Situation of Bicycle in Japanese Cities

Let's think about the problem and the situation in Japan that the bicycle rider faces when riding bicycle in Japanese cities today, and I will give you the view to get the social status corresponding to the role, i.e. a citizenship.

The meaning of the riding bicycle in the city

Generally, the purpose of the bicycle use includes the sports leisure use having to do with a hobby and an use having to do with an event, too, but here, I wants to focus on the point as the daily transport means of the urban life. It is because it is the problem itself which is urgent with being the most near for us citizen.

To the user

There is a saying that the bicycle is one of the best invention of the human race because it is possible to go to the distance fastest only with human power. Needless to say, as the meaning of the bicycle use, the economic merit, the free-ness, the health maintenance on the side of the user and so on will be pointed out at first.

As for the economic merit, the cost performance, the thing with purchase and maintenance price are low. A purchase price becoming cheap recently itself should be welcomed but brings some too bad side. Such a cheap one is possible to cause danger for rider and the other person and is unable to use for a long time, so that even problems are caused such as treated like a trash, reduction of criminal consciousness to bicycle (e.g.. destroy and theft) and increase of trash.

In each part level, the maintenance free-ization is moving ahead in some degree but in the aspect of the maintenance and the management, because of the maintenance, need some kinds of service is inevitable. It has been undertaken it mainly so far by bicycle shop nearby the rider. Almost of them are the store of the individual management that are faced to the offensive of supermarket and discount shop and aren't easy in the management. It is the present situation that becomes difficult to ask casually in the repair which was slightly and so on. Now, it will be self-defense plan to invest some degree to ride long and to get the knowledge of the repair and maintenance.

If saying about the free-ness, what there is little limitation by the traffic law and so on is given first. Of course, it is clear because the operation lisence isn't needed and the facts such as the ban stopping and the one-way traffic,  like the pedestrian and a small motorcycle, are often excluded even if it is required to the car and so on. Along with the cost performance, with this free-ness, it becomes the existence which is near for more citizens and is available.

Don't forget that it is possible to use for the convenience for more citizens as the meaning of the bicycle use. It means that bicycle is one of the best way to realize and practice the right of transport and move freely as his/her own will -- insisted as "right of transport" , it should be understood on the level of natural right as a part of it and a deeper rooted notion--. The fact to be the means of showing its power in a sense to the full means bringing about the opportunity to awake to the dignity of the human being, too. It is the one to want to have turn eyes to such spiritual side, too. Along with this, there are an effect improving physical health, it is because moderate momentum --oxygen-geiitng movement -- can be got in the limited time and the practicality.

To the citizen and the environment

Of course, as well as user him/herself, there is meaning of the bicycle use to the citizen and the environment, especially the technological and environmental aspect.

It will should say that it is the both low and high technology and their complex that is formed into the bicycle. The most basic in manufacturing a bicycle and the necessary thing is to make a pipe with metals such as iron. Now it wasn't possible to say it the high technology, but formerly it was high technology. It is the gunsmith that was making the technology which was in pre modern Japan so progress and there is history to have been supporting the beginning period of the bicycle industry in Japan by the diversion of the technology. Also, it will are not overstatement even if it says one of the successful example of peace use of the military technology from another point of view.

It is possible to say that it is always required the use of new material, the development of the processing technology and that it improves, that the cost reduces by it and so on because of the lightening, the improvement of the performance, that the high technique is necessary for its purpose and that the bicycle is still filled with the high technology today. It is necessary to say that the meaning of the promotion of the bicycle use that is forwarding and improving the manufacturing technology, not IT relation, is big.

Needles to say, the merit of the environment is pollutionless. To move with the bicycle brings very high energy efficiency. Its necessary energy is 1/5 in walking, 1/10 of the car if being superfluousness but adding. As the merit which changes a movement means to the bicycle, it shows that there is one above the reduction of Co2 and the abridgement of the movement time. However, the bicycle which doesn't let out the pollution of exhaust and so on in running, is consuming great energy when manufacturing. Therefore, if the fault product and the disposable use method are increase, the merit to the environment decreases.

