Selfie sticks catching on in Japan

Selfie sticks in Japan.

Selfie sticks in Japan.

Would you believe that the selfie stick (called jidoribo in Japanese 自撮り棒) was invented by a Japanese man about 30 years ago? The invention was registered in Japan and the US as “Telescopic extender for supporting compact camera” in 1985. However, the patent expired in 1993. The inventor got very little royalties. Too bad, he was ahead of his time. People at the time thought it would look too awkward or nerdy to be using such a contraption. So it never caught on and the inventor didn’t bother to renew the patents.

In Japan, most people I see using a selfie stick are foreign tourists. However, selfie sticks are getting popular among the Japanese as well. I see that camera shops in Tokyo have a large selection of selfie sticks designed for smartphones.

Be aware that some museums and zoos in Japan are starting to ban selfie sticks (along with tripods). Also, in train stations (like on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line), selfie sticks are banned because you could get electrocuted if the stick gets too close (within 2 meters) of the power lines above the train cars. Your stick can get electrocuted even without physical contact with the power lines. Just get close enough, you or your smartphone might get fried.

Otherwise, use your common sense when you take out your selfie stick in Japan. Make sure you don’t hit or poke anyone. I guess fewer people will ask me to take their photos from now on.

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