Japan etiquette video discourages applying make-up on trains

Advert by Tokyu Corp on etiquette on trains Image copyright Tokyu Corp
Image caption Some women say it's not up to a train company to tell them what to do

Is it acceptable to use your commute to apply make-up? One Japanese rail company thinks not and has released a song-and-dance video discouraging women from doing it.

Two female commuters are seen applying mascara and lipstick and a woman watching whispers "Mittomonai" or "ugly to see". She then angrily tells them off.

It's one of several train etiquette videos Tokyu corp plans to release. But some think it's a step too far in restricting people's behaviour.

The 30-second video released on 16 September starts with the phrase "Women in the city are all beautiful. But they are ugly to see, at times".

The women applying make-up are rebuked by an actress Sawa Nimura and then the phrase: "Please refrain from putting on make-up on the train" is heard.

"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," said Twitter user ryudokaoruko.

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

Image copyright Tokyu Corp
Image copyright Tokyu Corp

"People are angry not because 'they want to put make up on in trains'. Absolutely not. They're resisting 'this society that comes up with so many different reasons to justify misogyny and to oppress women," said hinase6s.

Others pointed out that there are much bigger nuisances on the trains such as drunkenness or groping.

However, many have supported the message of the advert even comparing applying make-up in public to defecating.

Others brought up a traditionally-held view that women who apply make-up in public are of questionable character.

"People are saying that in the West, applying make up in public is a sign that you're a prostitute, but Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is famous for often touching up her lipstick in front of the public (the talk is more about which brand she uses and no one criticises)," said Papurika dreams.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Britain's Queen Elizabeth has been photographed refreshing her lipstick in public every now and then

Tokyu corp has said that the video is one of a series aiming to educate passengers on rules and etiquette while using the trains.

The other videos focus on discouraging the use of smartphones while walking or inconveniencing other passengers with large bags on crowded trains.

Tokyu corp says the focus of the videos was chosen based on a survey by the Association of Japanese Private Railways on the biggest complaints by passengers using the trains.

Top of the list was making loud noises.

Reporting by the BBC's Yuko Kato.

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