Fighting fire with fire – ominous divine eye silently watches, condemns Saitama litterers

Here is the image that will be in my nightmares from now on:


If you think you can toss your waste in the Minuma Rice Fields nature preserve, think again – the red torii are watching you. Judging you.

A citizens’ group in Saitama prefecture has set up dozens of these unsettling warnings to try and stop litterers from ruining their greenery and historical farmland. A member of the group commented that they would prefer not to set these things up since they understand the negative effect on the scenery, but the move was taken out of frustration after signs and cameras didn’t work. The group claims it has been effective in reducing the amount of trash. I mean, what’s worse – hellish, gazing torii or mountains of construction waste in one of Japan’s precious nature preserves?

Torii (often translated as “traditional Japanese gates”) are traditionally placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines and symbolize that you are venturing into sacred space. In recent years, the practice of using torii (or mock torii with distorted proportions) to ward off potential litterers has grown as word of mouth has spread with the help of positive TV coverage. The added eye was an original innovation of the Saitama group. According to Wikipedia, this custom is predated by the use of tiny torii to keep public urinators in check.

7 thoughts on “Fighting fire with fire – ominous divine eye silently watches, condemns Saitama litterers”

  1. Ironically, this is asking people to keep clean a place devoid – in the photo at least – of any scenery but concrete and bare dirt with a few raggedy weeds.

  2. Maybe all the littering killed the grass! Ever think of that?

    I would prefer a world where the ominous reminders remain inside our brains instead of staring us in the face. At some point our world could be overcrowded with scarecrows to the point of meaninglessness.

  3. “Maybe all the littering killed the grass! Ever think of that?”

    Even with grass, that is no beauty spot. At least in the photo.

  4. Hey, I live within walking distance from one end of Minuma and it is a nice area for walks or biking around. I wouldn’t call it scenic though, except for maybe when the sakura starts to blossom – next week perhaps? I’ll look out for the torii then!

  5. I found this anti-littering torii gates really popular in Kansai when I lived there, especially near a forest preserve park famous for dumping but also around places lots of people walked their dogs.

    Judging from the amount of garbage piled around them I always assumed these things were about as effective as the 2L bottles full of water people leave around their houses to keep cats away.

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