It doesn’t matter if you’re American, Japanese, a rail fan, whatever…this is a great commercial to watch.
On February 20th, JR Kyushu filmed a commercial to commemorate the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen. Prior to filming, JR held a huge casting call, asking residents who live near or along the rail line to wave to the train as it passes by. Posters were put up in many of the stations to let people know of the event.
JR Kyushu estimates that 15,000 people came out to send their best wishes to the newly constructed line.
What makes this commercial uncanny is it’s timing. The commercial started airing on March 10th. The Kyushu Shinkansen was slated to open on March 12th, 1 day after the disaster in Tohoku. Because Kyushu is quite a distance away from the Tohoku region, the opening of the line continued as scheduled, but without all the ceremonies and press events that were originally planned.
In order to cope with the disaster, we donate our time, our money, and our resources in order to rebuild and make Japan even stronger. All over the place, I often see 一つになろう日本 (hitotsu ni narou nippon), meaning Let’s All Come Together, Japan. It’s on posters, on TV, restaurant signs, everywhere.
But after watching this commercial, I saw that, even before the disaster, we were already one Japan. Everyone can come together, and almost effortlessly, cheer for something they believe in. In the commercial, they’re not only cheering for a new train, but they’re cheering on the progress Japan has made, and also on what’s to come in the future. That gives me hope.
It was a well-spent 3 minutes of my life (15 minutes considering I’ve already watched it 5 times today).