Chikan (body contact)

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A sign outside of a bicycle parking lot in Chiba, Japan, warns "Beware of Chikan."

Chikan (痴漢, チカン, or ちかん) is a Japanese term referring to sexual harassment or other obscene act conducted against the victim's will, or a person who commits such an act. The term is frequently used to describe men[1] who take advantage of the crowded conditions on the public transit systems to grope people. While the term is not defined in the Japanese legal system, vernacular use describes acts that violate several laws. The neologism referring to the corresponding female chikan is chijo.

In clinical psychology, the desire is called frotteurism. Although women on crowded trains in Japan are the most frequent targets of chikan, sexual predators in Japan can take advantage of people of either sex in other situations as well. One such situation (warned against in the sign depicted to the right) is bicycle parking lots, where a molester will wait until a woman or man is bent over, unlocking his or her bicycle lock, and then grope him or her from behind. Chikan often features in Japanese pornography, along with other non-consensual themes.[2] As part of the effort to combat chikan, some railway companies have designated women-only passenger cars.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daijirin dictionary entry for chikan
  2. ^ WuDunn, Sheryl (17 December 1995). "On Tokyo's Packed Trains, Molesters Are Brazen". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  3. ^ The His and Hers Subway Archived December 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Japan Tries Women-Only Train Cars to Stop Groping: Tokyo Subway Experiment Attempts to Slow Epidemic of Subway Fondling" An ABC News article.
  5. ^ "Women-Only Cars on Commuter Trains Cause Controversy in Japan"