I looked in my rearview mirror yesterday afternoon to see everyone in the car behind me looking at their phones, including the front seat passenger, and DRIVER!

Oh, that's nothing. Just last month I was overtaken on the Chuo Expressway buy a shain doing roughly 140km/h WHILE texting on his phone! Literally left hand on the wheel, right hand holding the phone & looking down.

I've basically concluded that the public are treated like children here. Cartoonish mascots on everything aside, spend a day on the trains around Tokyo & it's clear as day - from repeated recordings on escalators (Escalator is in motionI - OH REALLY?!) to thousands of 'gokyoryoku onegaishimasu' messages in that obnoxious 'genki' female voice. P*sses me off more than anything else. Just ridiculous.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I cannot count the amount of teenagers I've seen miraculously avoid serious injury while walking around with their face stuck to their phones and, sadly, it's not a phenomenon solely for teenagers. They made it illegal to use a cell phone and wear earphones while riding a bicycle of driving a care, but I see it at least a few times every day. They have signs around train stations earning people of the dangers of walking around in hypnotic trance staring at your phone screen, but nobody pays attention. The only way to stop this kind of irresponsible, dangerous and stupid behavior is to set hefty fines and enforce the laws, but TIJ and laws are just guidelines.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"23% were due to smartphones being dropped."

Meaning 77% were about other things. Where's the rage about those things? This isn't about smartphones, it's about people being stupid and not paying attention. I saw a drunk guy nearly fall on the tracks last night coming home from an enkai. People read papers and look at books and maps while walking. The campaign, which you need to look up from whatever you are doing to notice, needs to focus on people paying attention, not limit itself to smart phones.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Using smartphones should be banned at the train station.

-7 ( +2 / -10 )

Not so smart

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As an educator, I love bumping into people engrossed in there phones

Teaching spelling or manners?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

One step short of a Darwin Award.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Teaching spelling or manners?

LOL. Actually, the spelling is fine. It's the grammar that needs work.

I love bumping into people engrossed in there phones

I don't know. Although I certainly can understand the emotion behind it, it seems to me that is just compounding bad manners with more bad manners.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Her parents should take away her phone until she reaches the legal age of maturity, although that's just an arbitrary figure as far as maturity (or common sense) is concerned.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While I have witnessed all the situations listed above, the one that has really stuck with me is from before the iPhone era. As I was walking along side a street that was without sidewalks, a young mannon a scooter came around the corner and right at me. In his right hand was a cell hone which he had up to his ear. Coming around the corner, faster than he should and with only one hand on the handle bars, he fell over as he tried to swerve to miss me. He then just laid there, wide eyed, hand still on the throttle, the rear wheeel spiining fast with out the resistance of the pavement and never moved the phone from his ear! I walked past, staring at the knuckle head who almost ran me over and after walking some distance and still hearing the engine running I walked back to ask if he was OK. He was still on his side with the phone to his ear!

@Strangerland,

How can it be a persons fault for being walked into by phone zombies when one is standind still at a traffic crossing, or in line for a bus, train or taxi?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As an educator, I love bumping into people engrossed in there phones, me at 92KG they usually less than 60KG.

I hope the subject you're teaching isn't English. ("...engrossed in 'there' phones...")

5 ( +6 / -1 )

How can it be a persons fault for being walked into by phone zombies when one is standind still at a traffic crossing, or in line for a bus, train or taxi?

I just have to question how this can happen countless times when it's literally never happened to me. Not once.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

I get so annoyed by smartphone zombies, but then I catch myself doing it from time to time. I've stopped going around with headphones on listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Even though I can see where I'm going, it's easy to get engrossed in what I'm listening to and not pay attention to my surroundings. Let's all make a commitment to be more mindful.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Really? Are you sure that's not you? It's literally never happened to me.

Yep! Thanks again for your wisdom and setting about on the right path. I can clearly see were I veered off by blaming the cell phone zombie coursing towards me.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I am surprised this does not happen more often. So many smartphone zombies out there.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Man, people have to be spoon-fed common sense here.

Well this exists in many countries whether taking trains, driving cars or even train drivers themselves so I guess the World needs to be spoon-fed.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Good thing she learned her lesson without paying the ultimate price.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The number of times these immersed walkers have bumped into me are more than I can count.....

Really? Are you sure that's not you? It's literally never happened to me.

Strangerland, that's probably because you're paying attention and moving to avoid such people? I have to do the same as well, it gets to be annoying sometimes to have to be the one who needs to adjust course or dodge people who drift into your lane of traffic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Last year, JR officials began a campaign to put up posters asking commuters to be careful with smartphones when standing or walking on platforms, as well as getting on and off trains.

Is there a problem in this country that bureaucrats don`t think can be solved by putting up more signs and posters?