The establishment of the righteous subjectivity and the securing of free-ness

To utilize the merit of the bicycle use, it is necessary to improve the citizen consciousness and the social environment. Now that the bicycle doesn't get understanding with the proper social status, so to win it makes urgent and important problem.

Needless to say that the responsibility and the duty are imposed socially (legally and the morality) loaded by course, in case of purchase and use of the bicycle. When buying, we have to pay the consumption tax and the registration commission to prevent from the offender in addition to the price of itself. Even if it says "the registration to prevent from the offender", actually, it brings a meaning like the number plate of the car and the motorcycle. Also, if causing a damage to a stranger and the fortune when taking a bicycle, it is possible to be dealt with for the punishment of the administration, the civil affairs and the detective to course, too, and also it bears responsibility such as the compensation. It is clear for us to be unable to avoid duty and responsibility, regardless of difference with degree, legally and morality.

If becoming, the basis and the necessity to insist on the right corresponding to the duty and the responsibility are self evident. If demanding to reform the traffic law and the road and the bicycle parking facilities and so on service an infrastructure only, it is enough in the claim from such a viewpoint. However, such a way will increase various obstacles to the bicycle at the same time and we don't forget that there is danger which damages the free-ness which is one of the merits of the bicycle use. One more obstacle is added to the merit to be available for much more persons. Therefore, are minimum and it is necessary that it should not reduce the part which isn't bound down by it with the legal and systematic right establishment and to aim at further profit convenience improvement with the compatibility.

Generally, as for the fact that the obstacle increases, tolerance to the variety is also lost. We must not forget that in the cities which the various persons who make differences in race,  ethnicity, age, sexuality, health condition and living habitude and so on gather round, that will cause the serious loss and the danger. Therefore, the free-ness in case of bicycle use must be kept like the other right. Then, again, the claim of the freedom must have combined with the process of the self reform which brings growth and mature as citizen to us making develop into tolerance to the variety in the city. That is, we should aim at the dialectic development which is higher than the level of merely compatibility.

The unreasonable abuse to the bicycle appeared everywhere

If running in the town with the bicycle, it notices the unreasonableness of the handling. Also, it is increasingly serious-izing such a negative situation more this for nearly 20 years. Moreover, most of them are extraordinary in the world that is not seen except Japan includes which can be called even maniac offspring.

The bicycle abuse formed by logos

The term which a lot of persons are using unconsciously, does not only prevent us from the right understanding of the bicycle, but also sometimes brings the unreasonable abuse. It will give four pieces of example which seems to be typical unreasonable term. Especially in the use of the former 2, there is few analysis to the meaning in spite of frequent use. I want you readers to thinks of them. Also, the argument without making a concept and a definition clear doesn't pass to bring about consumption and is unable to do any construction of the logic from such a presupposition.

1) "Hochi"; the left

When parking a bicycle in the city, on the some situation, it is sometimes called the ""hochi (left)" bicycle". Japanese word "hochi" usually means "leaving" or "left", but as for the bicycle it doesn't so. There is nearly no person who goes to throw away the bicycle which was unnecessary or unable to ride to the shopping streets and stations. Needless to say, every user has his/her purpose of riding for each bicycle and as a result, it exists there. In other words, it is the ""hochi (left)" bicycle" does not exist as the word, "hochi (left)". It only says to the one parked in "The bicycle parking prohibition area" based on the local law. Moreover, even if local law itself is established by the decision of the local diet, it doesn't need the agreement of the local diet only decided by the administrative one-sided discretion to the actual area specification. It doesn't say a bicycle that the rider merely left the place only as the ""hochi (left)" bicycle". So it is not a concept having to do with ontology but, in fact, a political concept.

It is the term which makes eyes and an ear well around in the daily life but we must analyze to the content rigidly. While becoming blind to such a thing, the insulting and hatred view to the bicycle is raised. That is, it is the fact that only it is bewildered by the word "hochi (left)".

