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Japanese public transit is very crowded -- in fact, the operating companies hire employees to help pack trains as full as possible at the height of rush hour. Japanese society has very strict sexual mores, as well. A significant social problem is that of creepy strangers on public transit (or in parks) anonymously fondling women in the midst of the crowd and confusion, or otherwise molesting them. These molesters are known by some anime fans as chikan (chikan is actually the act of sexual assault by groping, not the perpetrator), and signs are prominently posted in parks and on transit warning women about them.

As of 2006, the Japanese subways have addressed this problem by establishing women-only cars on every train. These are reportedly quite popular. However, their failure to put a dent in numbers of cases resulted in the introduction of routine undercover police patrols of subways in 2009, coupled with new awareness campaigns to encourage reporting and prosecution of offenders.

This problem, incidentally, is also common in other crowded countries with traditionally very patriarchal cultures: India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Egypt, Brazil, and Mexico have, inspired by Japan, all started designating certain passenger cars in their public transport networks (subways, commuter railways, and even bus lines) as women-only for basically the same reason.

Many anime and manga series have at least one episode where a female character encounters a chikan who must be confronted or evaded. The Chikan will tend to be a one-shot character serving a similar role to the Monster of the Week. It's rare for a series to have a recurring chikan, although quite a few series have perverted characters, many of whom are even portrayed sympathetically. Hentai series, on the other hand, might have this as a fundamental plot element...

Please do not confuse with The Chick. Or with the fried stuff that KFC serves. Or with Chikane, although considering her preference and reincarnating nature, she can be an example of this in the future.

Examples of The Chikan include:


Anime & Manga

  • Sailor Moon
    • There's also a fairly well-known doujinshi group known as Black Dog, which specializes in Sailor Moon Chikan stories (other series too, but the Sailor Moon ones are the most famous). For some reason, despite going on the trains to stop the chikan over and over, the senshi still always end up groped and raped.
      • Though to be fair, most of the manga by that group usually end with the perpetrators getting their asses royally kicked by the Sailor Scouts. In one story, the groping and raping were actually part of the Sailors' plan from the beginning!
  • I! My! Me! Strawberry Eggs
  • Tenshi na Konamaiki has both a chikan episode and a sekuhara (sexual harassment) episode.
  • Chou Kuse ni Narisou
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: In a rare case of the chikan being a regular character, our hero pounds one on the bus in an early episode, only to find out that the molester is his new boss.
    • Said boss eventually ends up landing in serious hot water when he's caught by an undercover policewoman, leaving his things in the train when he flees in a panic. Naturally, Onizuka finds it, and fearing blackmail, the boss decides to not go forward in his latest "get Onizuka fired" plot.
  • Futana from Futaba Kun Change, much to the dismay of "her" brother.
  • Nanoka runs into a chikan on her way to school during an episode of Koi Kaze. It's not a major plot point, but it occurs shortly after Nanoka got into an argument with her older brother Koshiro because she felt he was being annoyingly overprotective of her, and the experience led her to appreciate that Koshiro meant well.
  • In the Love Hina Christmas Special, Motoko is groped by one on a subway; her response, being Motoko, is violence. But unlike the vast majority of violence she was able to inflict in Love Hina to that point, this time, her beating the man almost gets her arrested.
    • Also happens by accident to Naru and Keitaro. Poor guy just never gets a break...
  • Inverted in Mahou Sensei Negima in the first chapter when Negi is riding to the school. Little boys are QUITE popular with high school age girls.
    • That sequence was significantly less perverted in the original than it was in the Del Rey version...
  • In Seito Kaichou ni Chuukoku the male class president gets groped on the train regularly, so the main character decides to act as his bodyguard and get him to and from school.
  • Speaking of inversions, the one-shot H-manga Rush Hour XXX has a cram school student boarding a train's women-only car by accident. It's not him who's the pervert, it's every woman in the car. Needless to say, "interesting" things ensue.
  • Chika (get it?) from May Not Miss Pervert Fall In Love molests her crush, Tatsuki on a train and this is technically their first meeting.
  • A whole episode of Tantei Gakuen Q focuses on three detective girls (The Chick Megumi, Action Girl Yukihira and former Meganekko/now Faux Action Girl Kuniko) trying to capture one of these who attacked Kuniko on a train.
  • In You're Under Arrest, the Wholesome Crossdresser Aoi Futaba is actually part of the Anti-Chikan unit.
  • There's a whole genre of Hentai that's based off of chikan, with G-Spot Express as one of the more extreme examples.
  • In the BL manga Koi wa Itsumo Arashi no Youni (AKA Love Is Like a Hurricane") the molester is also the love interest.
  • Ultra Maniac had Ayu get prodded by a boy when travelling to school one morning, Nina makes her a magical ring to stop perverts touching Ayu in future. It is supposed to give them non-lethal but still pretty painful electric shocks when they touch Ayu at all, unfortunately it classifies anyone male as a potential groper.
  • In one chapter of the Keroro Gunsou manga, Hot Mom Aki ends up fending off a chikan with a judo throw while ruminating on what makes an appealing manga character. She then tells him "If you want to feel up this manga character, come up with a better scenario first!"
  • Hilariously done when Agon and Hiruma save a girl from one of these in Eyeshield 21. After being sent a live video feed of said girl being harassed by a chikan, Agon immediately leaves where he is, goes to the subway, and rips the man from the train while it's moving. Agon then gets to work on getting under the girl's skirt while Hiruma goes on to blackmail the chikan.
  • In Aoi Hana, the characters meet again after Fumi is molested on the train. Akira stomps on the Chikan's foot after she recognizes Fumi's expression and advises she remember to do that in the future.
    • Briefly referenced to in Wandering Son, by the same mangaka. Once beginning high school, Chiba began going on the train. She says she encountered a pervert, but nothing much is said about it. Starting from then, she lets her mom drive her to school.
    • Shimura seems to have a thing for Chikan in her manga. In one of her earlier manga Inhabitants of the Threshold the protagonist - who was a boy - gets molested by a man on the bus, and Yuki from Wandering Son gets groped by a man on the train but then becomes his friend in a spinoff.
  • In Change 123 Motoko is molested by a chikan on the way to meet Kosukegawa, she is so flustered that her Split Personality Hibiki takes control and reaches down to meet the pervert's fingers. At first he believes she is getting into it, but needless to say this was not the case.

