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In modern society, many people feel a desire to erupt in rage if something irritates them. If railway companies take no measures, the number of violent incidents would continue rising greatly.

21 Comments

Mafumi Usui, a social psychology professor at the Graduate School of Niigata Seiryo University. For eight consecutive years, Japan’s major private railway companies have reported more than 200 violent incidents against station staff and train crews. (Asahi Shimbun)

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Make the ramifications for people who assault staff life-changing, and they'll think twice. And zero mitigation for the pissed-as-a-fart defence.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So desu ne, if there's no consequence, the behavior will continue

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, being packed in a long tube like packs of canned tuna every morning doesn't help either.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Stop pamepring the commuters and treating them like kids. Stop apologizing to them without any rhyme or reason. By doing this you are just spoiling them more and more.

Commuters need to accept certain realities of the situation too. For example: Crowded train during peak hours - it happens, train delay - it happens, train accidents - it happens.

If this is a real concern in one of the safest city on earth then let god help these commuters with their attitude and behavior.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

garfield1275JUL. 04, 2016 - 10:24AM JST Commuters need to accept certain realities of the situation too. For example: Crowded train during peak hours - it happens,

Not if your trains are planned and organized with rush-hour travel needs in mind, it doesn't.

I question the psychology professor's premise. Is this really a "modern society" problem? Far too often authorities in Japan blame "modern society" as a sort of impossible to confront boogie-man in order to save themselves from addressing real problems that are solvable, but take thought, effort, and work.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@katsu78: I beg to defer with your opinion. All the plans and organizing look great only on blue print. We had couple of serious accidents during peak hours in the past, the reason being that the motorman, a human being like most of us, was stressed out to limits just to meet the schedule.

There are thousands of reasons why a train can be delayed during peak hours. And please understand that there are only few motormen trying to control the situation, the crowd and their tantrums at times. Its not an easy job to say the least.

Personally I really sympathize the railway staff here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

garfield1275JUL. 04, 2016 - 11:45AM JST @katsu78: I beg to defer with your opinion.

Sorry, it's not an opinion, it's a fact. How many other countries in the world have to have their train platform staff physically cram people into the cars because they can't shut the doors otherwise?

It's something that happens because Tokyo train infrastructure isn't designed with peak transit numbers in mind, because that would cost more money. If JR and all the other railways are serious about keeping customers less stressed, they'll make travel on their lines more comfortable. They choose not to, because they know the people who make management decisions are not the people who have to deal with customers' frustrations.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

@katsu78:Why would JR choose NOT to make travelling more comfortable for its commuters? Why does JR Yamanote line, the core hub, upgrade their trains with newer facilities every 5 years? Why are they renovating several stations around Tokyo area and adding newer facilities for commuters safety? How many new lines have come up in and around Tokyo in the last 15 years? Which other metropolitan city in the world has the highest density of population per square meter area? Which metro railways in the world has better safety standards and lowest human casualities per year, i.e. excluding suicide cases? Which is the only metro railway in the world which carries maximum number of passengers during peak hours with minimum delay?

In other words nothing can be done when the commuters expectations are reaching beyond a reasonable limit. Looking at the end results during my day to day life, I can't comment much on the designing of the railway infrastructure or the management issues to blame for this "over hyped" issue. At least I have experienced a lot worse commuting situation in few other countries when it comes to metro railways.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Perhaps the powers that be might like to address the reasons why so much of Japan tries to cram itself into the greater Tokyo area, resulting in extreme over-crowding and insane levels of pressure, both physically and mentally.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

katsu78: "Is this really a "modern society" problem? Far too often authorities in Japan blame "modern society" as a sort of impossible to confront boogie-man in order to save themselves from addressing real problems that are solvable, but take thought, effort, and work."

We're in agreement. This has been going on for ages, and not just with train staff or on platforms. You CONSTANTLY read about -- or worse yet, encounter yourself -- people who snap if you bump into them by accident and don't apologise, or freak out if asked not to smoke in non-smoking areas, are criticised for something, etc. I mean, it's literally EVERY DAY we read about a kid stabbing his/her parents or vice-versa because "they told me not to play video games," or, "criticised my study habits", or, "was crying too much," or someone pushing someone else in front of a train because, "they said I shouldn't put on make up here". It's like smart phones -- an easy excuse to blame for age-old problems and avoid dealing with the root causes.

