Simple technique requires only a printer, some tape, and maybe an anime reference.

Japan is an incredibly safe country, and you’re extremely unlikely to be the victim of any sort of violent crime while in the country. Actually, the crime rate is so low that even petty theft is a rare occurrence.

However, it’s not uncommon to see someone complaining online about leaving their wet umbrella in a stand when entering a building, only to find it gone when they come back out. As frustrating as that scenario is, it’s really not worth the hassle to contact the police and file a report over an umbrella, so most people just begrudgingly buy a replacement.

But even if you’re not getting law enforcement involved directly, there is a way to have the police help protect your umbrella. Some people have been passing around the advice that you should print out a label with the name of your city and the kanji for “police department,” 警察庁, and stick it on your umbrella’s handle to scare off would-be thieves.

However, Japanese Twitter user @hanten_ doesn’t feel comfortable invoking the local police department’s name directly, and so he came up with a workaround.

@hanten_ explains his idea with:

“I heard someone on Twitter talking about putting a sticker that says ‘police property’ or something like that on their umbrella so it won’t get stolen. It makes sense, but I don’t feel right using a real organization’s name, so I decided to make labels with the names of defunct or fictitious organizations instead.”

The first officious looking label @hanten_ made for his umbrella designates it as belonging to the Home Ministry Police Affairs Bureau Security Division, which was dissolved in 1947. The second claims ownership by the Metropolitan Security Police Organization, an intimidating but completely made-up organization from the 1999 anime movie Jin-Roh.

▼ Some samples, if you’d like to make stickers of your own.

@hanten_’s gambit seems to be working so far, but it’s possible that its success has more to do with differentiation than duplicity. Despite stolen umbrellas being a common complaint online, in more than a dozen years of living in Japan, I’ve never had one of my own stolen, and I suspect that often when someone’s umbrella gets taken, it’s not an act of willful theft, but an honest mistake stemming from how many people buy nearly identical-looking plastic umbrellas from convenience stores and 100 yen shops when they get caught in an unexpected downpour. If your umbrella looks similar to someone else’s, there’s a chance they’ll accidentally grab yours when leaving the building, so there might not actually be a need to imply your umbrella is police property as long as you can make it stand out. But if you can do that while also providing a fun Easter egg for history buffs for anime fans, that’s some tasty icing on the cake.

Source: Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@hanten_

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he keeps meaning to get around to watching Jin-Roh some day.