Kind of like a Japanese version of Pennywise the Clown. 

Japanese rail companies pride themselves on making customer safety a priority, and if that means creating a monster to keep children from falling into the gap between the platform and the train, then so be it.

The idea is the brainchild of West Japan Railway Company (JR West), who teamed up with Osaka City University and the Osaka Municipal College of Design (OMCD) to create the “Kodomo Sukima Tenraku Boushi Project”, which translates to “Child Gap Fall Prevention Project“.

The project came about after JR West found that over the past three years, one in three cases of passengers falling into the gap at stations in the Osaka area involved children under the age of 10. This was a disturbing revelation that required serious action, so the team behind the project decided to create a campaign with a “scary but eye-catching and intriguing” theme.

▼ Yep – nailed it.

At the centre of the campaign is a monster called “Sukima Mori”, with “sukima” meaning “gap” and “mori” taken from “yamori”, meaning “gecko”. It’s also a play on the words “sukima mamori” which means “mind the gap”.

▼ If you don’t mind the gap, this giant gap gecko will climb out and get you.

According to the character’s bio, Sukima Mori is 14 metres (46 feet) long, which is “about the size of 10 children”, and it lives in the gap between the platform and the train.

It likes to move at its own pace and sleeps in a ball. And just to make sure children don’t have too many nightmares about the monster at night, Sukima Mori is said to dance when its happy.

A dancing Sukima Mori is better than one reaching out to grab you with its six legs.

Sukima Mori can be seen in a number of different railway scenarios to warn children, and parents, of the dangers of the gap. Want to retrieve that shoe or hat you dropped in the gap?

▼ Better think again.

And what about that smartphone you dropped? Sukima Mori’s certainly not happy about that.

Whenever its gap space is disturbed, Sukima Mori gets angry, as you can see with the cross-shaped angry symbol popping beside its head.

Sukima Mori is now making its presence felt at stations around Osaka, with a series of posters and digital signage warning children, and parents, of the monster’s existence.

The dangers for children lurking in the gap”

”Don’t give the gap any chances” is a reminder for parents to be on guard for their children.

There’s also a booklet that parents can read to their children at night, like a sweet bedtime story.

The tale tells the story of a child who ran towards the train without holding his mother’s hand.

▼ Well, that didn’t work out well for him.

So in future, kiddos, proceed carefully when approaching the train doors, and parents — keep your eyes off your smartphone and on your child, to ensure they don’t get eaten by the monster lurking beneath the train.

The new project does a great job of catching the attention of children and parents, so hopefully Sukima Mori will be able to stop more little ones from falling in the gap in future.

Once passengers learn the dangers of the gap from a young age, there’s a good chance it might decrease accidents amongst adults in future too, as it’ll create a whole new generation of young adults who will forever be thinking a monster lives in the gap between train and platform.

Source: Kodomo Sukima Tenraku Boushi Project via Otakomu
Images: Kodomo Sukima Tenraku Boushi Project
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