National

Tokyo Metro says new station will be called Toranomon Hills, as trend of mixing Japanese and English draws satirical pushback

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Following a recent naming trend that mixes Japanese and English words, Tokyo Metro Co. has announced that a new station set to open ahead of the 2020 Games will be called Toranomon Hills.

Toranomon Hills is the name of a skyscraper housing a business complex in the namesake district of Minato Ward. The station is under construction in an area between Kasumigaseki and Kamiyacho Stations on the Hibiya Line, seven minutes on foot from the supermodern, 52-story structure, which opened in June 2014.

The announcement Wednesday came a day after East Japan Railway Co. announced that a new station on the Yamanote Line between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations would be called Takanawa Gateway. JR East’s new station is scheduled to partially open in the spring of 2020, with full operations beginning in 2024.

According to Tokyo Metro, its new station will open at some point before the Olympic and Paralympic Games, scheduled to start July 24, 2020. The construction of all facilities will be completed by 2020, the operator said. From 2022, passengers will be able to transfer to the operator’s Ginza Line at the new station. Tokyo Metro said in a statement the name was meant to display unity with a local urban development project that involves a number of high-rise buildings, now under construction, using the same name.

Toranomon Hills and Takanawa Gateway are the latest stations with names using Japanese and English words, such as Tokyo Teleport, Shinagawa Seaside and Tennozu Isle on the Rinkai Line, operated by Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Inc.

JR East’s introduction of its first Yamanote Line station with a non-Japanese name — transcribed in katakana — has not gone unnoticed on social media.

A Twitter user with the handle @kurage60 shared a satirical illustration with suggestions for renaming the existing 29 stations on the Yamanote Line to better reflect the local areas, using station names such as Gotanda Sexual Place, Shimbashi Salary-man Sanctuary and Shinjuku Skyscrapers.

The tweet was shared 82,937 times as of Thursday afternoon and had garnered nearly 150,000 likes.