Shinkansen, Japan’s high speed bullet trains, made transport fun as well as profitable, both financially and environmentally. When the transport line opened, Japanese National Railways invited the public to name the new trains. Nominations totaled 700,000, making the so-called bullet (referring only to shape) trains instant celebrities and profitable from Day One, Winning train names included Kodama (Echo), Hikari (Light) opened for the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. A sign of the times, Tokyo-Kanazawa line added in 2015 was named Kagayaki (Glitter). Now, a new Shinkansen line will debut: Hello Kitty. Creator Sanrio, branding airplanes as well as every form of apparel, is partnering with West Japan Railway Company to showcase regional attractions and products, also for sale on the trains. Terminals feature Instagram-ready Photo Booths. Book a ride on the Hello Kitty Shinkansen.
Shinkansen presented another special livery for anime series Neo Genesis Evangelion that proved so popular it was extended, leading up to the coming Hello Kitty debut. The Beijing Subway introduced bar codes linked to works of Confucius and other philosophers, offering free downloads to read while riding. Attracting greater public use of environmentally beneficial forms of transit may in part be encouraged by making transport fun again. What are your ideas?
Hello Kitty Shinkansen. http://www.jr-hellokittyshinkansen.jp/train/.
Maggie Hiufu Wong. “World’s cutest bullet train? Hello Kitty Shinkansen unveiled in Japan.” 29 May 2018. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/hello-kitty-shinkansen-train-japan/index.html.
Pinker, Joe. “What 50 Years of Bullet Trains Have Done for Japan.” 6 October 2014. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/what-50-years-of-bullet-trains-have-done-for-japan/381143/
Sanrio. Hello Kitty Cafe. https://www.sanrio.com/pages/hellokittycafe
Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License