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Tweet of the Week #67: Dealing With Chikan

Follow these steps shared on Twitter to safely apprehend a train groper in Japan.

By 5 min read

Japan is a safe country. Unless you’re a woman riding on a packed train during rush hour, that is. Chikan (痴漢ちかん), or train groping, continues to be a problem in Japan, and Japanese authorities are not doing enough to tackle the issue.

Japan needs to do better to stop chikan

Let’s be clear—sexual harassment on trains is not a recent phenomenon, nor is it limited to Japan. We’d bet the problem can be traced back to when public transportation first became commonly used to commute to work and school. Current statistics indicate women to be the majority of the victims, but public attitudes don’t make it easy for men to speak up after being groped on a train either.

In a culture that values social harmony over individual needs, gropers profit from their victims’ fear of causing a fuss in public.

Japanese victims are speaking-up more than before, but it’s far from being enough. In a culture that values social harmony over individual needs, gropers profit from their victims’ fear of causing a fuss in public.

Over the years, Japanese authorities have only taken halfway measures to deter gropers. Women-only train carriages, poster campaigns, and web applications to call for help discreetly all serve as small bandaids on a nationwide problem.

What can you do if you witness groping on the train? A Twitter Thread

While the authorities run around in circles battling sexual harassment with stickers and comic-style posters, passengers are left with little guidance on how to react when witnessing chikan. The bystander effect is even harder to shake off in Japan, where people worry about getting in trouble for stepping in.

Drawing from his very own experience, Twitter user @keizi666 wrote a series of tweets giving advice on how to safely apprehend a train groper.




= I’d like everyone to know that witnessing groping right in front of you can happen. You think it doesn’t happen, right? But it does. And when it does, here’s what you should know to stay calm and apprehend the culprit.

  • Discreetly take a video or picture of the act.
  • Make sure you record the culprit’s face.
  • Make sure to have several men around to help apprehend the culprit.

To be continued.

@keizi666 goes on with more crucial pointers on how to ensure the culprit doesn’t get away while avoiding putting yourself in danger.



  • When you apprehend the culprit, firmly hold both their arms and belt from behind.
  • Confiscate the culprit’s cellphone and don’t give it back by any means.
  • A police case cannot be opened without the victim, so ask them to come with you. Getting help from a woman to take care of the victim is a good idea.
  • Call the station staff and get the police to come.
  • Make sure to hand over (the culprit and your proof) to the police to prevent future crime.

To be continued.



  • Make the culprit obey using a firm and loud voice. Quite often they obey to what you say.
  • Ignore excuses from the culprit.
  • Let’s forget about the inconvenience of being late for school or work for the time being.
  • Firmly secure the culprit, taking into consideration that they may escape on the railway tracks.
  • Pat the outside of their pockets to check for weapons.

To be continued.

Following with a few more tweets,@keizi666 emphasizes how we should always be on the lookout and anticipate these incidents. Anticipation is key to keep our cool and gather evidence. Getting proof is also very important to avoid false claims and protect both the victim and yourself.

Stepping in is hard, but next time you witness a groper, do something about it.


Japanese Romaji English
まえ me no mae de (right) in front of you
 chikan suru grope
やつ yatsu guy/bastard
でしょ deshyo right?
そのうち sono uchi someday, sooner or later
そのとき sono toki ni at that moment
ochitsuku calm down
行動こうどうする koudou suru act/behave
犯人はんにん hannin culprit
確保かくほする kakuho suru  secure
バレないように barenai you ni not to be found out
現場げんば genba scene (of a crime)
動画どうが douga movie
おさえる osaeru control, hold
かなら kanarazu without fail, absolutely
かお kao face
つづく tsuzuku to be continued
両腕りょううで ryouude both arms
ベルト beruto belt
うしろから ushiro kara from behind
つか tsukamu grab/hold/seize
しっかり shikkari firmly
げる toriageru  confiscate
絶対ぜったい zettai ni by no means/absolutely
かえ kaesu give back
被害者ひがいしゃ higaisha victim
立件りっけん rikken case

Prepare yourself for what may come with the expression ておく

Japanese doesn’t really have tenses, right? That’s why you’ve got grammar books filled with phrases like ておく, to learn how to nuance your speech.

The expression “verb te form + おく” conveys that you’re acting or will act, with the future in mind. You’re anticipating future circumstances or actions. It might help to know the verb おく means “to place”.


= Before I go to sleep, I prepare my clothes for the next day.

マスクがれる前に、っておこう。= I’ll buy some masks before they’re out of stock.

そのままにしておいてください。= Please leave it as it is (so you can pick up where you left off in the future).

A final and particular usage of the expression, one that you may hear a lot if you’re an anime aficionado, is やめておく(shortened to やめとく in casual speech) which means you’re giving up doing something.

しばらくはかいはやめておきます。= I’ll stop going for drinks for a while.

Additional vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
ねがいする onegaisuru ask (polite)
女性じょせい jyosei woman
ケア kea care
駅員えきいん ekiin  station staff
もらう morau  get
yobu call
警察けいさつ keisatsu police
つぎ tsugi no next…
ふせ fusegu prevent
ために tame ni in order to/for
わた watasu hand over
おおきなこえ ookina koe de loudly
したがわせる shitagawaseru make someone obey
 無視むし  mushi  disregard
おくれる okureru  be late
都合つごう tsugou convenience
線路せんろげる senro ni nigeru run away on the train tracks
考慮こうりょする kouryo suru consider/take into account
ポケット poketto pocket
武器ぶき buki  weapon
確認かくにん kakunin verification
しばらく shibaraku for a while
やめる yameru  stop

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