It is well known that chikan (groping, particularly on trains) is an issue that people face when riding the train in Japan. But it seems like stationery company, Sachihata, have made baby steps in the right direction with their new Anti-Groping Device, a stamp that marks the criminal with UV ink, which can only be seen under a blacklight.
The ink is invisible in normal lighting conditions, making it harder for the groper to find it and wash it off before they can be identified. The stamp itself is the type that can be used easily and without fuss; simply press the cylinder against something and the spring inside opens the internal cap and pushes the stamp down to make its mark.
The product is so popular that its first trial run of 500 units sold out on day one on the market. The product retailed at 2500 yen, and comes with the blacklight and stamp.
This speaks to both the desperation of the situation and the appreciation of something tangible finally happening for those that fear harassment, as does the statistic found by BuzzFeed News: a survey conducted in 2018 of 12,000 men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 found that 70% of women and 32% of men had been sexually harassed on trains at least once.
The product was launched in response to a viral tweet, a manga depicting what a school nurse suggested to a schoolgirl after she was groped the first time. The suggestion of pricking the perpetrator with a pin was met with mixed reactions, many people, of course, a little reluctant to stab someone, even with a small pin.
However, Sachihata replied with a promise to do something. This stamp is the result of that promise, and the company intends to continue manufacturing of the product, taking into account user feedback. They hope that the stamp contributes to discouraging gropers and that they never actually have to be used.
In response to the fears that people would get marked accidentally, the company stated that they understand how complex the situation is, but that it feels that chikan is inexcusable.
This is a step in the right direction to helping people that feel threatened to feel safer on their commute and to help bring down groping and harassment in general.