Make-up etiquette video by Japanese train company faces backlash

A video by Japanese railway operator Tokyu Corp admonishes women for applying make-up on trains.
A video by Japanese railway operator Tokyu Corp admonishes women for applying make-up on trains.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

TOKYO - A video by a Japanese railway operator Tokyu Corp that admonishes women for applying make-up on trains has raised heckles in Japan. The Japan Times reported that the 30-second video has set off a "storm of criticism on social".

Some argue that there is far worse behaviour the company should target, while others said it has gone too far in restricting passenger behaviour.

Many netizens Japanese media quoted asked why drunks and gropers were not targeted instead, as they were bigger nuisances.

Others pointed out that the make-up could stain other people's clothing.

The video starts in a train carriage where one woman, played by actress Sawa Nimura, watches others apply lipstick and mascara.

She then says: "Women in the city are all beautiful. But they are ugly to see, at times."

The character played by Nimura jumps up and raps angrily at the women, who ignore her.

"Why can't you do it before you get on the train?" she sings. "You get your eyebrows back/You have more eyelashes on/Your looks have changed/They are all seen," she sings, according to a translation by Japan Times.

The advertisement - released on Sept 16 - ends with the message "Please refrain from putting on make-up on the train".

Twitter user ryudokaoruko said: "Of course, I'd understand if they'd said, if you put make-up on the train, the powder might scatter, the scent might be strong, things might soil the car or other people's clothing and would cause trouble for others."

"But there's no reason I should be told by a rail company whether I look pretty or unseemly."

Some thought the ad targeted women unfairly.

"Why are they being criticised for doing something that causes no harm to others? For just looking ugly?" a netizen was quoted by Japan Today.

But a Tokyu spokesman told Japan Times that they have "received more positive feedback (about the make-up ad) than negative".

The railway company has no plans to withdraw the ad, which is one in a series of eight clips on train rules and manners.

Other ads target behaviour like using smartphones while walking on the platform, jumping queues and shoving others with large backpacks.

The themes for the other four have yet to be announced.

The spokesman added that the pet peeves the ads target were chosen based on a survey by the Association of Japanese Private Railways.

Putting make-up on ranked eighth among acts considered a nuisance to passengers, according to the survey of 2,105 people, conducted between October-November last year.

Top of the list was making loud noises.

Other ads by Tokyu Corp: