Stephane 🐝 Fenner en beBee in English, Travel, Project Managers Co-founder | Sales • 5/4/2017 · 1 min de lectura · +700



It's hard not to notice it when you take the train in Japan. Employees wearing uniforms in the railway company colors and white gloves routinely point their finger at the wharf when the trains enter and leave the station. The situation is also part of the conductors' day-to-day life. They have to point a series of signs, dials and buttons during their journey.

Japanese rail system has one of the best reputations in the world. 12 billion passengers are transported with punctuality each year. 

Train conductors, drivers and railway personnel play an important role in the safe and efficient operation of the lines. A key aspect of this success is the variety of physical gestures and vocal calls they perform while fulfilling their duties. Although this may seem unnecessary in the eyes of visitors, movements and shouts are an innovative Japanese industrial security method known as "pointing-and-calling", a system that reduces work errors by up to 85%.

Known in Japanese as shisa kanko (差 喚 呼 呼), pointing-and-calling is based on the principle of associating its tasks with physical movements and the voice to avoid errors by "raising the level of consciousness of workers" according to the National Occupational Safety and Health Institute of Japan. Rather than relying on a worker's eyes or habit, each step in a given task is physically and audibly reinforced to ensure that the step is complete and accurate.

In the railway context, when train drivers want to perform a required speed control, they do not just look at a display. On the contrary, the speedometer will be physically pointed by pronouncing the phrase "speed control, 80". For station personnel, who ensure that safety is preserved on the platforms (no object dropped or passenger fallen), a visual scan alone is not enough. Instead, the attendant will point at the wharf and sweep his arm along the entire length following the eye movement, before making a clear statement that everything is fine. The process keeps going until the train has completely left the station, ensuring that bags or passengers are not hung on the closed doors of the train.

This system is in place accros several industries in Japan. Originally developed by the Kobe Railway Administration Office, which disappeared in the early 20th century, it is known that pointing-and-calling reduces work errors by 85%, according to a 1996 study .

Despite its simplicity and efficiency, this method seems to be exclusive to Japan. Japanese commentators have theorized that Western employees feel "stupid" in performing the required gestures and calls.

Japanese workers are not always very comfortable when it comes to "pointing-and-calling", but after training, they recognize pointing-and-calling as necessary for safety, and therefore do not feel embarrassed.

Translated from MEHDI ELHANI's article on

Gloria Ochoa 5/4/2017 · #8

Love to learn about interesting things like this...espc when it isnt something one would normally question until it was brought to their attention. Thanks!

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Stephane 🐝 Fenner 5/4/2017 · #7

Same here @Ken Boddie. Difficult to find other examples, or very few.
This practice makes so much sens. Would like to see it used more often.

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#3 Me point at the Like button and me say Like! :)

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That's so Japanese and efficient! Wow. Folks here take umbrage at anyone pointing a finger at about them. Any finger ;)

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Ken Boddie 5/4/2017 · #4

Fascinating concept, Stephane. I've just seen it in action on this video of the train driver:
I wonder if Japanese plant operators use 'point and call' in the construction industry? A cursory Google search keeps coming back to the Japanese railway system only. It seems to make sense to use the additional anchor of pointing to reinforce each action. If only my grandmother hadn't drummed into me that it's rude to point! 😧

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That makes a lot of sense... (pointing at send button now. Saying, "click to reply." Okay, maybe this example is too much)

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Stephane 🐝 Fenner 5/4/2017 · #2

#1 @Paul Walters, actually I learned it too today...
Now, my question: why isn't it used elsewhere? Embarrassment is not enough as an answer.

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Paul Walters 5/4/2017 · #1

@Stephane 🐝 Fenner Well there you go. One does indeed learn soething new each and every day...thank you

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