A few years ago I often was a bit disappointed when I would quite often get on the Hankyu Railway train and notice that some people were developing the habit of spreading out on the seats of the trains such that only about 6-7 people could sit between the doors. (The seats are designed to accommodate at least 8 people very comfortably within this space.) Some people would put their bags on the seat and not bother to put them on their laps when others got on the train unless one of those newcomers got a little obnoxious and said something or asked them to move over to make room. Some people even pretended to be sleeping while keeping at least half a person’s width between themselves and the next person on either side. I couldn’t believe this was the Japan I had known for over 40 years. By and large Japanese are extremely polite in public and conscientious and I felt that something had changed.
Then one day, to my surprise, I got on one of the newer carriages and noticed a simple innovation that seems to assure that 8 people are sitting between the doors. They added armrests to divide the seats to accommodate 3 people then 2 people and finally 3 people. You can even see the little impressions in the fabric where people are supposed to sit. I was very impressed with Hankyu Railways for using this simple hint to remind people of their courteous origins. Great Work Hankyu!