Less groping is always good, but the flip side to this countermeasure is what has people upset.

While crowded cars are the most common annoyance that comes with Japan’s convenient and reliable train service, the worst part of riding the rails is the chance of encountering a chikan, or train groper. Chikan take advantage of the packed conditions on trains to obscure their invasive hands, either by trying to have them blend in with all the innocently pressed together body parts on rush hour trains or simply to make it hard to determine who exactly is the one doing the offensive touching.

Japanese Twitter user @7bo8rtWwXXl8GdE says that she was the victim of multiple chikan during her teen years, but one change dramatically reduced how often such creeps tried to cop a feel on her. Ordinarily, that’s be great news, but the change that kept chikan away also speaks to a disturbing aspect of their mentality.

“After I graduated from high school, I was no longer a schoolgirl, and so I no longer wore a school uniform. As soon as that happened, the frequency with which I encountered chikan immediately dropped by a huge amount, and when I realized that, I was filled with despair.

Chikan realize that wearing a school uniform means that the girl is a minor, and it’s insane how in this country a uniform becomes an icon that makes the wearer a target for this kind of behavior.”

A number of other Twitter users chimed in with similar experiences:

“The same thing happened with me. I often encountered chikan when I was in high school, but that stopped almost entirely once I got into college. There are weid guys out there who are really into high school students and have Lolita complexes.”

“It makes me sick that so many men have such lustful feelings for minors.”

“They probably think that because they’re minors, they won’t realize what’s going on and will keep quiet, then go home and cry themselves to sleep.”

“It’s because the characters in pornographic manga and adult videos are high school girls. They should ban those!”

“I want police women to go undercover cosplaying as schoolgirls so they can round up all the chikan.”

“I seriously think they should start making girls’ school uniforms look like suits, in solid black with long pants.”

“When I got into college and stopped wearing a uniform, I stopped encountering chikan, until I started job hunting and wearing a plain black suit for interviews. Then I started getting targeted by chikan again. Chikan just think that a woman in a uniform won’t want to cause a scene by calling him out.”

Unfortunately, since uniforms are required for the vast majority of high school students in Japan, the anti-chikan defense that worked so well for @7bo8rtWwXXl8GdE, not wearing a uniform, isn’t a countermeasure that young girls can elect to initiate on their own. Perhaps giving students the option to commute in their street clothes, change into their uniforms after arriving at school, and then change back before going home could help alleviate the problem, but given the rigid manner in which so many schools in Japan are run, such flexibility is unlikely to become commonplace.

Source: Twitter/@7bo8rtWwXXl8GdE via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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