Earlier this year, the East Japan Railway Co. board decided that it would be fun to open up the naming of their new station on Japan’s busiest loop line, to the internet. While we received many, many great suggestions from netizens all over Japan (our favorites being Space Station, Shiba Station and Shin-Shinagawa Station), the results have come in and they have chosen… none of them.
Yep, the board has chosen none of their original surveying choices, deciding to say ‘to hell with that’ before choosing to name the station ‘Takanawa Gateway’ (高輪ゲートウェイ), which ranked a sad 130th on the list of potential names. We at Tokyo Creative think it’s a bit of a mouthful but otherwise, we don’t mind it, however, if you’ve read any feedback on this already on the Internet… you know people aren’t taking it very well.
(Image from Japan Trends)
So the question is, why don’t people like it? In addition to the fact that they reached out to the public and totally ignored all of their community’s reasonable suggestions, the general consensus is that people don’t like the ridiculous use of katakana loanwords in attempts to authenticate the station.
The station, set to open in 2020 between Shinagawa Station and Tamachi Station, received a crazy amount of backlash, with many in the online community hitting back with 14,000 signatures on Change.org demanding the station to take out the foreign term in its name. This might be a topic of Japan’s exclusive nature, but in general, the word “gateway” is just hard to say in Japanese.
But what’s an online discussion (or in this case, argument) without the Internet relentlessly meme-ifying ‘Takanawa Gateway’? Here are some of our favorite reactions from our online community:
(A re-imagining of the Yamanote Line as idealised by Twitter user Kurage60, portraying the literality that each stop is known for)
The Rising Wasabi also put forward the name ‘Takanawa Gateway McGateway Face’ based on the UK research vessel that also went through a similar system of opening up the naming of the vessel to the public. But whether we need another ‘Boaty McBoatFace’ rendition is really up to the general Japanese public.