The Tokyo Metro has been teaching travellers about good public behaviour for some years now. The newest campaign sees example-givers in cartoon form; apparently a harsh lesson for the Japanese, who are used to teddy bears and puppets telling them how to behave. Since April metro-goers have had a new lesson to learn each month. So far, these include: don't get your packed lunch out, put on your make-up, or play golf with an umbrella... Seems trivial, but being told to "do it at home" has caused a real polemic on the Japanese web.
One of the posters. The messages are in both Japanese and English. More below.
Jean-Marc is an American who's been living in Japan for 14 years. He works in advertising.
One thing that bothers me, however, is that these posters are targeting very minor things while ignoring the major ones. For a long time, for example, there've been men who try to grope women during the rush hour crowd, when the trains are too packed to even see who's touching you, let alone get away or stop them. Only recently have authorities started taking this seriously, with the police cracking down and making arrests, and the train companies responding by offering women-only cars during rush hour. Some lines have put up posters letting passengers know that this won't be tolerated, but to the best of my knowledge, Tokyo Metro is just focusing on petty annoyances."
Fumiko Ichikawa is a consultant from Tokyo who deals with human behaviour.
The humorous aspect is probably the most important, because commuters here are fed up with all those announcements and campaigns on how we should behave on public transport. I don't find putting on makeup impolite, as a woman I'm surprised and impressed at the same time that some people have the guts to do it. Some people say it's actually the scent of the cosmetics that disturb people; some say it's the 'under construction' face you're exposing to the general public."