Japan has built a station in the middle of nowhere: it is Seiryu Miharashi Eki, the ghost station. Let’s discover the meaning of this unique station in the world.
The GHOST STATION has been inaugurated: you get off the train and find yourself in the MIDDLE of NOTHING
In Japan that we all imagine, work is a fundamental part of people’s lives, to the point of becoming a real obsession. The “karoshi“, workers who commit suicide or who live in conditions of high stress due to work, are a symbol of the Japanese conception of industriousness. Precisely for this reason, was identified the necessity of building a ghost station which leads to the middle of nowhere, to stop from the overwhelming routine.
# Seiryu Miharashi Eki: “la piattaforma di vista del fiume”
This past March 17th, the Seiryu Miharashi Eki station was inaugurated – literally “river viewing platform” – located between the dense vegetation of a mountain and a river. From the station platform, you can’t reach any town, you can’t even have a coffee at the bar because there is absolutely nothing nearby except the pristine nature. Remain without doing anything is therefore not a choice but an obligation. In fact, the only way to leave the station is to wait for the next convoy and, while waiting, you can only observe the surrounding nature to temporarily forget the stress associated with the frenetic work routine.
# A destructive capitalist culture
It might seem like a joke or a mistake, but it was built after a deep reflection, following an analysis published by the Tokyo government in 2016: from a survey carried out on 10,000 Japanese workers, it emerged that about 23% of people work at least 80 hours of overtime per month and half of the respondents said they do not take paid vacations. These alarming data are the result of a deeply rooted capitalist culture in Japan, which does not allow citizens to consider taking a vacation or simply a normal break.
# The symbol of a silent rebellion
So, doesn’t it seem extremely necessary to have a place where there is nothing to do? Doesn’t it seem necessary to build a station where trains stop as well as thoughts? Seiryu Miharashi Eki is the symbol of a silent rebellion against that culture which is at the same time the strength and the Achilles’ heel of Japanese society.
In this station, on the one hand, the gaze is lost in the green of the mountain vegetation and, on the other hand, the sound of the river water frees the mind from negative thoughts. But capitalist culture is not a Japanese exclusive and a place where there is only room for the beauty of nature would be needed in every nation.