JR East attempts to unite train-photographing otaku with latest social media group

Could this mean an end to the violence?

Of all of the otaku in Japan, the “train otaku” is a very diverse subset containing the likes of noritetsu, individuals who take an interest in unique ways of riding trains, or the model train enthusiasts generally known as mokeitetsu. But it surely is by far the toritetsu who appear essentially the most in headlines in addition to sentences that start with “Those rattling…”

These are the otaku whose prime interest is taking photographs of trains, the rarer the higher. While that seems like a peaceful hobby and sometimes is, a few of these otaku will stop at nothing to get the right shot, including the occasional bombing raid. It’s an issue that JR East is hoping to curb by hosting a web-based social network called Toritestu Community. “Community” is an interesting selection of words, because – and I admit that is only a superficial remark – all of them appear to hate one another.

By that, I mean a toritetsu would appear to treat one other toritetsu as little greater than a possible obstruction as all of them vie for the right vantage point to shoot from. In consequence, the larger the gathering of toritetsu in a single station, the more profanity you might be prone to hear and the greater the prospect of physical violence.

▼ A biggest hits compilation of toritetsu freak-outs

Nonetheless, it might seem this is precisely the situation that JR East desires to correct by uniting toritetsu, providing safer spaces to take photos from, and listening to the needs and concerns of the more level-headed segment of the population. They plan to do that through Mechu, a Japanese platform much like Twitch but specializing in a wider range of content creation beyond game streaming.

Also like Twitch, Mechu has a payment system which JR East plans to make use of to make slightly more money in the method. Toritetsu Community could have a free tier and a premium one. Each tiers could have access to chats and photo contests, but for 1,000 yen (US$8.75) a month, paid members might be given extra exclusive content and events.

JR East will hold events by which chosen toritetsu photos might be utilized in official posters and supply a special space for mamatetsu, train otaku moms who benefit from the rails with their kids, who could be called “chibitetsu” in the event that they share the love of trains. Nonetheless, undoubtedly the true draw might be the limited photo session events by which toritetsu can enter JR’s private property to take photos…legally for a change.

▼ One proposal is to carry special shooting events inside train depots

Even though it seems like an awesome deal for toritetsu, non-train fans commenting online were even happier concerning the news since it meant these overly enthusiastic shutterbugs might finally be put under control.

“This seems like strategy to improve the toritetsu community’s image.”
“I believe it’s high-quality in the event that they charge extra money.”
“I’m wondering if we’ll have toritetsu committing robbery to pay the membership fee now.”
“Probably all of the civilized toritetsu will join, however the maniac ones will proceed to do whatever they need.”
“This is a brilliant move by JR East.”
“They really could get away with charging so much greater than 1,000 yen.”
“The bad toritetsu will probably assume this can be a trap to get their personal information for easier arrests.”
“These individuals are taking photos on private property without permission anyway. It’s only fair that JR charge them.”

JR East was probably sensible to undergo a third-party to host the Toritetsu Community. Not only does it save them money, but in addition might assuage personal information fears because the railroad doesn’t handle registration.

It’s removed from a guaranteed success, but definitely a move in the fitting direction to try and produce some civility and dignity to this often maligned segment of the vast otaku ecosystem.

Source: PR Times, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: PR Times
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