Japanese cities, prefectures or government bodies that want to help people realize love need to go to great lengths Japanese Train Station, 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.
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?
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”.
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