We live in a technical age. There is no denying that. As many benefits as this technology provides, there are some dangers that go along with it. Nowhere is this reality more apparent than in Japan, which has been the leader in Smartphone technology. While having sushi-themed phone cases might appear to be dangerous enough, the main mobile phone provider in Japan has begun to tackle the issue of walking while texting with a clever new video which involves ninjas and samurai.
With an increasing number of accidents attributed each year to the use of smartphones, Japan’s largest cell phone provider, NTT Docomo, decided to take action. In order to warn modern consumers about the dangers of paying attention to their smartphones, rather than looking ahead while walking, the mobile company created a video based on the customs of feudal Japan, in particular samurai and ninjas. Early in the video, a few introductory statistics provide context to the film. Among these figures, the most startling are that 66% of Japan’s population, roughly 84 million people, has admitted to walking into someone while using their phone. Even more troubling is the statistic that 3.6% of the population, approximately 4.5 million people, have fallen from a train platform while using their mobile. In a nation where bullet train speeds can reach over 200mph, falling onto the train tracks is often a deadly problem.
After laying out this information, the ‘Samurai Smartphone Parade’ video shows the perils of walking and playing on one’s phone, rather than paying attention to the surrounding world. The dangers are comical in some situations, such as getting lost on the way to work, walking into a river, and even causing your love interest to abandon you for destroying his/her phone with your inattentiveness. The most hilarious part is when a ninja attacks the phone-distracted samurai and knocks out a handful of them with blow darts.
The problem of smartphone use while walking is a serious enough issue in Japan that fliers have been pasted around the Japanese subway to help passengers avoid plunging to their deaths. JR East, the train company leading the charge, has been sued nine times in the last year by the families of people who fell to the tracks while on their phones and were killed by trains before they could be pulled to safety. Smartphone users in the United States should prepare themselves for similar campaigns in the near future. Three years ago, a study conducted by Ohio State University showed that starting in 2010, at least 2 million Americans were injured each year due to using their phone while walking. A less rigorous study conducted in 2015 showed that over 8 million Americans are now injured annually while using their smartphones.