Japanese women who suffer ‘chikan’ (groping) in trains, now have a new weapon in hands: The Chikan stamp. The idea comes from a company that sells stationery, seals ad stamps and is based in Nagoya, Japan.
After a victim has been groped, the – often young women – can be in chock, scared, or physically unable to hold the perpetrator or to point him out. Most offenders get away with it. This stamp should help to mark the criminal easily and secretly.
The gadget goes by the name ‘Meiwaku Koi Boshi Sutanpu’ (迷惑行為防止スタンプ), and transfers a colorless transparent ink, that can only be seen with ultraviolet light. The stamp comes with a small black-light that can make the ink visible.
Hopefully, this stam can help to identify perps, when victims place a stamp on their skin or clothing. A set costs ¥2,700 (€22,95). Short after the first news reports of this new gadget, it was sold out from the online shop of the Shachihata company.
Chikan is a growing problem in Japanese trains
Sexual harassment is a big issue in Japanese trains and subways. As much as 70% of all young Japanese women say to have been groped. Many stations have signs saying things like ‘Chikan is a crime’ or ‘Watch out for chikan’. When convicted for chikan, perpetrators will be fined ¥500.000 (€4.250,-) and six months in jail.
In the battle against chikan there are even women-only coaches, but large groups of men have boarded these in protest because they say it is discriminating. Women hardly ever press charges in fear, or because they just want to be late at work. Also, it is almost impossible to track down a perpetrator in the crowded stations.