Sonic Japan: Sounds of safety

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Dosimeter reading in Iitatemura, Fukushima
A recording of Geiger Counter blips taken while driving through Iitatemura (2014/01/12)
More:Fukushima
Tōryanse Street Crossing
At a crossing just outside Matsumoto station in Nagano-ken, a tune is played indicating that it is safe to cross the street. The tune is based on an old folk tune that describes passing through a checkpoint to Tenjin Shrine, where on a child's seventh birthday parents pray for their child's future health and longevity. (2019-04-20)
More:Matsumoto
Toyoko Line
These are the sounds from inside the private Toyoko Line train, travelling from Tokyo to Yokohama. (2014/01/22)
More:Yokohama

Latest posts

Premodern Sonic Security Systems: the Nightingale Floor

Wed Nov 13 2019 by Carolyn Stevens

This a recording of a temple located in Ohara, just outside Kyoto, named Sanzenin. An important site for the Tendai school of Buddhism, this large complex houses many artistic and religious treasures. One of the compound buildings featured a uguisubari (translated as ‘nightingale floor’). This kind of flooring was...>>

Sound as Control

Fri Apr 01 2016 by Carolyn Stevens

This recording of an announcement in Yoyogi Park is played every few minutes through a loudspeaker (featured photo). A feminine voice tells park users not to ride bicycles along the pathways as it is dangerous to pedestrians. This is an example of sonic control, an one expression of social control....>>

新幹線2 Shinkansen bullet trains part 2

Wed Apr 02 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
In the picture below, we find some examples of "sound management" on the shinkansen: this picture depicts the information given to all passengers when they sit down in their seats. In front of them they will immediately see the rules and regulations of riding the shinkansen.>>

新幹線1 Shinkansen bullet trains part 1

Wed Apr 02 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
The super fast shinkansen bullet train network, which can take you from Tokyo to Osaka in a little over three hours, is a famous and ubiquitous image of modern Japanese technological ingenuity. The shinkansen bullet trains were first developed in the 1960s, with the first trunk line opening along the Tokaido (a major land-route connecting Osaka to Nagoya and then Tokyo) in 1964.>>

JR新宿駅南口 South Entrance to JR Shinjuku Station

Wed Aug 14 2013 by Thomas Baudinette
The Shinjuku Station Complex is one of the largest train stations in the world. In 2007, 3.>>

山手線 The Yamanote Line

Wed Aug 14 2013 by Carolyn Stevens
While many train lines track across the greater Tokyo landscape, no train is more iconic than the silver and light green Yamanote-sen (line).  Owned by Japan Railways (JR) and managed by JR Higashi Nihon, the Yamanote is one of the major inner city 'loops' that circles central Tokyo.>>

火の用心 Hi no Yōjin (Beware of Fire)

Mon Aug 12 2013 by Carolyn Stevens
This brief recording documents one winter public service practice of many Japanese urban communities: Hi no Yōjin, or 'Beware of Fire'.  During the winter, members of a chōnaikai, the local neighbourhood association, walk through the streets carrying small wooden sticks which they smack together periodically to draw the attention of the local residents.>>