Can you read the Japanese words hidden in these pictures? 

The first week of May is usually a happy time in Japan, as people enjoy a string of holidays known collectively as “Golden Week”. Ordinarily, people would be travelling locally or abroad or visiting families in other prefectures at this time of year, but now that Japan is under a state of emergency due to rising cases of coronavirus, people are being asked to forgo their holiday plans and stay at home.

That’s easier said than done for a lot of people in Japan, especially those living in cramped spaces or students away from home for the first time in their lives as they start university or a new job in a new area. However, all the efforts being made by people to stay home despite feelings of loneliness or isolation aren’t going unnoticed, and one Japanese newspaper wants people to know they’re not alone, no matter how lonely they may feel.

The message was artfully hidden in an eye-catching full-page ad in the Gifu Shimbun, a local newspaper that serves readers in Gifu Prefecture. Twitter user @simplife_plus spotted the ad and shared a photo of it online, asking “Can you read this arty message?”

It’s incredibly difficult to read, but there is a message hidden in amongst all those circles and squares, written in both kanji and hiragana. Can you decipher the message?

Don’t worry if you can’t – it’s an image that puzzled even native Japanese speakers who saw it.

Let’s take one more look at it. Can you see it?

While the message puzzled a lot of the people who saw it, one Twitter user came up with a clever idea to bring the hidden words to light, by fiddling with the settings on their iPhone to blur the image.

Remarkably, the blurrier the image, the sharper the message, as the Japanese words, read right to left, can now be distinguished as: “離れていても心はひとつ” (“Hanarete ite mo kokoro ha hitotsu”). In English, this translates poetically as: “Although we are apart, our heart is one.”

▼ Another trick to reading the message is by looking at it from reeeeaaallly far away.

People online were touched by the message and the way it was hidden on the page, commenting with:

“I love that they took the time to think up something like this! Truly wonderful!”
“It took me so long to figure out what the message was, which made it all the more memorable when I finally found it!”
“This type of thing stays in your memory forever.”
“What a beautiful message.”
“How apt that you have to social distance two metres from the paper to see its message about social distancing!”

This touching reminder that social distancing puts us physically apart but unites us together against the virus is one of a number of messages warming everyone’s hearts right now. With Japanese artists in New York coming together to sing “Sukiyaki” from their homes and even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showing us how to “dance at home” like Gen Hoshino, these messages of encouragement are a much needed help to keep everyone’s spirits up while they stay at home for a little while longer.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@simplife_plus
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!