Alarmed by a rise in people jumping to their deaths in front of trains, some Japanese railway operators are installing special blue lights above station platforms they hope will have a soothing effect and reduce suicides.
As of November, East Japan Railway Co. has put blue light-emitting diode, or LED, lights in all 29 stations on Tokyo’s central train loop, the Yamanote Line, used by 8 million passengers each day.
There’s no scientific proof that the lights actually reduce suicides, and some experts are skeptical it will have any effect. But others say blue does have a calming effect on people.
“We associate the color with the sky and the sea,” Mizuki Takahashi, a therapist at the Japan Institute of Color Psychology, a private research center that was not involved in the lighting project. “It has a calming effect on agitated people, or people obsessed with one particular thing, which in this case is committing suicide.”