Cleaner Moved By Students’ Kindness Writes Letter of Thanks

Japanese school children receive letter of thanks for exemplary behaviour.

Netizens were touched by this story of a group of Saitama school children who took it upon themselves to clean the shinkansen carriages they had been occupying on a school trip, prompting the astounded cleaning attendant to write the school a letter of heartfelt thanks.

The story has attracted attention from all over the web, gaining over 45,000 Facebook likes, with many netizens glad to see some good news about the effects of the Japanese education system.

From Yahoo! Japan:

‘Deeply Moved by Spotless Train Carriage’: Letter of Gratitude from Shinkansen Cleaning Attendant, Students’ ‘Greatest Memory’

‘I was flabbergasted to find there was not any rubbish in the aisle’, ‘That you used the the train in such a clean way touched/deeply moved me’. This was the contents of a letter sent at the end of January to Kawakado Middle School in Moroyama-cho in Tachikawa (Moroyama-cho Kawakado, student population 369). The sender was a female cleaning attendant from a company at Tokyo station in charge of cleaning the shinkansen trains. Second grade students from Kawakado school on a field trip left the carriage in such a clean state that the woman felt so moved she wrote a letter of gratitude. The principal Osato (54) said: ‘In my thirty years as a school teacher this is a first. For someone to recognise something as normal as keeping the train clean, well I’m very thankful’.

The enclosed letter had two pages. The letter started: ‘I am the supervisor who oversaw the cleaning of the carriage your school used’, then she spoke about the absence of garbage: ‘With your school’s education and the prudent guidance of the teachers, all the students were able to understand how to use the train in a clean way. I was deeply moved’. It continued: ‘I am sure that the students have a superb school life. I cleaned the train happily, thinking about the teaching staff and all the diligent students. So I penned his letter to you to express my gratitude’.

Japanese bullet trains, the interior of a shinkansen carriage

Also included in the letter was a photograph of the legendary Tokaido Shinkansen railway tester, the ‘Shinkansen Electric Railroad Test Train’ (nicknamed ‘Doctor Yellow’). From January 20th to 22nd, 123 second year students from the Kawakado school stayed for two nights and three days in Kyoto and Nara as part of a school trip. On the final day, after having seen Kiyomizu Temple, they boarded the Nozomi shinkansen train departed from Kyoto Station at 1:06pm, arriving at Tokyo Station at 3:23pm.

As the students got off the train, they disposed of their garbage in a trash bag, returned the seats to their normal positions, straightened the covers on the headrests, and picked up the trash that was left on the floor. After collecting all the trash bags, they disposed of them in the trash cans at the station exit. At Kawakado school, including greeting etiquette, there are five targets that the students are taught.. However, the principal said: “We didn’t instruct the students to take the garbage home with them”.

The letter arrived from the woman on January 25. At the school assembly the principal told the students of the letter, which was addressed to the female teacher in charge of the year group. A copy of the photograph of ‘Doctor Yellow’ sent with the letter was put on the notice board in front of the second grade classroom.
The head of the committee in charge of the field trip, Nozomi Saitou (14) happily explained: “To create a lasting good impression, we aim to maintain good manners. All of the students took the initiative to keep the train tidy. Being thanked for what we did will be a great memory.” Principal Osato said fondly: “You can see they have have self-confidence and a sense of duty. It would be great if the students could benefit from this and continue to be good people.”

Comments from Twitter:

ナカエマ ~その血の運命~:



If only there were more of these kind of articles, every day would be brighter


I want them to remain like this into adulthood


I’d like for my child to be taught at this school.(*^_^*)


This is a good story!(^o^)


This sort of school exists! Education is really important isn’t it.


I’m sure the cleaning assistant is a good writer.


I’m touched


The middle school students are amazing and so is the person who wrote the letter


The school isn’t particularly guiding them, right.


Chinese, Koreans, please emulate this behaviour…though that’s probably impossible




What a wonderful story…!


I heard this refreshing story this morning!! Great d( ̄  ̄)


What a nice story.(^^)


I would love to hear move of this news being covered. That the cleaning attendant wrote a letter is wonderful.


Those students have beautiful hearts.

小池 勉:

As a trainspotter this news make me very happy. By the way, the woman wrote that letter very well.

Rena Ohtori:

I was moved to tears.


Heartwarming, good news


This really cool! Kawakkado school! You guys are the model middle school! The pride of Saitama!

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