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09/06/2013 by
862 views

Japanese Train Station Redesigned In The Name Of Love

Japanese cities, prefectures or government bodies that want to help people realize love need to go to great lengths, due to the fact that Japanese couples don’t usually express affection towards each other in public. Public displays of affection, such as kissing, hugging and couples holding hands are considered rude. Campaigns promoting love are therefore not that common in Japan.

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A successful love campaign you might remember is the savvy project ”Yubari, no money but love” since 2007 by Beacon Communications. Faced with bankruptcy the city of Yubari needed to reinvent itself.

With the insight that Yubari boasted the lowest divorce rate in the whole of Japan, the idea arised to position the city as destination for happy couples.

Beacon produced official certificates of happily married couples, branded merchandise and Yubari music CDs. The effort worked: the annual number of “love” visitors to Yubari increased 10% year by year and it reduced the city’s debt by $31 million.

Another reason to help people realize love in Japan is because of the alarming fall in birth rates in the land of the rising sun.

The decline in Japan’s population set another record in 2012 with the number of deaths exceeding births for the sixth year in a row.

An unmanned train station, deep in Tottori Prefecture, hopes to copy Yubari’s success following its unusual renovation. Can this station become a national dating spot, increase tourism and the answer to Japan’s falling birthrate?

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Since the station is called “Koiyamagata Station”, and the character for “koi” (恋) is the character for love, the station was redesigned in pink as a place for lovers to come and spend time together. Koiyamagata Station (Oouchi, Chizucho, Tottori Prefecture) on the Chizu Express Line is surrounded by trees and hidden away from national highways.

The number of incoming and outgoing passengers numbers is only two per day. The person in charge of the station: “This station is a place where couples can be alone together”.

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Sources: The Inspiration Room, JapanCrush, Asahi and Remsy.

My Opinion?
Every little effort to realize love in Japan, is one to be cherished.

Japan is currently coping with difficult economic times and is still overcoming the devastating effects of natural disasters in the not so recent past. A combination not beneficial for love. Also in the long run predictions by researchers are not positive.

But one should never underestimate the power of the butterfly effect, where a small change at one place can result in large differences in a later state.

Japanese deep-rooted obsessions for technology and everything that is kawaii (cuteness) might be a step in the right direction.

Are the extremely popular neuro technologies Necomimi and Shippo (that help Japanese share their emotional mood) and the kawaii ”love” train station combined, a recipe for love?

Time will tell if this station will become the national dating spot, but it sure is a clever and cute move icon smile Japanese Train Station Redesigned In The Name Of Love

What About You?
What original ideas do you have to help Japanese couples realize love? And what would you do to turn around Japan’s falling birthrates?

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About the Author
Paul van Veenendaal (35) is an all-round marketing professional from the Netherlands with 13+ years of online experience and co-founder of ViralBlog. Currently Paul is working at Starcom Amsterdam as Social Media & Communnity Consultant for Honda, Samsung, GSK, Redbull, Heineken and Nintendo.

You can connect with Paul via TwitterGoogle+LinkedInFacebookWeiboPinterest or send him an email at paul@yizmo.com.

 

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Comments (1)

  • Igor Beuker 09/06/2013, 11:35

    First of all: Wow, this is guerrilla marketing 360 and more. Talking about going that last mile?!

    Love the insights and angle you are taking in this story. Agree with your opinion.

    However, the problem you mentioned seems to be so deeply anchored in the Japanese DNA for so long, that the solution might not even be clear to anthropologists.

    And, even if some anthropologists have clear answers, will that offer a solution for the tipping point? Or will the Japanese need several generations to change it?

    On the technology part, I say a BIG yes. But if guerrilla, robot and nano technology or neuro science will fix the human heart and can can bring the love back? I seriousely doubt that.

    Hopefully the people from Japan will look around; some of their (not so very close) neighbors might have the answer for them? Buddhists for example have no technology at all, but lot’s of love in their hearts..

     
 
 
 
 
 
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