 "Woah! All four of his fingers are backwards."

"CALL AN AMBULANCE!!"

  • In the Midori Days manga, several girls in Ayase's class get their skirt slit by a pervert on the subway. Ayase's response is to dress Seiji in drag and have him accompany her on the train. Naturally, his (uninformed) male friends think him the hottest thing ever. He catches the pervert ripping Ayase's dress and proceeds to beat the crap out of him, only partially losing his disguise in the process. And accidentally ripping off Ayase's skirt.
  • In an episode of Speed Grapher, a guy grabs Kagura's ass on a subway, however, since Kagura is a sheltered rich girl who knows very little about the real world and has never even been on the subway before, she doesn't do anything about it and just giggles and blushes. A bit later when Saiga asks what she was giggling about, she tells him a guy was "tickling" her; Saiga tells her the guy was a pervert and she should have told him about it sooner.
  • In Death Note, Mikami sets one up to die so he can confuse the SPK with a fake notebook.
  • Parodied in an episode and chapter of Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei. Nozomu is shown handcuffing himself to the train railing to prevent accusations of this, but when Nami screams out for an unrelated reason, he gets arrested anyway. When Nami explains he wasn't molesting her, the police are happy to let him go, but Nozomu wants to plead guilty- his logic is to the effect that being punished means he can move on afterward, but if he denies it, people will think he's scum.
  • Inverted for comedy in the Yamatogawa's one-shot Train Woman. A group of high school girls try this on a rather effeminate-looking male classmate, only for him to turn the tables on them.
  • In Girl Friends, Sugi encounters one during her A Day in the Limelight chapter, who happens to be her elementary school teacher. This is also something of a subversion because she's actually used to dealing with molesters; it's the salarymen who come to her rescue that she worries about because they inevitably want to date her.
  • A short one in Deep Love where a man molests Ayu on a train, she lets him and robs him afterwards (charging the amount she would for regular johns). She throws the money away afterwards.
  • In Mawaru Penguindrum, Ringo's friend Yukina mistakes Shouma for one. Meanwhile, #1 is prone to squeeze into skirts and has mastered the Floor-Level Mirror Technique.
  • This issue is only referenced, never explained in Seitokai Yakuindomo. In episode one, main character Takatoshi finds himself in a subway car nearly exclusively populated by women. To keep from being falsely accused, he assumes the same position as all the other men: riding with his hands held high so that no one can call him a molester. It's a social issue that's played for laughs, like most other things in the series.
  • In an early chapter of Pump Up! Mizutama gets groped by an old man on the bus. He found the experience so embarrassing that he started crying.
  • Eden no Hana features one that tries to grope Midori's thoigh when she falls asleep on her train seat. Her classmate Hashiba scares him off.
  • In an early chapter of Detroit Metal City Negishi is falsely accused of subway groping. It later also turns out that Gaylord (the first Krauser) had to temporarily retire from metal because he was jailed for sexual assault after groping women on trains.

