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Japan. They molest women in the subway, upload recordings to the Internet. What is chikan?

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The practice of sexual harassment of women in Japanese public transport has been going on for years, and the perpetrators of these crimes in most cases remain elusive. Meanwhile, victims of assault are also at risk of having their video posted online. The British BBC conducted a journalistic investigation into the so-called chikan, a particular type of sexual crime in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Over the past year, the BBC has conducted a journalistic investigation into the long-running Japan the practice of women being sexually assaulted on public transport, for example on the subway. Perpetrators of these crimes often post videos of such harassment online. They make big money from it.

The station has tracked down three men who run three different websites that sell thousands of videos showing sexual harassment on public transport. Most of these videos are similar – a man secretly records a woman and follows her to the train, then touches her in private places, describes the BBC.

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Chikan, a problem in Japanese public transport

Men who commit sex crimes in public are called “chikan” in Japanese. The same word is also used to describe their operation. In most cases, they commit chikan in crowded places, exploiting the fear of their victims. The BBC notes that in Japan, talking about something too directly and openly can be perceived as inappropriate. Thousands of chikans are arrested by the police every year, but most remain elusive and go unpunished. Saito Akiyoshi, the author of a book on the phenomenon and a mental health specialist, says that only about 10 percent report harassment on public transport to the police. victims.

In addition, according to the BBC, chikan has become one of the most popular types of pornography in Japan and has spread to other Asian countries as well. The station reached a Chinese website containing videos shot not only in Japan, but also in Chinasouth korea Taiwan and Hong Kong. She also had access to a group on Telegram, which was joined by 4,000. members. Men send each other tips on how to harass women. One of the members of the group, using the pseudonym “Uncle Qi”, has become the “guru” of the community and is the author of dozens of recordings posted there.

Crowded subway in TokyoMatej Kastelic/Shutterstock

Victim of molestation on the train: I couldn’t do anything

One of the victims of the abuse is 24-year-old Takako (name changed). When she was driving to school one day at the age of 15, she suddenly felt a hand on her body on a crowded train, the BBC describes her. She thought someone had accidentally touched her, but when that person started touching her private parts, she realized it was harassment. “I couldn’t do anything about it,” said the girl. The culprit soon disappeared into the crowd. She also confessed to the BBC that it was the first time she experienced harassment, but then it happened very often, almost every day, for many years.

The girl claims that it is difficult for her to react when she is touched by a stranger. Fear and shame hold her back. As she admitted, once, however, she got up the courage and when she felt someone’s hand on her, she screamed, grabbed the perpetrator’s wrist, and he was caught. The case ended up in court. However, the man received only a suspended sentence, although he was previously detained for chikan offences, the BBC reports.

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Nightclubs like subway cars

The BBC also writes that the practice of harassment in public transport has become such a widespread social phenomenon in Japan that there are even special nightclubs in the country that allow men to “enjoy” – legally – the possibility of touching women in a scenery imitating public transport . One such shrine is located in Yokohama, and its owner Hasuda Shuhei believes it “allows people to do what they can’t do outside.”

Inside his clubhouse, there are private rooms that resemble train cars, even equipped with a sound system that plays announcements like in train stations. “I think it’s important that men can pay to be in places so they don’t attack or otherwise harass women,” Hasuda said.

Saito notes, however, that the matter is not so simple, as most chikan perpetrators feel arousal at the possibility of dominating and humiliating their victims. “They don’t treat them as equals, but as objects,” he says.

Main photo source: Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

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