Most Useless Subway Poster In The History Of Useless Subway Posters

Yesterday I was walking through Ueno Station, and I spotted this

People dropping dead at their desks (or committing suicide out of despair at their never-ending pile of work) is such a thing in Japan that it’s even been given it its own mascot-like name and kanji spelling: 過労死 (karoshi). And right now, death from overwork is in the news again, because companies are finally being successfully sued and told to fork over damages to victims’ families

I’ve posted before about silly subway posters that warn against kicking the ticket wicketpitching a beer in the station attendant’s face and walking while rockabilly, but this one takes the cake for sheer WHAT THE HELL?

Because some faceless bureaucrat (yes, this is a message from the Japanese government) thought that printing posters exhorting commuters to “STOP! DEATH FROM OVERWORK” was the most effective use of whatever money has been grudgingly doled out to combat the actual serious problem of employers burdening their workers with such a Sisyphean amount of work that they die from never sleeping, never going home, and basically never having a life.

I mean, who is this message even intended to reach? The gray-haired CEO? Nah, he’s not rubbing shoulders with the rank and file on the subway, he’s sitting behind his driver being swanned to work while reading the newspaper. Oh. That’s right. It’s a subway poster. It must be intended for  the poor sods who cram into a train car twice a day (unless they’ve got too much work to go home).

And DUH, that makes total sense. Obviously, they’re the ones who are dying, so they must be the problem. Let’s just tell them to stop dying from karoshi. MY WORK HERE IS DONE.

Tip o’ the tip beanie to Jake Adelstein, whose ever-keen journalistic eyes were the first to spot this WTFery

Jonelle Patrick occasionally takes time off from ranting about death from overwork to write novels set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more