Search
  • vibhu

"bleen" traffic lights



today i learned about traffic lights in japan and the "go" light being a shade of blue despite being commonly designed to be green. you can read the article here: https://99percentinvisible.org/article/stop-at-red-go-on-grue-how-language-turned-traffic-lights-bleen-in-japan/


these green lights have been referred to as being blue for over 100 years. people in japan refer to the light as "blue" because the japanese language encompasses the color green as a shade of blue, much like how americans refer to any light shade of red as "pink."


more recently, urbanists have raised the idea of changing the color of these lights in japan to be a more distinct green. however, the government settled on making sure the lights were the bluest shades of green they could possibly be such that they could continue referring to the lights as blue.


i think that it is powerful that the color of traffic lights has become a small but interesting part of japanese culture and history, especially since it has been around for decades(so i definitely understand the reluctance to change it). i also find it interesting how languages other than English refer to and group colors differently; as an artist, i think that the recognition of these colors as different or similar makes them more interesting in each and every culture.

4 views