national

Use of selfie sticks banned at 1,195 stations in Japan

41 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

With Japanese society’s overlapping loves of photography, smartphones, and social media, it was only a matter of time until selfie sticks took the country by storm. They’re an especially common site at tourist destinations in the country, since no proper Japanese journey is complete without commemorative photos taken of the group posing with the most famous local attraction, shinkansen, and possibly whatever the local culinary delicacy is.

But as of this weekend, there are 1,195 places where you’ll see plenty of travelers but not a single selfie stick: the train stations of western Japan, which have prohibited their use.

Due to a happy fluke of the calendar, Japan is enjoying a five-day weekend stretching from September 19 to 23. While that’s not really long enough to head overseas, plenty of people are looking at that precious block of free time and planning a domestic trip.

But if you’re going to Osaka or any part of Japan west of the centrally located city, be advised that you might not be able to use your selfie stick to commemorate the exact moment of your arrival in or departure from the town you’re visiting. West Japan Railway, also known as JR West, has announced that as of Saturday, the use of selfie sticks will no longer be allowed within its 1,195 stations, shinkansen areas included.

Two reasons were given for the shift in policy. First, since the construction of most of JR West’s stations predate even the invention of the term “selfie,” they weren’t designed with selfie sticks in mind. Many facilities have overhead wiring or other apparatuses that the company fears can be affected or damaged by being struck by the selfie stick, or through electric shocks triggered by close proximity to the smartphone even if no direct contact occurs.

Secondly, and this seems like it’s probably the actual primary reason, is a fear that groups and individuals standing on the station platforms and swinging their selfie sticks around to get the perfectly angled snapshot probably aren’t paying as much attention to their surroundings as they should be. They’re more likely to impede the smooth flow of passengers through the area, and can be nuisance for those who have to walk around or dodge them to prevent collisions. Even worse is the concern that people who are staring at a smartphone attached to an extended rod aren’t watching their feet, and could easily fall onto the tracks and into the path of an oncoming train.

Use of selfie sticks is still currently allowed at non-JR stations in west Japan, but it won’t be a surprise if other rail operators follow JR West’s lead and enact similar restrictions.

Source: NHK News Web

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 8 kinds of photos that Japanese girls always post on Twitter -- Japan’s newest hot spring springs forth…from the center of Kobe! -- Harry Potter and the Selfie Stick of Douchery

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


41 Comments
Login to comment

Thank you JR!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Ban them everywhere!

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Let's not forget the Japanese tourist who died trying to take a selfie at the Taj Mahal - he fell down some stairs...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Just read about a Japanese tourist dying at the Taj Mahal in India while taking a selfie. This is NOT the way anyone should be dying.

People are forgetting common sense and manners with smart phones in general and the use of selfie sticks in particular.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Wow! They are banning narcissism in Japan? This is just going to put more pressure on escolator mirrors and reflections on train and shopfront windows. How will the Japanese survive if they can't see themselves every three minutes?

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

I do weddings. Yes, thumbs-down me all you want. I'm a Christian and I take it seriously. But two weeks ago there was a woman in the congregation literally doing a "selfie" while I was trying to conduct the service. I had to bite my thumb in order not to attack her....

19 ( +22 / -5 )

Actually I think this is aimed more at the Korean and Chinese tourists than the Japanese. They're fervent and aggressive users of the selfie stick--I've seen this in Hawaii too. It might be different in Osaka, but here in Tokyo I've not seen a lot of Japanese using them.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

"Secondly, and this seems like it’s probably the actual primary reason, is a fear that groups and individuals standing on the station platforms and swinging their selfie sticks around to get the perfectly angled snapshot probably aren’t paying as much attention to their surroundings as they should be."

Good on them for banning these things (keep in mind, this is Japan. "Banning" and then actually enforcing any ban are two very different things), though if this is their primary concern they better start banning Tecchan (the train otakus), cell phones in general, newspapers, guidebooks, advertisements, high heels, signboards, and especially drunks from entering the stations or being on the platforms -- all those things are just as bad when it comes to causing a nuisance, people not focussing on their footing, distraction, and accidents.

Anyway, again, given that smoking on most platforms has been banned (or limited to smoking areas) for years but people still light up as they please, no one's going to care or say anything directly to the people committing the 'infraction'.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I've heard it called the "narcissistick."

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I rarely see Japanese use these selfie sticks but do notice many foreigners using them, but for someone on this forum to blame an incident that didn't even occur in Japan is too far fetched. The real blame is as mentioned by those who are the majority of use and the are not Japanese.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I say 'Boo'. Our crew loves taking selfie's and have been doing so with tri-pods since the late 80's.

You can't stop silly accidents by banning sticks, drones, smart phones or flash photography.. The Taj Mahal victim would more than likely have just fallen off something anyway, with or without a stick, (extending your arm is just a shorter stick). Don't limit creativity and fun, just promote good manners and spatial awareness.

Also take care of each other. If you see someone about to fall down some stairs, say something.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Very sensible precautions. Hats off to JR West. Hope other railroad companies follow suit.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"hey can you take our picture? thanks..." but that would involve too much human interaction.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You can't stop silly accidents by banning sticks, drones, smart phones or flash photography.

And you can't stop thefts by making it illegal either. But I doubt you think laws against theft should be removed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Robots will do all this for us soon?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lucabrasi,

Those thoughts don't sound too Christian!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bjohnson23: "I rarely see Japanese use these selfie sticks but do notice many foreigners using them"

And, pres tel, WHERE do you see all of these foreigners (and how do you know they are) using them? I'm going to wager... in JAPAN. You see, there is a MUCH higher chance of someone who is traveling from abroad at the places you see all these foreigners you claim to see who is going to be taking selfies and pictures in general that just your average Joe Tanaka who lives here, has been there, and has done that. My friend who lives in Taiwan says he sees Japanese using the thing ALL THE TIME, as does an uncle of mine in Hawaii (he also says they are used just as much by others).

