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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  • bluesummers

    I’ve always hated kids. They’re spoiled, loud, irrational and generally just downright punks.

    However, these kids out-adult all the adults here in Hong Kong.

    Faith in humanity restored (at least in Japan)

    • YourSupremeCommander

      Just so you know, YOU used to be a kid too.

      • bluesummers

        Did I say I was proud of it?

      • hun

        You can be a kid and hate other kids but like adults, then you grow up to be an adult that you always wanted to be and still hate kids. Ha Haa..

    • Kids are spoiled? Really? Even the ones who die of starvation?

      Kids are loud? Really? Even the shy, quiet ones who keep to themselves?

      I’m sorry, but that was just an utterly retarded comment.

      • bluesummers

        Did you just name minority examples to represent a majority in order to support your argument?

        The fuck?

        Really? REALLY?

        • Malnourished and impoverished kids are not a “minority”. There are hundreds of millions of them worldwide, and billions more who grew up far poorer than yourself.

          Neither are quiet kids a “minority”, especially when kids from disadvantaged backgrounds like the ones mentioned above often end up timid and reserved.

          So shut the fuck up––REALLY.

          • bluesummers

            First of all, if it was your intent from the beginning to introduce the “starving children in Africa” imagery which, sure, my heart bleeds for them, but then I’ll have to ask you: what are you even doing here?

            My post was obviously alluding to kids in non-third world countries. Obviously my stereotyping (of all kids) was done in a sarcastic manner and I’m sorry you have a can of spam for a brain. The circumstances leading to spoiled/loud/bratty kids in first world countries like Japan and America are completely unattainable for children living in poverty.

            Me: “I hate kids”

            You’re a dork.

          • Well then how hard is it to say “I hate rich kids”?

            Too lazy to type the five extra keyboard characters?

            But don’t worry––I’m sure one day the proletariat kids of the third world will rise up and subjugate the advantaged bourgeoisie kids of the first world. Then your Marxist utopia of universally poor children can be realized.

            Your first comment was retarded, but excusable. All you had to say after I first responded was, “My bad. I meant kids in developed countries”––not getting offended and arguing that poor kids are some obscure minority.

            Besides, 21.6% of American children––over 12 million children––face food insecurity. This isn’t just a problem facing loser children in obscure third-world countries you couldn’t care less about.

          • bluesummers

            You’re a fucking dork.

            Go talk politics and starving children to somebody else. Maybe there’s a sub-reddit for autists like you.

          • I’m sure there’s also a sub-reddit for child-haters.

          • John Snow

            thats because they have shitty american parents. Too poor to have kids but they do it anyway. Idiots shouldnt have kids. The poor shouldnt have kids especially to have them born in a world full of possibility but limit them to none. Spoiled kids are spoiled because of bad parents. Loud and obnoxious are also caused from lack of discipline. I am not saying being loud and obnoxious is bad. But there is always a time and a place for certain emotions. Kids just dont understand that, hence they need discipline.

  • Anonymepelle

    Man, some Japanese people really use every chance they get to talk bad about the chinese and koreans huh?

    • Wang that!

      Sad but it is true…

    • But it really is true that the Japanese put heavier emphasis on cleanliness and politeness than the Chinese and Koreans.
      “Chinese, Koreans, please emulate this behaviour”
      Call it constructive criticism.

      • some_guy

        //Call it constructive criticism.//
        Which is why the netizen referred to Chinese and Koreans as “shina-jin” and “nanbokuchousenjin” respectively, right? It’s not constructive criticism if they use racist slurs against them.

        It’s really hilariously pathetic how badly some netouyo obsess their lives over hating the Chinese and Koreans.

        • Rutim

          > It’s really hilariously pathetic how badly some netouyo obsess their lives over hating the Chinese and Koreans.

          And vice versa…

        • Well that’s why they’re “netouyo”. It’s also sad how much Neo Nazis obsess over hating non-whites, but it should always be noted that these are fringe opinions on the internet that don’t represent entire groups of people, regardless of what some posters here seem to think.

      • ChuckRamone

        What do you know about Chinese and Koreans? Is something true because you say it “really” is? This is not constructive criticism. This is simple slander without any basis.

        “But it really is true that the Koreans and Chinese put heavier emphasis on cleanliness and politeness than the Japanese.
        ‘Japanese please emulate this behaviour’
        Call it constructive criticism”

        • The Japanese have something called “Honne” and “Tatemae” that do not exist outside of Japan. Wiki “Nihonjinron” and “Japanese values”. It is hardly ‘slander without any basis’.

          • ChuckRamone

            Do you really think you’re privy to exclusive knowledge of Japanese culture? I’ve been studying Japanese and East Asian history for 15 years, and the entire time I’ve been hearing about Japanese exceptionalism. But anyone who bothers to dig deeper and not just accept those statements at face value will discover that Japanese culture is not some alien thing. For instance, is Japan an exceptional place because it has four seasons? This is actually an idea the Japanese took from the French, who believed four seasons make an ideal person. Japan in fact has more like 5 or 6 seasons. Have you ever heard of westerners saying they didn’t express their feelings because they didn’t have the heart to do so, so they told a white lie? That’s a nice corollary to honne and tatemae, which btw is irrelevant to the topic of levels of cleanliness among East Asians. The idea of Japanese exceptionalism is largely a myth perpetrated to explain whatever idiosyncrasies occur in Japanese society and justify inequalities. It’s a variant of East Asian society’s proclivity for keeping everyone in their right place. For someone to believe there’s some real basis to this myth is akin to the mindset of a religious zealot or simple and docile fool.

