Culture

People in Osaka Really Hate Train Station Redesigns

So much so they've issued a petition against Osaka Metro.

By 2 min read

Osaka Metro’s proposed new look is being met with severe criticism, according to an article posted by the Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 28.

After successfully vying for the host location of the 2025 World Expo, Osaka’s recently privatized Osaka Metro revealed their plans to update several Osaka stations including Shin-Osaka and Shinsaibashi Station, in addition to building an entirely new Yumeshima (meaning “Dream Island”) Station.

The proposed redesign for Shin-Osaka Station.

The redesigns include questionable reinventions of Osaka-ko (Osaka Harbor) Station in the shape of a boat and Umeda Station in the style of a Matrix-inspired “Information Terminal.”

The new Umeda Station. Should we take the blue pill or the red pill?

Feedback online has been overwhelmingly negative, with many comments saying that the redesigns look cheap and tasteless.

The new Shinsaibashi Station inspired by a living room in the 1970s.

Two famous Osaka-based figures, sociology professor Masahiko Kishi and writer Tomoko Shibasaki, were so insulted by the designs that they collaborated to make a Change.org petition against Osaka Metro. In the petition, they write that the subway system is an important representation as the “feet” of their bustling city, and the new designs should be more respectful of Osaka’s rich history.

These sentiments are reflected in the petition comments:

“[Umeda Station’s] arched ceilings and unique chandeliers are excellent designs we admire in our urban landscape every time we see them. To get rid of them would be foolish, and destroys this piece of Osaka culture built by our predecessors,” says one person.

Umeda Station’s current design featuring retro chandeliers (top) vs. the new design concept (bottom).

Another wrote:

“When I visit Osaka from Tokyo, the modern subway design feels so fresh. I don’t want it destroyed with this shallow, unsophisticated ‘Cool Japan’ redesign.”

The petition received 19,495 signatures within two weeks, but we have yet to see whether the online criticism and petition will have any effect on Osaka Metro’s design plans.

What do you think of the new designs? Let us know whether you gagged or goggled over these new train station designs in the comments.

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