Earlier this year, nearly 1,200 rail stations in Japan chose to ban the use of selfie sticks in reaction to the dangers of users not paying attention to their surroundings and the general nuisance caused by the photo-snapping peripherals in crowded areas. Now, East Japan Railways, Japan’s largest train operator, is taking aim at another problem: people walking through the station while staring at their smartphones instead of watching where they’re going.
But while you can ban selfie sticks and only ruffle the feathers of tourists and other leisure-oriented train passengers, millions of people rely on their smartphones during their daily commute to keep in touch with family, coworkers, and clients. So instead of prohibiting them, East Japan Railways has started a campaign to remind people not to use their smartphones while walking, and the reminder is so gentle that you can put it in your butt.
East Japan Railways’ busiest stations see more than a million people pass through their gates every day, and with that concentration of bodies, the problems caused by distracted walking have the potential to cause a literal domino effect. So from November 2, there’s a special message waiting inside the public restroom stalls at certain JR East rail hubs.
上からみなみ（浦和の持田香織） (@minami_genic) November 03, 2015
Along with a picture of a smartphone displaying an image of a footstep, the toilet paper is includes the message “Yamemasho, aruki sumaho,” or “Let’s stop using our smartphones while walking.”
The unusual message-delivery system is part of an awareness campaign from JR East, cell phone carriers NTT Docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank, and Japan’s Telecommunications Carriers Association. And yes, they know this particular media well enough to understand that, in the course of its natural use, it will probably get folded over, which is why the text is printed in multiple orientations.
ひなり@7日アコスタ (@gs_hnyk) November 03, 2015
And just so you know how serious they are, the message repeats for the entire roll.
JRのトイレットペーパーの本気度がスゴイ!!!!!! 歩きながらのツイートだけど、みなさん駅ホームでの歩きスマホはご注意で(＾ｰ^)ノ https://t.co/CQS9RXcbFS—
＊asari＊ (歌心太郎。) (@daybreaker2008) November 03, 2015
JR East hasn’t publicly announced which exact stations are stocked with this excrement-focused public service announcement. However, eye-witnesses have spotted it at Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Shinagawa Stations, three of the busiest in the city, as well as techno-loving Akihabara Station, so if you’re keen to take it for a test wipe, you know where to go after your next extra-large pork cutlet curry lunch/before your next marathon RocketNews24 reading session.