And yes, I agree that the train companies need to increase the number of trains and cars on trains to make it less packed. It is ridiculous how they cram people onto the trains and expect no one to get stressed out and lash out from the pressure. What a horrible way to start every morning and end every day.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In air travel, a recent study indicates that air rage incidents are 400% more likely to occur if economy class passengers happen to board the aircraft by first walking through the first-class cabin:

Physical and situational inequality on airplanes predicts air rage http://www.pnas.org/content/113/20/5588

Not that railways may be in a position to do anything about them, but perhaps there are also similar triggers for incidents on board trains in Japan (and elsewhere). For example, the mere presence of a fellow passenger with a nicer-looking suit or briefcase ... or maybe a handsome/beautiful travelling companion ... or even a quiet diligent-looking high school student from Gakshuin or Keio reminds the some of their less-privileged backgrounds or their delinquent son or daughter who dropped out after middle school...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Triggers???

I don't know if you've ever flown domestic class, but the seats and space are terrible! I don't think anyone gets jealous or triggered by first or business class, but instead get triggered by the lack of quality and space.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm also skeptical of this professor's claims. Does he have any evidence to back up his prediction or hypothesis?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder why people are becoming violent over things that just happen? You see stories on JT where people resort to extreme violence or even murder over the most stupid of things which you should really just brush off. Rather sad really.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This isn't so hard to understand that some will EXPLODE with some regularity, I mean Japan & Japanese society is a REAL pressure cooker PERIOD!

Toss in the MASSES commuting on trains from hell & there will always be people who PEAK & react, note I am not saying this is ok, clearly its not............JUST that some will react, its a numbers game.

And with a sick rationale that most business needs to be done face to face in big cities, all the office support needs to be there as well etc............ just makes for a BAD SITUATION waiting to happen & so they do!

Hell I did the commutes in my early days, hated it, got so I HAD to have a few drinks just to get on the train to go home, VERY UN-HEALTHY so I made changes, so I can work from home & an office of my own a short drive away, the BEST decision I ever made!

Until Japan starts to realize there are other ways of doing things these problems/issues will persist

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is all just a manifestation of the increasingly difficult of normal workers who ride trains. Wealth is created by workers but moves to the 1%. People's lives are more diffult than anytime since the end of the war. It is only too bad that the workers take out their frustration on other workers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Calm down. Or get a motorcycle. I love riding trains in this country, fast, punctual, clean. Just ride them by 10am, 2pm and you will have a whole new experience. But I got to say the rush hour here is a living hell. Like a hundred animals caged in a tiny space. You have to use all the muscles of your body just to keep yourself standing. This country is too small for this much people. Conflicts like these are unavoidable. Specially with so many egoist people that can't think a single second about the others around. They keep themselves immersed in their little screen and screw everyone else. I still remember all the stress it was to keep dodging walking zombies every single day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ThunderbirdJUL. 04, 2016 - 08:26PM JST Calm down. Or get a motorcycle.

Sadly I bet that solution doesn't work for the majority of commuters, whose manshon don't even have a safe place to park bikes. It would be nice if everyone could, but it's just not possible for some.

But I got to say the rush hour here is a living hell.

Frankly, I'm amazed that every day we don't have 100 acts of violence in rush hour. I'm a committed pacifist and the rush hour trains regularly push me to the point of wanting to cold-cock the people around me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, things can always get better. But Japanese people do not have to be so self critical all the time. I do not know of any other country that has train services as good as in Japan. The trains are always on time, they are clean, and the passengers are almost always polite. Yes, the services can be improved, but they are pretty good right now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another reason why the government should start promoting decentralization away from the capital. Tokyo is crowded and congested; this is the result when people are forced to commute to their jobs in the city. Businesses need to change their mindset as well as many seem to think that having a Tokyo office address is somehow prestigious. The government ought to provide incentives to companies so they consider setting up offices someplace else. Otherwise, scheduling additional trains, putting up posters to remind commuters of their manners, etc. is just a band-aid solution and does not address the root issues.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd say it's natural that there's a backlash against the rail companies, the Tokyo subways are basically all 100% late in the mornings.If you provide crappy services, people get angry

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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