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The curious tale of the Japanese train that stopped for just one high school student

The Japanese train that stops for just one high school student

With no other reliable means of getting to school on time, read about what happened to this Japanese school student…

Teachwire
by Teachwire
The Train to Impossible Places lesson plan
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PrimaryEnglish

We often associate the idea of Japanese trains with images of Tokyo stations packed with commuters. But the scene at Kami-Shirataki station in the country’s northernmost island of Hokkaido couldn’t be more different.

For one thing, it barely qualified as a station at all. Railway operator JR Hokkaido closed it to the public several years ago. However, trains regularly stopped there – to pick up a single passenger in the form of a high school student with no other reliable means of getting to school on time – until she graduated.

The feel-good story originated via the below Facebook post by the Chinese State Broadcaster, CCTV.

Japanese train story – fact or fiction?

The post caught on, and rapidly attracted comments from around the world praising the operator for its actions – but things weren’t quite as they seemed.

A subsequent report in the Singapore-based daily Straits Times, citing claims made by Taiwan’s Daily Apple, suggested that the girl in question actually caught her train from nearby Kyu-Shirataki station in the company of 12 others.

It went on to note that while the stations Kami-Shirataki, Kyu-Shirataki and a third, Shimo-Shirataki, were indeed shuttered after the girl graduated, the decision to do so might have had more to do with the end of the current tax year than with the girl’s imminent graduation.

As many have observed, the original story spoke to the nostalgia and respect people hold for Japan’s railway system. It was a heart-warming tale straight out of a fantastical Studio Ghibli animation that many evidently wish were true…

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