© JAPAN Forward

The Art of Shinkansen: Bullet Trains in Japan

The Bullet trains in Japan—Shinkansen—are famous worldwide for their speed, efficiency, comfort, and sheer elegance of shape. They are so elegant, in fact, that the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) decided to launch the “Art of Shinkansen,” a series of 14 GIFs showcasing the high-speed train.

© Japan Forward

Artists from all over the world were asked to depict in a GIF various aspects of the Tokaido line, the train line which connects Tokyo to the port city of Osaka. The Shinkansen carries almost 500,000 people per day, for a total of nearly 165 million people per year. This means it has carried an estimated 5.6 billion people since it was launched in 1964. Furthermore, it is renowned for being fast and on time, with an estimated average delay of 24 seconds. This timeliness does not sacrifice comfort, thanks to the trains’ cleanliness and world-famous delicious lunch boxes or ekiben. Finally, it is known to be very safe as there have be no fatal accidents since its inauguration.

© Japan Forward

Fourteen artists took these well-known features of the high speed train and showed them in a creative light. The project also showcases less obvious aspects, such as the depiction of Sylvia Boomer Yang of “Pointing and Calling.” By pointing, seeing, and calling, thereby using all the senses, it said that one reduces the margin of error to one-sixth. What appears as a mere gesture is revealed to have a practical purpose, explained effectively through the moving image.

By - Ben K.