11 Hilariously Offensive signs found on Trains in Japan

Coming to Japan, I was expecting to see lots of “Engrish” (mis-used English words in Japan). But then I realized I was in Tokyo, not only one of the most developed cities in Japan, but also the city with the highest concentration of foreigners in business.

So I still do see “English” – just not as often as I had hoped.


Instead, I see signs that are accidentally and offensively hilarious in a million other ways. I’ve been collecting pictures for the last couple months and putting them into categories. You are about to witness the “Hilariously Offensive signs found on a Japanese train.”


Accidentally offensive signs found on a Japanese train (listed from least to most offensive):

Honorary mention: Club Bigote. This is right next to the musashisakai station, so I thought it earned at least an honorary mention.

IMG_362311. The “make sure sound isn’t leaking out of your headphones” personal service announcement, with the adorable animal/child. I just like the phrasing of this one. It’s not actually offensive…


10. The “if you see a drunk person fall onto the tracks, press the panic button before they get hit” public service announcement. The only thinks I find hilariously offensive about this one is the fact the guy who fell on the track was drunk (which, as you’re going to find out, is a re-occurring theme) and the really bright colors.


9. The “don’t occupy more than one seat” public service announcement with the same adorable animal/child. Once again, I find the English in this one hilarious.


8. The “don’t fall asleep on the train or you might get robbed and/or sexually assaulted (because I can’t see the other guy’s hand)” public service announcement. I think it also might have a “if you see someone asleep on the train getting robbed and/or sexually assaulted, please stop the attack” aspects in it, but I’m not sure.


7. The “don’t text near the tracks or you might fall in” public service announcement. IMG_7917

6. The “don’t cough/throw up on other passengers” public service announcement. I’ve actually seen someone cough on another passenger. It was bad. There’s a whole post about train etiquette in Japan, if you’re interested.


5. The “if you see a chikan/creepy man flirting with or sexually assaulting a woman on the train, yell at him to stop” public service announcement  Actually, according to my boss, this is a rather brilliant and effective campaign.

We’re just going to ignore the fact that the pervert looks like the devil.


4. The “be careful about wearing crocs on the escalator, because they might get caught and break/hurt you” public service announcement.  I find this one unnecessary. I think that if you’re wearing crocs in the first place (already a big no-no) and manage to get them caught in the escalator, maybe that’s natural selection at its best (sorry dad).


3. The only mildly offensive weight-loss advertisement. The character is a super-hero/anime character that wants to lose weight so she can look like the rest of the freakishly tiny anime girls. I took this picture a couple months ago, they put out a new one every other month, with her getting progressively skinnier. So… Yeah.


2. The “watch out for upskirting” public service announcement. I see these all the time on the escalator which bothers me for two main reasons:

A. Before I came to Tokyo, I didn’t know what upskiting was (upskirting is sticking your phone camera underneath a girls skirt to get a picture of her underwear).

B. This apparently happens enough that they have to create multiple warning posters, spread across about ten stations, warning girls. That in itself is a little creepy…

Watch out for upskirting (taking pictures of a woman's underwear)

Watch out for upskirting (taking pictures of a woman’s underwear)

1. This is another “don’t drink and fall into the tracks” public service annoucement. I think the first time I saw this one I stopped dead in my tracks (holding up the line behind me), turned to Ryosuke, pointed at the poster, and was like “Holy crap, they’re allowed to make a poster like that??”

Be careful while you're drinking

Be careful while you’re drinking

In case you can’t notice, the dad is a salary-man (a Japanese business man). He’s been drinking, like usually. And since he’s coming home late, he bought his wife (or daughter) a present. However, since he’s so drunk, he’s about to fall in front of the moving train.

And then (the hilariously offensive part), h is daughter and wife are in the upper corner going “No, dad!” or “Honey, don’t die! No!”

… the heck?

That just makes me sad. But every time I see this poster, it makes me laugh. So it wins number one in my list of accidentally and offensively hilarious public service announcement posters at a Japanese train station list.

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3 responses to “11 Hilariously Offensive signs found on Trains in Japan

  1. Pingback: Sexism in Japan: Three Sexist Signs on Japanese Trains | Texan in Tokyo·

  2. Pingback: 5 Rules of Train Etiquette in Japan (that you should never break) | Texan in Tokyo·

  3. Pingback: 6 More Things People (especially foreigners) Need to Stop Doing on Trains in Japan | Texan in Tokyo·

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