          • Jap Monkey

            Japanese are elfish looking short midgets with crooked tooth. That’s also truth.

      • Sillian

        Lol ‘constructive criticism’? That’s humorous.

    • Japanese are like Americans. They blame foreigners in their country for their own problems.

    • hun

      It kind of goes for everyone in the world. You should see the comment sections of Americans, racism, racism everywhere and we live together!

      • chucky3176

        Would an American denigrate nationalities out of the blue, that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, as frequently as Japan? Sorry, I’ve never seen that.

    • chucky3176

      Count one vote up from me. They’ll talk shit behind your back, but never directly to your face. Japanese are a cowardly backstabbing sneaky race of people the world has ever known.

      • Rutim

        Oh chucky, chucky… At least Koreans are very open when it comes to speaking their minds (with obvious mispellings to make it even funnier for Japanese)

        • chucky3176

          Big fucking deal over one sign. How much longer are you Japanese going to use that for? Try Taiwan with their hate games in baseball couple of days ago, with the backing of sneaky Japan. The whole stands were full of signs like that against “Gaori Bangzi” which were 10 times worse. Do you see Koreans whining about it? No.

          • Rutim

            lol, the Koreans weren’t bitter at all? The food was wrong and trainig facilities weren’t good, the weather was bad etc… one thousand complaints from Koreans being out of WBC 😉 lol, you’re hilarious. And Taiwanese players setting the flag on the mound ridiculing Koreans was hilarious 🙂

            The thing is that no one probably likes SK around EA probably. And wasn’t Hon Hai’s presiden’t call the Koreans ‘backstabbing’?

          • chucky3176

            Japanese rock band making hilarious videos of racist nonsense and death wish against Koreans, and sends the dvd to bunch of old ladies.


            Cowards. Can’t face real men and speak insults in person, they have to make videos and sends them to helpless old ladies. How much more cowardly can you get?

          • Rutim

            I remember a song called ‘Fuck Zapan’ which became an ‘indie’ hit in South Korea… Not to mention what’s the most usual word of every Korean used when talking about Japanese.

          • Sillian

            Lol I exactly read a netouyo blog lying it was a chart number 1 hit song. It was an mp3 file from nobody floating around the internet.

          • Lil

            What do have here? A little Japanese netouyu nationalist conveniently cherry picking insults to make the Japanese look like the victims?

          • Sillian

            Let’s see how many countries we have in EA. China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan (or Chinese Taipei). Good thing there is even one ‘circle jerk club’ consisting of even two members! Even Taiwan’s intellectuals and level-headed people do not defend Taiwan’s awkward anti-Korean stance. Things like Hon Hai president’s ridiculous remark reflect negatively on themselves outside the delusional netouyo circle jerk. Interestingly, things aren’t going very well between Sharp and Hon Hai lately, huh?

        • Sillian

          The guy who put the banner made a public apology and is banned from entering the Jeonju stadium. Doesn’t this fact actually bother you?

          • Rutim

            lol, you’re speaking as it happened once and won’t happen anymore. It’s a normal thing happening in Korea to show such signs, even at Olympic Games as Koreans are known for not not even knowing word like ‘sportsmanship’ when it comes to going against Japan.

          • Sillian

            Huh? I don’t condone any ‘unsportsmanship’ acts. However, there is a difference between carrying political baggage too far and just being plain mean and racist like in the above case. When the latter happens, the public response is very critical.

          • Cynical of Japan

            Go talk to your friend in Tokyo who are camped out in Shin Okubu holding up signs “kill both good and bad Koreans”. They are there, holding up those signs and demonstrating there daily.

            Superior people you definitely are not.

      • Have you ever been personally “backstabbed” by a Japanese person?

        • The lack of a response tells me this Chucky fellow has barely interacted with any Japanese at all, and forms his opinions solely on what he reads on the internet about Japanese nationalists.

          • Justice

            I have been to Japan on many occasions

          • Might want to learn how this commenting system works.

            “魔女対人間。” wasn’t talking to you.

      • Sillian

        Replace ‘Japanese’ with ‘netouyo’. Don’t go extreme.

      • Justice

        I live in China and I know how uncivilized humans can be. Dirty,xenophobic, they spit everywhere. At least Japanese don’t say bad words about people in front of them. When Chinese people see a foreigner, they stop everything and start talking about you loud enough to your hearing. Point fingers at you when you are directly looking in their direction, thinking that you can’t understand their language.

        Everybody knows the whole world that Japanese are highly civilized and the best chinese can do is learn manners from them and stop the envy and ill feelings.

        • dk2020

          why do you live in china if its that bad? are you chinese?

          japanese are very nonconfrontational .. they don’t look you in the eye and they ignore you to where you feel like you don’t exist, such is the social norm .. if you are a foreigner and you have no family or friends in East Asia it can get very lonely .. but everybody’s experience is different .. acceptance and understanding of culture helps in a big way because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side ..

          • Justice

            Am happy you have admitted that chinese are not well behaved. I am not a chinese. I have lived in Japan for some time.

  • ric

    wish my nation would put more effort to teach the kids this proper behavior

  • Ronbo11c

    I live in Beijing and travel to Japan often its like another planet sorry…..What pops in my head is Chinese at KFC throwing the bones on the floor…spitting everywhere…Throwing the trash on the floor..walking right up to the front of the que and pushing people out of the way to place their order…..Its a fucking zoo..Unthinkable in Japan…On the Shinkansen recently I said to my Japanese friend “Wow we don’t have trains this clean in China” ….If this pisses you off sorry but its the truth…….

  • Ronbo11c

    Crap my comment was deleted….Chinese hackers grrr…..

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