All’s fair in love and Manhole Holy War.

The Japanese capital of Tokyo was recently shaken by a sizable earthquake, and while everyone thankfully escaped with their lives it did cause considerable disruption to services and utilities. In the hours following the quake, there were numerous reports of water overflowing from manholes and flooding streets all over the affected area.

▼ One report about the overflowing manholes

It was later determined that the cause of this was burst water mains that had become weak due to age. So, in a way, the earthquake provided an important wake-up call to the officials and residents of Tokyo that their infrastructure was in urgent need of repair.

In response, the Whole Earth Foundation – an organization that comes up with ways to provide public services with limited manpower and budget – declared an emergency citywide Manhole Holy War (Manhole Seisen). This is a gamified volunteer event in which anyone with a smartphone can participate and win big money by helping map out all the manholes in the 23 wards of Tokyo. The first such event was a huge success, in which 700 people mapped out all 10,000 manholes in Shibuya Ward in a matter of only three days.

In the world of Manhole Holy War, all of the manholes have been corrupted by an evil force and the Guardians of Iron and Concrete (i.e. you) must help purify them by taking pictures. Players can participate individually or in teams and prizes range from 5,000 yen (US$44) to 100,000 yen ($877) in gift certificates.

▼ Forsooth, a Guardian of Iron and Concrete approaches her prey most gallantly

Participation is not limited to Tokyo, however. People from all over Japan can help and win money too by checking the photos submitted by Guardians. Altogether, one million yen ($8,776) in gift certificates will be awarded.

To join the Manhole Holy War, players must first follow the official Guardians of Iron and Concrete account on the messaging app LINE. From there they can gain access to the official game app and start taking pictures of manholes in their area.

▼ The game app’s interface

Taking pictures of manholes is about as easy as it gets, but the organizers want to remind everyone not to venture out into the middle of roads or obstruct others going about their daily lives in the pursuit of urban renewal. Aside from that, this manholy war is a great way to get some exercise, contribute to safer infrastructure, and maybe make a few bucks in the process.

However, the war has been raging since 23 October and will end on 31 October, so hurry up and get snapping!

Source: Third Manhole Holy War: 23 Wards of Tokyo Competition Festival, PR Times
Images: PR Times
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