Naturally you are going to see others using them more in Japan, same as you're more likely to see Japanese traveling abroad and taking pics in places the natives live and work and do NOT take photos (as much). And if it IS only tourists/foreigners using them, that means that they are only targeting foreigners, and further proof that the reasons are hogwash if they fail to address and ban other items that lead to the same 'nuisance' or 'disturbing others' that selfie-sticks do.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Let's ban mobile phones too! While we are at portable games, iPods, mirrors, chewing gum.....the list is endless isn't it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No problem - just use a drone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've heard it called the "narcissistick."

People see it as narcissism but I see it as a way to avoid building up courage just to ask another person to take your photo. We are living in a society of people scared of direct contact with others. Same goes for people who send texts to cancel a meeting or expressing their feelings instead of calling or face-to-face contact. Maybe I am thinking to much....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yeah,no more silly stick!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go on ask someone to take the shot, make new friends, that said hopefully they won't leg it with your phone....Hmm Japan is pretty straight up I left my handbag on the seat in my car and it was still there when I got back.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would think another reason is on the train or on the platform, one can angle the stick down and get some upskirt photos. Having the perpfurther away from the victim makes it harder to single him/her out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Is there anything that is not prohibited or that we should not paying attention to make feel bad others because they do not do it in this country...? What is JR going to do? Give a fine? Jail the person? C'mon... give me a break...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There's no solution for stupidity.

I have long arms, so a selfie stick to capture that once in a life-time photo isn't used much, but I do have one and use it 1-2 times a day when touring famous world sites. 0.3m long is plenty and I don't have to bother someone nearby or put up with really bad photos taken by someone else. 20 sec with a selfie stick and I can get a properly composed, in-focus, photo of myself with some world heritage site in the background. Mom likes to see those. I've been really amazed at how poor the photos taken by a random person can be, got an entire collection.

For years, I didn't take any photos of my travels - zero. I regret that. Years ago, sites would sell a card deck of photos of the location - have one from my Dad's trip to Versailles. It isn't the same. Sure, the photos are better and don't have any people in them, but that is what makes a photo special - the people. My family thinks I'm special and since we can't all travel together everywhere, a selfie is a nice thing - especially if it is from my better half.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

According to a few psychologists.... taking a lot of selfies is an indicator of someone that lacks self confidence. For me, I guess I might take one because I might be lonely and want to show the world I still exist but it has not come to that yet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Taking selfies isn't necessarily a problem. Moreover, one shouldn't look at the logic and motive in taking selfies. However, people do need to practice some common sense. Naturally, if you're going to take a selfie, you should glance at the environment around you before you do so and if you're, say in an unstable environment or location, there are other things to think about besides satisfying one's narcissism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let's not forget the Japanese tourist who died trying to take a selfie at the Taj Mahal

Or the young Japanese woman who died falling over Niagara Falls taking a selfie a few years ago.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Commuting thru Tokyo on a regular basis, my way is routinely blocked by inconsiderate oafs who dont give a sh***. Not once have I been blocked by a selfie stick user.

This is just another move to target foreigners and keep them in line, since they tend to be the users. If the stick were invented in Japan it wouldn't be an issue at all.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"We are living in a society of people scared of direct contact with others."

Good let these people move into caves so the rest of us can function normally. Society need not continually make excuses for and cater to the just plain rude and those who only think of themselves as if they are the sole inhabitant of the earth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While that’s not really long enough to head overseas,

Says who? Korea and China are a short hop away, and there are plenty of other places to fly to in Asia for a short break.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Idiot sticks. Too bad there's no cure for stupidity.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I was at Mitsui Greenland yesterday with the kids, those things outside the park entrance. Luckily, most of the park prohibit the use of the thing and they are so over the top annoying and yes, they do pose a potential hazard of hitting you or a passerby in the head if they are not careful. Not sad to see them banned, hopefully, they ban them everywhere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They should instead ban standing anywhere that impedes the flow of traffic without a legitimate reason.

I really don't like bans on items for the most part, unless its something as dangerous as guns. Hate the selfie stick all you wont, but don't become a fascist or give in to fascism. This is a knee jerk reaction that is not at all mindful of concepts like fairness, freedom or the future.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good! Those things are ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually I think this is aimed more at the Korean and Chinese tourists than the Japanese. They're fervent and aggressive users of the selfie stick--I've seen this in Hawaii too. It might be different in Osaka, but here in Tokyo I've not seen a lot of Japanese using them.

That's why it's western Japan that is banning them! You don't see many Chinese in Tohoku!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! They are banning narcissism in Japan? This is just going to put more pressure on escalator mirrors and reflections on train and shopfront windows. How will the Japanese survive if they can't see themselves every three minutes?

I thought I was the only one who noticed this. I see more people looking at themselves on their phones than at chats. What is with that?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"hey can you take our picture? thanks..."

I still think this is the best way. Not only have several of the photos turned out better than if I had taken them myself (stick or no stick), but I've also made a few friends that way. (Always have a meishi handy.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, the robots will scream "Exterminate! Exterminate!" then pose with their human trophies while they deploy their built in selfie-stick to capture the moment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lucabrasiSep. 21, 2015 - 05:03PM JST I do weddings. Yes, thumbs-down me all you want. I'm a Christian and I take it seriously. But two weeks ago there was a woman in the congregation literally doing a "selfie" while I was trying to conduct the service. I had to bite my thumb in order not to attack her....

How christian of you! Please don''t hesitate the next time! (And are you actually saying you're a genuine minister doing wedding ceremonies in japan? good one!)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another rule for the Japanese to ignore

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites