RC Logr 20190514 083832
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019
Japan train stations now have announcements to stay behind the yellow «tenji burokku 点字ブロック braille blocks» when the trains are arriving, so I looked into it. 🕵🏻 There are two primary types - ones with a grid of bumps meant to indicate danger, like the edge of a train platform, and ones with elongated bars used to indicate direction. I found out a bunch of other interesting things to note:
- They were invented in Japan by Seiichi Miyake 三宅 精一, and were first installed in Okayama, Japan on 18 March 1967 (18 March is «Tenji Block Day» in Okayama!). Miyake and his invention was even celebrated in a Google Doodle.
- The governing standard in Japan is JIS T 9251, which states in summary that the blocks are to be at least a 30cm square, with either four bars of 17mm in width and 5mm height, or a 5x5 grid of dots 12mm in diameter and 5mm height. The bars are to be spaced 75mm apart measured from the bar’s center, and the dots 55-60mm apart measured from a dot’s center. The blocks are usually 30, or 40mm square.
- They go by various names, originally tenji burokku 点字ブロック which translates as «braille block», or generically as «tactile paving blocks» or «tactile walking surface indicators» per ISO ISO 23599:2012. People in Japan associated with construction shorten it to tenburo 点ブロ.
- As for materials, there are paving blocks that have the hard yellow rubber tactile bits attached, others that are made of what looks like brushed steel or sometimes a different color rubber (aesthetic reasons?), and still others that are simply an overlay rubber cover that is probably glued to the street.
While on the whole I think they are a good thing, a friend who came to Japan had never seen them in such concentration, and said they are annoying and get in the way of dragging your suitcase. This is true. There were some arguments against, cited on wikipedia, and I have seen a couple of statements that mobility impaired people can trip over them, or that the cause trouble for wheelchair users. I guess not asking disabled folks what they want or need is a kind of “blindsplaining”, isn’t it.RC Logr 20190514 083832 - Japan train stations now have …