Crazy, Pop Culture-Referencing Japanese Subway Posters from the '70s


Ever the lovers of vintage posters, especially vintage posters with a pop culture bent, we were pretty psyched to discover this collection of Japanese subway manner posters, which were displayed in Tokyo subways in the late ’70s and early ’80s, over at How to Be a Retronaut. The posters make use of figures ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Rodin’s Thinker to Jesus in order to remind passengers of the proper way to behave. Marilyn Monroe reminds you not to forget your umbrella (as do many others, apparently umbrella-forgetting is a huge problem on the Tokyo underground), Superman tells you where not to drop your chewing gum, and Napoleon shows you how to properly display your boarding pass. Click through to see our favorites from the collection, all originally published in Manner Poster 100 in 1983.

Don’t throw chewing gum on the platform (September 1976)

The Seat Monopolizer (July 1976)

Don’t forget your umbrella (October 1981)

Clearly show your train pass (September 1978)

Isami-ashi: Wait behind the white line (May 1979)

Don’t forget your umbrella (June 1977)

Space Invader (March 1979)

When the bell chimes, it’s too late (April 1977)

Coughing on the platform (January 1979)

Shimatta (March 1977) Or, don’t get your purse caught in the doors.

Dream at home (December 1981)

The Non-Thinker (May 1981)

Umbrellas left behind in the subway (June 1976)

Humans are forgetful (February 1976)

Mary is tired (December 1977)

Non-smoking Time (November 1982)