A city in Japan has become the first in the country to ever use an illuminated manhole cover for its sewage system in the hopes to attract more visitors.
The first in Japan: Tokorozawa official Junichi Koike told Agence France-Presse these newly installed manhole covers are the first of its kind in Japan, Bangkok Post reported.
- The city installed a total of 28 manhole covers featuring character designs from famous anime, including “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” “Mobile Suit Gundam” and “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.”
- These solar-powered manholes light up from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- They illuminate the pavements leading from the city’s main train station to an anime museum.
- In addition to the beautification of the city, the manhole covers also act as an advertising platform for companies, such as the case for major media group Kadokawa.
The good and the bad: Although the illuminated and artistic manhole covers bring revenue to the city through advertising and attract tourists, they also attract petty crimes.
- Security guards reportedly expanded their patrols to cover the manholes in case someone tries to steal or damage them.
- However, the illuminated manhole covers still help deter crimes.
Artistic manhole cover trend: Manhole art has been a trend in many Japanese cities for decades.
- Although friendly competition in Japanese cities has been going around for decades, it is not clear how the trend started.
- Manhole cover enthusiasts have sprung up from this trend. They interact on social media and discuss their favorite covers with the hashtag #manhotalk, according to Bangkok Post.
- Some reports claim it all began in 1985 after a high-ranking bureaucrat in the construction ministry allowed cities to design their own manhole cover, This is Colossal reported.
- After it took off, many cities started designing their own manhole covers to see who had the best artistic prowess.
- Japan has over 15 million manhole covers, but only a fraction of them have artistic designs.