A stamp designed to deter anyone from groping or committing other indecent actions went on sale in Japan last week.
Shachihata, a stationery company based in Nagoya, released 500 sets of the “anti-nuisance stamp” from 1 p.m. on Aug. 27 and sold them out before the next hour.
— シヤチハタ株式会社 🐈【公式】 (@ShachihataBS) August 26, 2019
Groping, known as chikan in Japan, has been a longstanding problem in the country, particularly in crowded places such as trains.
In 2017, for instance, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department recorded 1,750 such cases, 30% of which occurred during commuting rush hours between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
The special stamp uses a washable ink that leaves a transparent, 9-millimeter (0.4-inch) image of an open hand — symbolizing “Stop!” — which can be imprinted on an offender’s hands or belongings.
The mark, however, can only be seen under ultraviolet (UV) light, so the set includes a blacklight that can be used to illuminate it.
The stamp also comes in a small yellow case with a reel cord that can be attached to a visible area — such as bags or pockets — to show that the owner carries it and consequently discourage anyone from groping or committing other forms of harassment.
Yayoi Matsunaga, head of the Chikan Yokushi Katsudo Center (Chikan Prevention Activities Center), said that it was too early to determine the product’s efficiency, but hailed Shachihata for its “very meaningful” move, the Japan Times reported.
Shachihata reportedly came up with the idea after a viral tweet in May, when a school doctor recommended pricking gropers with a safety pin.
For potential criminal implications, that proposal generated mixed responses, until the company received a suggestion that it should develop an anti-groping stamp instead.
“We will do our best to address it as soon as possible,” the company said in response, according to Japan Today. “This is not a joke, we are serious.”
The “anti-nuisance stamp” sold for 2,700 yen (about $25) in its trial sale last week. Shachihata plans to revamp it based on user feedback, but no official date has been set for the new release.
Images via Twitter / @shachihatabs