In a country where asking for, and even offering, help can be culturally difficult, these kindhearted badges aim to make a difference. Called the hoiku (child care) mark, they’re a sign that the bearer is ready and willing to help parents who’re having a hard time while riding the rails with small kids.


The hoiku mark’s creators say they were inspired by seeing a mother on a train struggling to comfort her bawling baby, and wishing there were some way to automatically let parents in similar distress know that help was available.

The badges indicate that the bearer is approaching the parent to offer help, not chastise them for their unruly child, and also to get around Japanese people’s society-wide reluctance to ask strangers for help, for fear of bothering them.

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