According to a recent survey, as many as 80% of Japanese men object to the existence of Japan’s women-only carriages.
Some 80% of male survey respondents oppose the existence of such carriages, usually on grounds of unfairness, whilst 60% of women quizzed about the introduction of such services in Kobe approve.
Such services are frequently popular amongst women for being more comfortable than normal carriages, and for preventing chikan activity.
Most of the women-only carriage services are concentrated in the most overcrowded lines in Tokyo, with carriages typically marked with girlish pink stickers and additional markers on the platforms.
Boarding the women-only carriage as a man is not itself a crime, but is likely to be greeted with an icy reception from passengers and eventual intervention from conductors. There have been some doubts about the legality of forcibly excluding men from the carriages, but this being Japan nobody has actually tested the matter in court.
The major practical objection raised against the carriages is that they are supposedly much less full than ordinary carriages, so by their provision train operators are in effect providing discriminatory and inferior service to male customers.
Other practical objections tend to hinge on the fact that the carriages do not actually do anything to discourage or catch chikan, and may in effect simply concentrate more chikan on the remaining victims.
More principled opposition naturally picks up on the various gender equality implications of favouring women with such facilities whilst promoting the perception that male passengers are all predatory perverts.
Some men actually approve of the carriages as an effective protection against the not infrequent incidence of false groping allegations, which are typically successfully prosecuted based solely on an accusation of groping in a crowded carriage by the supposed victim – though so far operators have completely ignored demands for men-only carriages as an additional measure.
Others simply observe that if train operators did not run such horrendously overcrowded services as a matter of course, the conditions for widespread chikan activity would cease to exist.
Online, opposition is particularly strong:
“Be honest. You lot just want to rub up against young women, don’t you?”
“In every thread about these carriages it’s nothing but woman bashing, but the worst are the chikan doing the groping and the train companies packing people in to the trains like that.”
“It’s odd how they get away with packing their trains well over 100% capacity. Who determines the safety requirements? Shouldn’t everyone be seated in any case?”
“This is the first report saying most men oppose them that I’ve seen. Usually they claim everyone is in favour – possibly because the people conducting the surveys are the train companies and they are also the ones promoting the schemes.”
“Men-only carriages? If the sexes are equal, they would be provided. I’d support that.”
“Japan has so many chikan.”
“Make them. It’s worrying being near women on a train.”
“They’d be better off having carriages for the elderly and infirm, wouldn’t they?”
“It’d be better just to ban women from all but their own carriages.”
“They really should separate the sexes on trains, it’d stop any false chikan accusations completely.”
“Make more of them. They are so crowded now you never know when you might get accused of touching up a woman near you.”
“More of this feminist propaganda!”
“Just punish them more severely!”
“Crack down on false accusations!”
“I got on one by accident and was warned by a conductor. I was so glad to finally get a seat, but when I looked at the window it was women-only… the normal carriage was totally packed, what’s up with this discrimination?”
“Wasn’t this supposed to be a voluntary type thing? I saw a old guy who looked as if he had got on one by accident get surrounded by squawking women and then get dragged off the train to the station offices by a conductor though…”
“Men-only carriages would save us from false accusations. Why is everyone so against it?”
“There was a bunch of female diet members pushing for a ‘kids’ carriage, just for parents with children – a bunch of scumbags using kids as an excuse to grab even more carriages.”
“They don’t care about protecting anyone, there are no carriages for the elderly or children. They are only interested in treating men as potential criminals.”
“In Nagoya the carriage is right in the middle closest to the platform stairs, it’s a real nuisance.”
“Yes, in Nagoya the men have to walk to the ends of the platforms to get on.”
“I’ve never seen any chikan-related incident on the trains. Isn’t all of this just a huge overreaction?”
“I’ve been groped by a woman…”
“80% want to become chikan!”
“They should make chikan-only carriages.”