Buttons are meant to be pressed, right?

Japan has a deep respect and genuine enthusiasm for what it calls monozukuri, the making of physical things. Because of that, factory tours are popular in Japan, offering visitors both a look back on their company’s history and a look into how they make the things they do.

Naturally, seeing the care and craftsmanship that goes into the process stirs a desire in visitors to try the items for themselves, and often there’s an opportunity to do just that at the end of the tour. Candy factories give little samples to take home. Breweries have tasting rooms. And the Tokyo factory of Shimada Electric Manufacturing Company, which specializes in making elevator buttons?

It has the Wall of 1,000 Buttons.

Actually, they just call it “1,000 buttons” because the round number sounds nice. In reality, there are even more buttons on the wall, 1,048 to be precise.

And yes, of course you can press them all.

“We love how when little kids see the 1,000 Buttons at the end of the factory tour, you can tell they’ve decided ‘I’m going to push all of them,’” tweets Shimada’s official Twitter account, showing their deep understanding of child psychology, while perhaps underestimating how tempting the wall must be for adults too (or at least adults with our level of maturity). Each one lights up with a press, and the fun’s not over once you hit them all, because then you can reverse your steps and press them all again to turn them back off.

With the button-pushing impulse being a strong one, the first tweet racked up close to 200,000 likes. Sharp-eyed commenters have noticed some very unique buttons on the wall, including some with animal pictures on them, which Shimada says are popular with children’s facilities where the youngest visitors might not know their numbers yet, but can understand, for example, “Push the horse button for Mommy and Daddy” when the family gets into the elevator.

And yes, as a proper Japanese company Shimada has a cute mascot character, named Button-chan, and sells quirky keychains/bag charms.

▼ According to the character’s bio, Button-chan was born in Hachioji, the part of Tokyo where Shimada’s factory is located, and weighs 65 kilograms (143.3 pounds), the one-person weight used for calculating elevator occupancies in Japan.

Shimada’s factory tours were suspended for more than a year during the height of the pandemic, but they’ve resumed as of last week. Their recent Twitter attention has led to all available tours between now and June of next year being booked solid, but in the meantime the company promises to keep sharing inside looks through its Twitter account.

Sources: Twitter/@shimax_hachioji via Maido News via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko, Shimada Electric Manufacturing Company
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Shimada Electric Manufacturing Company
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