Sunday, 22 August 2010

An auspicious sign for older drivers?

Elderly driver sign to be changed to 4-leaf clover
Bending to the wishes of older drivers,  Japan has revised its  koreisha  mark,  which identifies 'older' drivers.  In 1997, Japan  introduced a system whereby drivers over 70 were asked to voluntarily display a mark on their car, much like a learner driver,  "in case their age affected their driving".   Drivers over 75 are theoretically obliged to display it.   In Australia, where at least among some people the mantra 'never ask a lady her age or her weight', prevails,  the very idea of publicly announcing one's age would be enough to cause great indignation, if not apoplexy.

In Japan, where people unashamedly ask people's age (to determine who is older and more senior in the relationship), the issue has not been about displaying the mark, but about the design of the mark.   The mark on the left - an autumn leaf - was the original design.  But the teardrop-esque shape was considered reminiscent of dying autumn leaf .... and resented by people in and approaching the 70+ age bracket.  The new design on the right is supposed to be a stylised four leaf clover that incorporates the letter S (for senior).... I hope it's auspicious, though no doubt the S = Senior will be lost on the majority of Japanese who are supposed to be displaying it.


gaijinwife said...

That was very interesting. At first glance I thought perhaps they were trying to incorporate the learners and the seniors marks/colors in one. Is it available already? I haven't seen it down this way yet.

Cecilia said...

It was announced on Thurs last week. It's being introduced towards the end of the year and will be phased in gradually I think.