Let’s just put this out there: public transport is a pretty terrifying place to be a woman in Japan. The subway systems and trains that shepard thousands of commuters to and from work and school, sardined into the cars at more-than-max capacity, are a breeding ground for creeps referred to as chikan, who take advantage of the crammed space to assault women.
One such woman, Kumi Sasaki, reports being groped on the train nearly every single day for 6 years as a teenager on her way to school. The first time it happened, she was only 12 years old. Now in her thirties and living in Paris, Sasaki has published the aptly-titled book Tchikan on her experiences with the hundreds of men who accosted her: men of all ages, from other teens to seniors in their 70s, and one middle-aged, married perpetrator who went to so far as to follow her home.
Per Japan Today, the government and citizens themselves have been trying to implement measures to curb the rampant groping, from designating women-only trains to using impossible-to-remove stamps to brand the hands of their gropers. And yet, there’s still a prevelant attitude amongst the public that the issue’s simply “not a big deal,” and that only “certain types” of women will be targeted.
Sasaki’s story speaks to how truly damaging the assaults have been for her and so many other women. To this day, Sasaki is still fearful of men and riding the train; her trauma once even drove her to attempt suicide. According to Buzzfeed, Japanese reactions online have been mixed–some blame women’s low rank in Japanese society & the lack of education on sexual equality, while others are the kind of assholes who say she should just stop riding the train, or even to quit “bragging” about all the “attention” she gets.
Tchikan is only available in French at the moment, but a Japanese version is in the works. You can buy the book on Amazon here.
Via Japan Today