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Japan Makes Construction Safety Cute

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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Japan’s culture of cuteness has found an unlikely new home in the nation's construction zones.

The country that brought the world Hello Kitty is replacing some of its standard roadwork signs with colorful animal barriers cute enough to make Pikachu jealous.

Construction barriers that route traffic and protect workers show colorful anime-style animals bowing and apologizing for any trouble caused by the construction, according to

Kawaii construction signs
Twitter / heart_cocoro

Cute animals being used as construction signs in Japan are reported to help curb road rage and prevent accidents.

According to a post in Naver (translated via Google here), the animal barricades started in 2006 as a collaboration between construction equipment rental company Sendaimeiban and the Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido.

Calming Critters

Several theories for the use of the animals have populated around the Internet. One contends that the characters have a calming effect and reduce road rage; another argues that the characters help prevent accidents, as drivers don't want to hit the critters.

Japanese construction signs

The first animal construction sign was a monkey. The idea started in 2006 and has expanded across Japan.

The original idea started with a monkey that could be placed at roadside construction sites and be seen by buses of tourists. Now, the signs can be spotted at construction sites all over the country, and the collection has expanded to include ducks, dolphins, bunnies, panda bears, storks and then some.

Kawaii ne? (Cute, isn't it?)

Wikimedia Commons

A bunny-shaped roadblock stood guard in May 2010 at a construction site for the Narita Yugawa Station.

For more photos of the barricades, visit


Tagged categories: Construction; Health and safety; Roads/Highways

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