New Yamanote Line Station Takanawa Gateway Opens

Source: Gaijin Pot

Woohoo! Takanawa Gateway Station, the latest addition to the Yamanote Line, was unveiled last Saturday with great success despite the doom and gloom hanging over our heads. On this historic day, people weren’t waiting in line for masks or toilet paper, but for a chance to walk through the new station gates.

A station with a name

When JR East announced the construction of a brand new 駅(えき) (station) for Tokyo’s circular line back in June 2014, little did they know that their naming campaign would end with outrage and a petition.

The drama all started with the campaign to have citizens participate in the process by submitting name ideas online or by mail during June 2018. From serious tetsudo otaku (train nerds) to kids and foreigners, everyone could participate, so of course, they were overwhelmed with suggestions. Among the proposals, Olympics 2020 Station (オリンピック2020駅) sounded like a good idea considering its opening year.

Say my name, say my name.

Submissions were followed by a voting period for three favorites: “Takanawa,” “Shibaura,” and “Shibahama”.

“Takanawa” won first place with 8,398 votes, but the public was baffled by JR East’s decision to go with “Takanawa Gateway,” another submission that originally only earned 36 votes and placed 130th on the list. JR East justified its decision by stating that the area is the “gateway to Edo” and a future international hub.

It’s speculated that this was a business decision—a redevelopment project called “Global Gateway Shinagawa” is nearby—but the public didn’t appreciate the bait and switch. Plus, this is the only station on the Yamanote Line written in katakana, which creates issues for commuter passes because it’s one character too long for the system.

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