So there are too much examples which show to make the consciousness to be a living necessity and the fortune of the individual in use unclear, calling bicycle which is put by the purpose of the user the ""hochi (left)" bicycle". For example, we usually tell stealing bicycle as "larceny" as usual theft. However, in not a little case of the bicycle, it is treated as "embezzlement of the left things". It is done so when there is not a registration to prevent from the offender and isn't written name and so on, in addition to this when regarded as the ""hochi (left)" bicycle", too. In these cases, it is not "steal" and it is only as guilty as embezzlement of  the purse which was picked up at the road without sending it to the police. Of course, when robbing a car and a load and so on, it is not until says that it is a theft, too.

2) "Tekkyo"; the remove

The bicycle regarded as "hochi (left)", at the next stage, will be done "tekkyo (remove)". though the saying of "tekkyo (remove)" is not used when moving the car parked illegality with the wrecker, this strange word is used only for a bicycle. Moreover, the word "tekkyo (remove)" is generally used to the fixation one, so unnatural for a word to use to the bicycle which is a movement body from the meaning having to do with a dictionary. In this case, it should be understood that it is the reflection of the consciousness of the administrative authority such as regard whole bicycle in one, not each of them, as obstacle about the city landscape and they want to exclude. In other words, it is in the fact to be offensive that there is one which doesn't meet the mind of the administrative authority and the man of power.

3)"Iso"; the transfer

Most of local government say "ido (transfer)" to move the ""left" bicycle" done "tekkyo (remove)" into the keeping place but some of them call "iso (transfer)". It is two Japanese words "ido" and "iso" which are hardly different in the meaning having to do with a dictionary but there is a decisive difference in the way of using. The example used the latter only includes one to the person of the arrested criminal and the suspect. It is used as "the arrested suspect was done "iso" (transferred) to the police station". It is the certificate of the handling and the point of view to the bicycle which is same as the criminal consciously or unconsciously.

4)"Shuseki"; the amass & accumulate

It is ordinary to call a place of the keeping of the brought bicycle the "hokansho (depository)" and the "hokan-basho (keeping place)" but some of local governments, that, of course, are less than to use the contemplative word "iso (transfer)", call it the place of "shuseki (amass and accumulation)". Usually in Japanese language, the word "shuseki" is used for the garbage and other things cast away. To say the bicycle "shuseki" place is no difference with the garbage cachet. It is the reach putting of a bicycle abuse by the word to handle a bicycle with the garbage.

Now there will be not a few persons who, regarding the term ""hochi (left)" bicycle" as proper, don't have doubt about it without being. However, it is necessary to say that such a unconsciousness is forcing the bicycle and the user to be unreasonable circumstances, in addition to arise obstacles to use bicycle. Moreover, it means that, making mind-control or brain-wash, they are imprinting each other the consciousness such as ""hochi (left)" bicycle" should be done "tekkyo (remove)" and ""hochi (left)" bicycle" = 'the evil'. Directly, it is one by the poor and cruel bicycle policy in Japan which never been a similar instance in the world and, as presupposition, it is one by the lack of the recognition to the bicycle and the user as a righteous subjectivity. however, it is the poverty of the spirit and the mind which doesn't have a thought to the bicycle and the user as the other existence, that permits the continuation and is reproducing in expansion.

(Feb.14.2001)

The hatred consciousness to the bicycle: Is the bicycle so offensive?

In Japan, the bicycle is held by one set of a rate in 1.7 persons. Compared with Netherlands and Denmark which is one set of an one-person rate, although it is lower rate, it is never the lower one in the world. In respect of the rate of possession, it is not necessarily inferior to a country positive to bicycle use from the concern about an environmental problem. But, Japan has taken a large delay to the foreign country with the people's consciousness to bicycle.

It is possible to say that the status of the bicycle as movement and a transportation means is lower relatively compared with other means of transportation. There is a portion once moved and conveyed by the bicycle replaced for by the motorbike and the car. It cannot be denied that Japanese people, whether a bicycle user or not, are made to reduce necessity recognition of the bicycle in a daily life. Moreover, we should have critical examination to the recognition for the trend of increase of such an amount of fossil fuel consumption as a product of an economic scale expansion without critical-wise.

It does not come to consider as the reason for being hostile to a bicycle, although it is the cause of surely making light of a bicycle. Then, such a poor and cruel bicycle policy of Japan unable to see a similar case in the world, have a problem. The criminal and dirty nature of a bicycle policy by the country and the local administration authorities becomes still clearer.

