Blue Lights Soothe Suicidal in Tokyo Train Stations

Blue lighting train station platform JapanTrain stations on a major route in Tokyo are the most recent in the country to have blue lighting installed on platforms. The blue LED ceiling lights at the ends of platforms are intended to prevent people from jumping into oncoming trains. The blue lights will operate with the existing standard fluorescent lights.

"Blue lighting was selected because there are claims the color blue calms emotions," an official from East Japan Railway’s Tokyo office said. The railway also believes the blue lights will reduce graffitti and minor crimes.

Blue light-emitting diodes will be placed on every platform on the JR East Yamanote line which circles central Tokyo. All 29 stations on the line are expected to have the lights by the end of October. The Yamanote line will be the only route in Japan that has blue lighting at every station.

On the Yamanote line, there were 9 suicides by jumping off platforms in fiscal 2006, 15 in fiscal year 2007, and four in 2008. As of August 31, 2009, 18 suicides had occured at Yamanote line stations. On all routes managed by the JR East Tokyo office, there were 68 platform suicides in fiscal 2008.

Shinjuku station Yamanote line Tokyo Japan

Station on Seibu Shinjuku line blue anti-suicide lights


On all West Japan Railway lines managed by the Osaka office, there wered 70 platform suicide jumpers in fiscal 2008.

Keihin Electric Express Railway installed some blue lighting on some platforms and at some crossings in December 2006. Seibu Railway has placed blue lights at some crossings. JR West put in the blue LEDs in selected spots in February 2008. The JR East stations Ogikubo and Nishi-Ogikubo in Tokyo on the Chuo Line utilize blue fluorescent lamps.

Blue LED lights on Keihin railways station platform in Japan Blue LED lamp prevents suicide at train crossing in Osaka Japan Blue LED light at train crossing in Osaka Japan.


The stations with the blue lights as of Sept. 17, 2009
Gumyoji Station in Minami Ward, Yokohama. (Keihin Electric Express Railway Co.) Kita-Ageo, Okegawa and Kitamoto stations in Saitama prefecture. (JR Takasaki Line) Ogikubo and Nishi-Ogikubo stations in Suginami ward, Tokyo. (Chuo Line) Shinbashi, Shinagawa, Yurakucho, Osaki and 3 other stations in Tokyo. (Yamanote Line)

More calm blue lightning
Some crossings on the Hanwa Line. (West Japan Railway Co.)

photosKobe Shimbun; Sankei; IT Revolution (large); Asahi Shimbun; Chunichi Shimbun; Iza-SankeiShinjuku station

related: Families of platform suicide jumpers billed by railway companies in Japan: urban myth? Glocom; New York Times; Summary

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