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Finger-pointing on trains and platforms

thomas

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If you have ever wondered why Japanese train drivers, conductors and stationmasters all point fingers and call on trains and platforms, here's why. On first encounter I found this procedure quite irritating, but it makes all sense now. :emoji_smile:

Question: Dear Alice, Until recently I lived in Tokyo and commuted on the JR Chuo Sobu Line from Kameido Station. I made it a practice to ride in the last compartment of the train so that I could enjoy the spectacle of the driver making those sincere hand gestures at every station. I’ve seen the same thing on other train and subway lines, so I’m sure there is a very good reason they do this. But what the heck is it?

Answer: I posed that question to Kazumi Tabata of the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, who showed me research conducted in 1994 by the Railway Technical Research Institute. Workers asked to complete a simple task made 2.38 errors per 100 actions when no special steps were taken to prevent errors. When told to add just calling or just pointing, their error rate dropped significantly. But the greatest reduction in error — to just 0.38 mistakes per 100 actions — was achieved when workers used both steps together. The combination of pointing and calling reduced mistakes by almost 85 per cent.

Source: JR gestures | The Japan Times


The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations - CityLab

WHY IN JAPAN TRAIN DRIVERS AND STATION AGENTS POINT ALL WITH THEIR FINGER? - beBee Producer
 
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I sometimes do this when I drive--e.g., point a little when looking right and left confirming it's safe to pull out.
 

Uncle Frank

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In the US , we often wave the middle finger at other drivers to point out their mistakes.
 
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On first encounter I found this procedure quite irritating, but it makes all sense now. :emoji_smile:
I never found it irritating, because like many things in Japan, when you understand the culture and psychology of the Japanese it makes sense why they do this.
 
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It's like a checklist on steroids.
Also made me recall some railroad-related works. Like Poppoya, or 股尾前科(Matao Maeka) series.

信号よし!
 

mdchachi

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If you have ever wondered why Japanese train drivers, conductors and stationmasters all point fingers and call on trains and platforms, here's why. On first encounter I found this procedure quite irritating, but it makes all sense now. :emoji_smile:

Question: Dear Alice, Until recently I lived in Tokyo and commuted on the JR Chuo Sobu Line from Kameido Station. I made it a practice to ride in the last compartment of the train so that I could enjoy the spectacle of the driver making those sincere hand gestures at every station. I’ve seen the same thing on other train and subway lines, so I’m sure there is a very good reason they do this. But what the heck is it?

Answer: I posed that question to Kazumi Tabata of the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, who showed me research conducted in 1994 by the Railway Technical Research Institute. Workers asked to complete a simple task made 2.38 errors per 100 actions when no special steps were taken to prevent errors. When told to add just calling or just pointing, their error rate dropped significantly. But the greatest reduction in error — to just 0.38 mistakes per 100 actions — was achieved when workers used both steps together. The combination of pointing and calling reduced mistakes by almost 85 per cent.

Source: JR gestures | The Japan Times


The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations - CityLab

WHY IN JAPAN TRAIN DRIVERS AND STATION AGENTS POINT ALL WITH THEIR FINGER? - beBee Producer
I always assumed it had to do with taking care to not make mistakes but glad to see there is some research behind it.
 
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If you have ever wondered why Japanese train drivers, conductors and stationmasters all point fingers and call on trains and platforms, here's why. On first encounter I found this procedure quite irritating, but it makes all sense now. :emoji_smile:

Question: Dear Alice, Until recently I lived in Tokyo and commuted on the JR Chuo Sobu Line from Kameido Station. I made it a practice to ride in the last compartment of the train so that I could enjoy the spectacle of the driver making those sincere hand gestures at every station. I’ve seen the same thing on other train and subway lines, so I’m sure there is a very good reason they do this. But what the heck is it?

Answer: I posed that question to Kazumi Tabata of the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association, who showed me research conducted in 1994 by the Railway Technical Research Institute. Workers asked to complete a simple task made 2.38 errors per 100 actions when no special steps were taken to prevent errors. When told to add just calling or just pointing, their error rate dropped significantly. But the greatest reduction in error — to just 0.38 mistakes per 100 actions — was achieved when workers used both steps together. The combination of pointing and calling reduced mistakes by almost 85 per cent.

Source: JR gestures | The Japan Times


The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations - CityLab

WHY IN JAPAN TRAIN DRIVERS AND STATION AGENTS POINT ALL WITH THEIR FINGER? - beBee Producer
I'm sorry I don't get it completely.
In the driver's licence exam in the US the examiner used to ask for hand signs.
I understood it as a way to get drivers to communicate.
 
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