Comic Books

  • Voltaire's comic, Deady Big in Japan mentions this when Deady is shoved into a subway. Of course, he turns out to be the Chikan. (Since he has tentacles, he is able to harass a great deal of women at once) The women he is harassing then accuse an elderly man of touching them and beat him up. Deady walks away unscathed.

Film

Literature

  • Western example: The main character in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is groped on a train. Her aunt considers it a sign of maturity.
  • In the introductory Japanese textbook Genki, one of the male characters, Takeshi, is groped by a shadowy chikan in a cartoon illustration of the vocabulary world "sawararemashita" (to be touched against one's will).

Live Action TV

  • The story of Densha Otoko (Train Man), both in real life and the dramatized TV version, starts with a loser confronting a chikan on the subway and unexpectedly winning a date for his trouble.
  • They try to set up a sting for this on Reno 911, but since the "bait" is Dep. Weigel no one tries it.
  • An incident with a tv reporter who had her bottom pinched while in the middle of a live report.

Web Comics

 "Leave the limbs you've lost. They belong to me now."

Video Games

  • Rapelay, made by Illusion, where the player is a chikan who gets to molest girls, and rapes a girl he groped and her family as revenge for her turning him in to the cops. When foreign Moral Guardians complained about the game, the response from the Japanese gamemakers was...to ban all non-Japanese IPs from accessing their websites.
    • Actually Equality Now (the moral guardians) organized spam campaigns against the game companies. Also they succeeded in banning erotic games containing certain fetishes such as chikan, bondage, incest, adultery, or rape.
    • Then there's Itazura Gokuaku, about a serial chikan and some of his regular victims. Also has 'Hays Code' endings, with the protagonist either turning himself in and rehabilitating, or getting thrown onto the tracks to his death by one of his victims.
  • Lei-Fang's ending in Dead or Alive 4 is a perfect example of Values Dissonance. A man stumbles on a train and accidentally grabs Lei-Fang's breasts as he's falling. She responds by kicking him out of the train's windows, where he plummets into a river. The situation is Played for Laughs (mostly thanks to the intentional Narm especially the main lyric of the BGM being "Touch me"), and the crowd gets up and gives Lei-Fang a standing ovation. Find the video on YouTube and read the comments to get an idea of how disturbing this is to Westerners.
    • Though some of the commenters do seem to think it was Disproportionate Retribution and the guy may have been killed.
    • Some of the applause was probably due to her shirt unbuttoning and her skirt slitting up to her pantyline.
  • In Twinbee Taisen Puzzle-Dama, Madoka takes Dr. Warumon as one upon encountering him in her storyline. The poor guy's response to this is priceless.

Other

  • The Onion once ran an opinion piece in which a frotteur complained, in great detail, about how difficult this was becoming.
  • There is an entire genre of Japanese porn with Chikan as its basic premise.
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