How to deal with a chikan (pervert) on the bus or train

Chikan (perverts) will often grope people, especially women, on public transportation, sometimes even in bike parking lots. One study from 2001 said that around 70 percent of Japanese high school girls had been groped and there are many stories of foreign people also being groped. There are ladies only cars on some trains (with some time and place restrictions). The signs are usually in pink and in English and Japanese. So here is a quick guide to help you know what to do if this happens to you.

1. Breathe and check
This is a really scary situation and you are probably freaking out. It will be okay just take moment to breathe and check what is going on. On crowded trains it can be easy to bump into someone. So check if this is that or someone groping you.

2. Decide what to do.
You have two options here you can say something or you can leave.

Option 1
Say something. First grab the hand of the person then if you can speak Japanese say something like “suimasen chikan desu” (excuse me this is a pervert) or just “chikan” (pervert). While saying this raise their hand into the air. From what I have read this will spur the other passages into action. Often after you say something others will come to help and take the person to the office. You may need to give a statement about the situation.

Option 2
Walk away. If you do not feel comfortable yelling or saying anything than just walk away to somewhere out of reach.

3. Check in
People react differently to groping. There also may be a delayed reaction. So make sure to check in with yourself and see how you are doing. While you may feel fine after something like like this other are not. So do what is right for you and don’t be afraid to talk about your experience with friends, family, or a counselor. (Here is information for English counseling in Kyoto).