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Japanese railway to make workers take Smile Test

July 8th, 2009 12:52am by flipvine

20090704p2a00m0na001000p_size5Ok, the Japanese have done it again!  According to the Mainichi Daily News:

Keihin Electric Express Railway Co. has introduced a “Smile Scan” system to evaluate the grins of its station staff.

why-so-serious-the-joker-3122768-1024-768I shit you not.  They have a computer checking up on the quality of their employee’s smiles.  I smell the distinct scent of the Joker!

But in all seriousness, I’ve always wondered how Japanese employees can put up with this kind of tom-foolery being perpetrated by their employers?  I mean, we’ve got Office Space making fun of little things like “pieces of flare” at Bennigans, or Shananigans, or whatever the restaurant in the movie was called.  I guess in Japan there’s no pop-culture civil disobedience.  Either that or the employees are somehow actually happy to take part in this kind of BS.  Weird.  Here’s more:

The smile-measuring software has been developed by Kyoto-based precision equipment maker Omron Corp. The device analyzes the facial characteristics of a person, including eye movements, lip curves and wrinkles, and rates a smile on a scale between 0 and 100 percent using a camera and computer.

For those with low scores, advice like “You still look too serious,” or “Lift up your mouth corners,” will be displayed on the screen.

Some 530 employees of the Tokyo-based railway company will check their smiles with Smile Scan before starting work each day. They will print out and carry around an image of their best smile in an attempt to remember it.

We emailed Keihin Electric Express Railway Co. and they sent us the following pictures, which they use to calibrate the 0 to 100 percent scale:

0 percent

0 percent

100 percent

100 percent

I don’t know if I’d rather have train conductors look like the one on the left or the one on the right..

So in order to help improve their system, we sent them our own proven best-of-breed tried-and-true smile chart.


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