Japan’s Rail Network

All Aboard the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Train!

Culture Music

This summer a Tokyo train got a makeover themed around kawaii icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The singer was present for a special opening event.

Kawaii Carriages

From June to September 2016 the Seibu Ikebukuro Line carried passengers on a train themed around singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Carriages were repainted from the line’s standard yellow to kawaii pink and adorned with images of the J-Pop star. As part of its route, the train passed through Nishitōkyō, the municipality where Kyary was born, and Seibu Railway sought to appeal to local residents as well as Japanese and international fans.

Designs on carriages were based on Kyary’s hit songs “Pon Pon Pon,” “Tsukematsukeru,” “Fashion Monster,” and “Mondai gāru,” displaying the singer in outfits from the corresponding music videos. The interiors of carriages also featured scenes from the videos.

The KPP Train in eye-catching pink. The first and last carriage show Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in a conductor uniform. (Photograph courtesy of Seibu Railway)

Carriage 6 with visuals from the 2014 hit “Fashion Monster.” Kyary also appears in sticker form to remind passengers to be careful when the door opens (top left).

Tickets, Please!

Kyary showed up in person for the opening ceremony on June 4 at Ikebukuro Station. “I’m very happy that a train I used to ride has been painted in my colors,” she told the enthusiastic crowd. Then she gave the “All aboard!” call and invited everyone to get on the KPP Train.

The 328 passengers on the train’s maiden journey included young people and families, many of whom were members of the pop idol’s fan club. In addition to those incorporated into the design, songs like “Furisodation” and “Ninjari Bang Bang” played in the carriages as the train traveled from Ikebukuro Station to Hōya in Nishitōkyō and back again. Kyary served as the conductor, introducing famous places along the route and getting together with passengers to record departure announcements to be used at stations.

The highlight of the trip came at Hōya Station when Kyary came through the carriages to check customers’ tickets. She was greeted with cheers all the way. Norberto Sánchez, an American student at a university in Yokohama, said, “I love how colorful Kyary is. I’m very happy to see her from so close for the first time.”

After Kyary finished her tour of the carriages, the train headed back to Ikebukuro. The passengers enjoyed the rest of the trip while listening to music. Junior high school student Kamikata Yumeka took a picture of the carriage after getting off the train. Beaming, she said, “The design was supercute. More than I expected.”

Fans who gathered on platforms to catch a glimpse of Kyary also got into the spirit of the event by waving at the KPP Train as it trundled through stations along the way. The popularity of the train was such that from July 30, Seibu switched tracks to allow the train to pass through Kyary’s birthplace of Tanashi on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

Kyary (left) waves at the opening ceremony alongside Gotō Takashi, the president of Seibu Railway.

Conductor Kyary waves at fans as they show her their tickets.

American Norberto Sánchez (front left) and Chen Youyu (front right) from Taiwan are students at the same university in Yokohama. They say listening to Kyary’s songs make them happy.

Elementary school student Ichikawa Rin (center) and her father Naokatsu (right) are both fans.

Many passengers dressed up for the trip.

Junior high school student Kamikata Yumeka recreates one of Kyary’s iconic poses.

Kyary waves to fans after the event is over. (Photograph courtesy of Seibu Railway)

Photo Gallery

(Photograph courtesy of Seibu Railway)

(Originally published in Japanese on October 29, 2016. Banner photo courtesy of Seibu Railway. Photographs by Kawai Satoshi except where otherwise noted.)

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