Would love to see more barriers being put up to physically prevent people from falling onto the tracks. This seems a no brainer and doesn`t relate just to the cell phone gawkers, personally I feel pretty insecure on overcrowded rush hour platforms when a train comes into the station knowing that some idiot might knock me over to certain death in front of it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I've been a runner since I was 11 (40 years now!) and so I'm really attuned to my surroundings. I love noticing things when I'm out walking or driving. The idea of wasting that time on a smartphone seems really dumb to me. The things these poor people are missing is what is called "life."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

why cant they just simply stop or sit down before looking at or using there phones? its not hard at all to do and even a child can do it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You know that knobbly yellow line at the edge of the platform? Stay off it!!! I'm glad the girl wasn't seriously hurt.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a driver here in the UK a similar thing happens to me quite often, and that is Joggers and cyclists run out in front of you at junctions and cyclists turn right or left in front of you without looking, and I would say the 95% of them have ear pieces in listening to music on there mobile phones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So 2 stories recently, one mother kills her child by dropping her phone while driving and this girl. Im guessing in 10 years there's gonna be a huge database for these types of Darwinian accidents.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The Walking (brain) Dead.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Strangerland, that's probably because you're paying attention and moving to avoid such people? I have to do the same as well, it gets to be annoying sometimes to have to be the one who needs to adjust course or dodge people who drift into your lane of traffic.

To some degree maybe. I make an effort not to walk into people. But one thing I've noticed about the 'zombies' is that they move anyways, without me needing to. And one poster said this:

How can it be a persons fault for being walked into by phone zombies when one is standind still at a traffic crossing, or in line for a bus, train or taxi?

I wouldn't be moving to avoid such people in such a case - as the point was that the person is not moving and just being walked into.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

There's actually a new technology of minimizing the danger of texting while walking. It's done by replacing the background if your screen with a live video feed of whatever is in front of. Then your text message would appear as an overlay of your camera feed allowing you to see what's ahead of you while texting at the same time. This reduces the risk of running into things.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Strangerland

"I was describing snow to them and they refused to believe that there was such a thing." from The King and I.

I am fairly experienced, seemingly having many that you do not, yet I do not automatically disbelieve people who have experienced things I have not. Even the most experienced has not experienced it all.

Idiot phone zombies are a problem the world over, not a Japan thing. Not that matters to those of us living in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

wildwest: "As an educator, I love bumping into people engrossed in there phones, me at 92KG they usually less than 60KG."

So you enjoy wilfully assaulting people. Don't be surprised when you get arrested one of these days, and PLEASE don't say, "Why?" when you do.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The Barriers are being put up, Not sure if all Yamamoto stations got theirs yet.

Don't venture much into the Tokyo town centre but Akihabara station had them. Lots of stations to do and they can only work during the nighttime when theyTrains are not running.

Also given that there are multiple train companies financing will go differently, unless you want ticket prices to go up a LOT.

Not sure what will happen at stations where they use different train models with different door spacing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am fairly experienced, seemingly having many that you do not, yet I do not automatically disbelieve people who have experienced things I have not. Even the most experienced has not experienced it all.

I didn't 'automatically disbelieve', I questioned whether the commenter didn't have some responsibility in it.

I know it happens, but to happen 'more than [he] can count'? That's a lot. And considering it's literally never happened to me, and I'm in Tokyo same as most/many others here, I would suspect that someone making this claim is either grossly exaggerating, or has some own personal responsibility in the matter.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

There's a certain age where people think nothing will happen to them. I used to ride a motorcycle with no helmet. When you reach 50, which is an age where you can be extraordinarily active, it's a normal arc to begin being more concerned about hazards. You don't cross the street just because the light turned green. You think a bit more about wet pavement. You start reading the situation on the street at night with more attention. You start sitting in the front of the bus. You take that scarf off before you get near the stove. You don't let your personal audio system block the sounds of the scene around you. You don't reach into your pocket when someone asks you for change. And then ten years later, when ylu're walking around on blood thinners, it's another whole new ball game.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Not sure what will happen at stations where they use different train models with different door spacing.

This is one of the reasons many stations don't have barriers - the various trains that come do not have the same door spacing and/or numbers, so barriers cannot be put up.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I am waiting for the first one to sue Apple

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@strangerland. Same here. I have never had anyone bump into me while they were engrossed with their phones. Surprised it hasn't happened considering how addicted we have become to these cursed things... both here and back in the old country. Although I myself have bumped into others on the odd occasion ... some call it perving.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sounds like her phone was smarter than her.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@wakarimasen. You might be right. I know my smartphone is smarter than me... but I'm much stronger than it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smartphone makers should insert a mandatory function that turns the rear camera on and uses half the display or makes a transparent overlay to show what is in front of the user if the phone is detected to be in motion

obviously people don't have the sense of self preservation to avoid dangerous behavior in dangerous places, the above might just prevent a few of these kinds of incidents with trains and cars.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The issue of people bumping into others, falling off train platforms or wandering into the path of an oncoming car (called “arukisumaho” in Japanese) has become a big issue recently.

Actually, "arukisumaho" is the act of walking while using a smartphone. Aruki = to walk. Sumaho = smartphone.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"I know it happens, but to happen 'more than [he] can count'? That's a lot. And considering it's literally never happened to me, and I'm in Tokyo same as most/many others here, I would suspect that someone making this claim is either grossly exaggerating, or has some own personal responsibility in the matter."

