Collectable cards featuring pictures of manhole covers with unique designs will become available next month in what creators hope will lift interest in the nation’s sewage system.
Under the unusual project led by GKP, a group including officials from local governments and the infrastructure ministry’s sewage management department, the cards will be distributed for free to anyone who wants one at sewage plants and other facilities.
Pictures of the manholes will be on one side of the cards, which are roughly business card size, while explanations about their designs will feature on the reverse side.
The manhole designs differ from area to area, and often feature flowers and animals used as symbols in respective communities, or yuru kyara (local mascots).
According to Hideto Yamada, 40, a member of GKP, such manhole covers are gradually gaining popularity,.
The manhole cover designs are decided after asking the public for ideas, or through a competition among manufacturers of manhole covers.
Yamada said the cards were developed in cooperation with a toy maker.
The first batch of manhole cards will be unveiled at a “manhole summit,” to be held by GKP in Tokyo on March 19, before the April launch.
Yamada said he hoped the cards will help lift public interest in the sewage system.
GKP is planning to release a second batch of manhole cards in July.