Train Melodies Modernized

In Japan, train arrivals and departures are accompanied not by a buzzer or an alarm, but by a short melody. Before the train arrives and just before doors close, a short melody is played. The melody differs from line to line and from station to station and, with the plethora of train and subway lines in this country, especially in Tokyo, this adds up to thousands of melodies.

Some of the melodies have been around for decades and are particular to the station and its surroundings. For example, at the Oimachi station on the Rinkai line, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is played, because the Shiki (four seasons) Theater Company is a short walk from this station. Another example is the Maihama Station on the Chiba Line, which plays “It’s a Small World” as this is the closest station to Tokyo Disneyland:

Recently, the Tokyo Metro company decided to join the 21st century and announced that the departure melodies in three stations will be based on hit tunes from contemporary Japanese Pop (J-Pop) songs. Akihabara station on the Hibiya line will feature “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” by AKB48, a wildly popular all-girl group (whose name is based on the area: AKB=Akihabara). Similarly, the Nogizaka station on the Chiyoda line will play “Kiminona-wa Kibo” (Your Name is Hope) by Nogizaka46. Finally, passengers departing from Ginza station on the Hibiya line will hear the befittingly titled “Ginzano Koino Monogatari” (A love story in Ginza).

Confusing? A bit. Endearing? Certainly. Catchy? Of course. Here, watch this guy whistle the melodies of all stations on the circular JR Yamanote line in Tokyo:


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