It has happened to me more times than I can count, too. Doesn't happen so much now that I stop my foot to make a very load sound to cuase them to look up, but even then, those with ear phones on can't hear and I don't have 360 degree vision.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It has happened to me more times than I can count, too.

I wonder if you just have a more sensitive range than they do, and that if you were a little more patient, they wouldn't go around you without you having to do anything.

After all, as I say, it's literally (and I only use that word in its literal meaning) never happened to me. Not even once.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Stupid people do stupid things. Always did, always will. Some of them get taken out of the gene pool. Fact of life. There is nothing that you or I can do to change that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No sarcasm, but so many (intelligent) opinions (keep the forum alive) that do little to change human behavior. Neither does mine, but I for one am relieved nothing serious happened to the girl.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Did the cop return for another up-skirt photo when shr wasn't looking?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

We live in an age, an awkward era that there are smartphones, smartTVs, smartCars and even smartHouses, yet, some people aren't smart enough to learn how to live without all of it, giving reason to some smartAss to come and mock.

- What a time to be alive.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, it not just a Japanese problem, smartphone zombies are everywhere in the world. Try watching these videos, this phenom is a world wide problem. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=smartphone+zombies

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Artificial Intelligence is not match for Natural stupidity!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

スマホ Hmmm. I used to live in Kobe. Just west of Kobe is beach that fills up in the summer with a lot of スマホs 

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good thing she learned her lesson without paying the ultimate price. look I know im stating the obvious but it impossible to learn a lesson when your dead. so it great to hear she lived and hopefully learned her lesson.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There needs to be a "common sense" app!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The girl received a slight head injury, police said. No Shiat!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is amazing that something so logical as looking where you are going needs to be taught to people.

I have been led to believe that this is an ever growing world-wide problem.

The girl received a slight head injury,

One, probably not enough of an injury to change her habits. or two, maybe already was "touched" in the head by the results of her behavior, and this train knocked some sense into her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OMG but I HATE to have to constantly dodge these ZOMBIES on the streets, I can't lie and say I don't text while walking but there is always a the proper time and place. The guy glued to his phone when the train doors are opening, slowly walks into the train while everybody else is pissed, the guy using his phone while walking through a very crowded station, sometimes I want to slap people.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Maybe she should get the "hi-speed Train" app! The one that warns you that several tons of hurtling metal are coming right at you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have said since the movie came out, Wall-E shows what humanity is becoming. The only way to put an end to it is to ...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I see people using their smartphones while riding their bicycles all the time when I'm driving around town. It's pretty scary how much confidence bike riders here have in the attentiveness of car drivers.

Cyclist mannerism one of my biggest pet peeves here in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@ Laguna - I've been a runner since I was 11 (40 years now!) and so I'm really attuned to my surroundings. I love noticing things when I'm out walking or driving. The idea of wasting that time on a smartphone seems really dumb to me. The things these poor people are missing is what is called "life."

Posted from a smart phone, no doubt. ;D

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seriously I'm surprised to see that this hasn't happened already before. With the number of people I see every day walking and texting, or looking at the smartphones, I would have thought that such accidents or similar ones would have been reported more.

But seriously, it's kind of annoying and frustrating especially with the amount of school students nowadays walking with smartphones in hand. We all know that people can rarely multitask and I don't understand what is so important that it has to be prioritized ahead of watching where you're going or trying to avoid accidents.

I hope the girl has learned her lesson.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Smartphone distraction happens all over the world - especially among teens and invincible 20 somethngs.

In fact, the leading cause of auto accidents in the US is texting or eating while driving.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just have to question how this can happen countless times when it's literally never happened to me. Not once.

Maybe people just want to avoid you.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Oh My Gosh!!, Never do it then! Poor-poor girl there at the station.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Once i was traveling in japan there was a girl she was literally leaning on me and using her phone the whole time . After i moved little away frm her she started leaning on other people . Most of these people don't hold on the train by their train and use their phone

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyometal, if strangerland had been riding that bike instead of you that would never have happened.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe people just want to avoid you.

That would mean that the so called zombies are actually aware of who are around them, so if they want to avoid me, that would mean they don't care about avoiding the other people. What would be the purpose of that?

Tokyometal, if strangerland had been riding that bike instead of you that would never have happened.

You're actually right, but not for the reasons you think.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ive had japanese people walk right into me while being in the zombie state of mind and using these phones. Its like its become the latest social phobia. before, wearing the kaze mask was the trend to hide ones emotions. That seems to have faded, and now its total immersion into ones phone. in any other country this obvious herd mentality behavior would be seen as weird but in Japan its completely acceptable.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

Certainly have to be very alert when walking down the street to avoid people totally engrossed in their phones. Not sure why the Japanese do everything to hide their emotions and shut themselves off from the outside world. Could be a cultural thing or could be their brains are wired differently. Just for fun sometimes I play chicken and move out of the way right at the last moment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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