The physical factor of the bicycle itself can be pointed out. In the relation between a bicycle and other transport means, there is a high possibility that the inconsistency will be realized serving as damaging and damaged relation. Although a possibility of becoming a victim and the injured (by quite one-sided degree) is high if it is with an automobile when it has an accident for bicycle user, if it is with a pedestrian, it will become an assailant in many cases. Therefore, a bicycle is recognized as a possible assailant which may do damege. But even if this shows the surface of bicycle hatred consciousness, it does not come to the essence.

It can be said to be promoted by the traffic policy. It is because there is no same thing in the world, as this consciousness formed under the traffic policy and circumstances of present Japan. Although under a traffic regulation of Japan by the Road Traffic Law etc. Bicycle is originally specified as to run a driveway, actually the running on a sidewalk is admitted under certain conditions because of danger for bicycle running a driveway with much traffic. However, a policeman forces passing of a bicycle on a sidewalk in many cases against such a statute in fact. In this way, a pedestrian is made to form this consciousness.

With lack of the recognition as a righteous subjectivity to the bicycle and a user, the feeling of physiological resistance against entering familiar space easily as a mental cause which promotes the consciousness of bicycle hatred of a citizen can be mentioned. A feeling of resistance is widely seen not only in man but in an animal to the others' entering where is immediate and familiar to everyday life of their own body, or to be what makes conscious of the existence. Therefore a bicycle is, because of its convenience, tend to cause such a feeling of resistance and to be the object. It is this very sake that does not argue about the problem about a bicycle in many cases based on a rational basis or the objective fact, and it tends to run to an emotional argument in many cases. It also produces the dishonorable term such as ""hochi (left)" bicycle".

The solution begins from we every citizen opening the window of reason to a bicycle.

The contemptuous consciousness to the bicycle: Why do you think run by "creature" of the living body is so bad?

A little more than century have passed since the bicycle appeared and only dozens of years formed to present style. This is as practically equal as a car, an airplane, etc. It means that bicycle is the rare means of transportation by living thing power appeared the same time with the modernistic means of transportation powered by the internal combustion engine using a fossil fuel. Now that the global warming by carbon dioxide emission is made into a problem, and utilization of the power replaced with a fossil fuel is called for, the much more role should be expected to a bicycle over present and the future.

However the energy replaced with the fossil fuel expected are what is depended on chemical means, such as a fuel cell, and the force of nature, it is based on wind hydraulic power and sunlight heat, and is not based on an animal, a living thing and human being itself. It means that it has the relation of mutual regulation with the linear time development stage recognition that if a new thing is put in practical use about power and energy, recognizing this to be new development and evolution, we regard the conventional old thing as what was inferior and forget. So to speak, a bicycle is regarded as the thing of the pre-modern stage such as uncivilized or barbarous before civilization, which should be left in process of evolution and development irreversibly.

Not only because, having existed before the means which used the fossil fuel after a steam engine was used, from the viewpoint of energy and power, having put the animal together with man, and considered as living thing power. But also because the both are in such conscious as mentioned above. About this, explanation is possible also from another viewpoint. Although the tendency for the everyday activity performed as a living thing individual to evade touching the others' eye is widely looked at by human being, it is further strengthened under the measure of modernistic and civilizing. For example, it is explained in psychology and sociology that seeing the homeless etc. we feel dislike not because their action is unique, but because it is exposed to the public eye. Such can be said to the bicycle which exposes the process of movement by human power to the public eye without any covering, and a bicycle as a object is recognized as the sign which reminds it. In this way, the feeling of the hatred and contempt to a bicycle arises.

The power and energy by the human being itself is the most primitive and familiar since before we use an animal, as well as a fossil fuel, and also can not be left. Although human power can be regard as the super historical thing at the point, it does not mean having understood and evaluated meaning of the human power in the present age properly. From the historical viewpoint, it is can be said that it is one of the raison d'Ítre of the bicycle to make human power use very effectively more than ever since, giving a new meaning.

In order to understand the situation of the bicycle in Japanese cities, as mentioned above, not only recognize it as a phenomenon, but also we should have critical analysis to our own consciousness.

(Mar.10.2002)