Nationwide contest attracts more than 580 entries to combat one of Japan’s most shameful social phenomena.

Back in 2015, a Japanese high school girl with the pseudonym Takako, a victim of chikan (train gropers) on multiple occasions, and her mother started a crowdfunding campaign. The pair were seeking funds to produce anti-chikan pins, which young women could attach to their bags or clothing to let would-be gropers that they were not going to take any abuse quietly.

That initiative eventually led to the creation of an annual design contest administered by the Molester Deterrence Activity Center activist organization. The Center has just announced the winners of this year’s contest, which attracted 581 entries designed by students from 126 schools across Japan.

The judges’ selection for the grand prize, pictured above, was created by Shota, a student at Sadowara Miyazaki Prefectural High School. Like all the entries, it contains the declarations “Groping is a crime” and “We won’t take this quietly” (the Japanese phrasing translates literally as “We won’t cry ourselves to sleep”), but Shota’s design also includes the additional warning that “Even if you’re cute, you won’t be forgiven” as a river otter attempts to flip up a schoolgirl’s pleated skirt, with the intended message, as per Shota’s design notes, that “No matter what kind of person does it, groping is wrong.”

In addition, the judges awarded outstanding performance awards to the “No!!!” badge from Feriko, of Musashino Art University, and the camera lens design from Niigata College of Art and Design’s Hideto Mori.

Special jury prizes were also given to Chugoku Design College’s Komoko, with a badge reminding potential chikan that surveillance camera footage can and will be used against them in criminal investigations, and Osaka Information and Computer Science College’s Miki Hatoko, whose entry takes the stance that train groping is such a despicable act that even the non-human members of the animal kingdom are disgusted by it.

Of course, no one in Japan thinks that groping women on the train is legal, so some people might be skeptical about how effective such badges would be. However, mental health professional and social worker Akira Saito, the contest’s advisor, believes such symbols can be an effective deterrent. “I’ve been involved with the treatment of over 2,000 sex offenders,” Saito says, “In interviews regarding their cognitive distortions, they primarily targeted junior and senior high school girls, but this wasn’t simply because they like the look of school uniforms. It’s because they see the uniforms as symbols of obedience.”

Because of that, Saito believes that a clear visual message of assertiveness has the potential to dissuade would-be chikan. “I’ve asked people I’ve treated how they would react to seeing [an anti-chikan] badge, and many of them responded with ‘I probably wouldn’t try to grope the person,’” Saito reports.

Previous winners of the Molester Deterrence Activity Center’s design contest have been sold through participating stores  (listed here) and the organization’s affiliated online store, and the 2019 winners are likely to join them soon.

Source: Molester Deterrence Activity Center via IT Media
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Molester Deterrence Activity Center
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