Samurai Smartphone Parade Teaches Pitfalls of Phone Addiction While Walking

Japan Trends
The original version of this article first appeared on Japan Trends.

NTT Docomo has produced a video illustrating how it is dangerous to look at your phone while you walk, even if you are a samurai.

In the video, hapless samurai are shown walking in a pilgrimage but unable to resist the urge to look at their smartphones while they move forward.

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The results are inevitable: they trip, collide, and fall over. Moreover, while today similar phone addicts may only sustain light injuries if they bump into other pedestrians, these samurai are ambushed by enemies when distracted by their glowing handheld devices. In between pratfalls and slapstick scenes there are statistics (displayed in calligraphy in keeping with the retro style), such as that 66% of people have bumped into someone while using their smartphone.


“To visualize the danger of using smartphones while walking, we thought a samurai parade is a perfect motif to go with, because it’s something Japanese people can easily picture,” Docomo spokesman Akehiro Tomita said.

The procession depicted in the video — filmed in black and white like an old samurai movie — is part of the sankin kotai system during the Tokugawa shogunate, whereby barons and their retainers would alternate between residing in their fief or in the capital, Edo. The samurai in the video are supposed to be marching to Edo, if only they could concentrate.

While the video is tongue-in-cheek, the message is real enough and something Japanese phone carriers are serious about spreading.

In March 2014 we saw another video warning against the phenomenon of aruki sumaho (smartphone walking), simulating what would happen if everyone at Scramble Crossing in Shibuya used their phones while trying to cross.

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73.1% of users say they have done aruki sumaho despite 99% knowing it is dangerous.

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