BlogTV presents a tale of tragedy, a freak accident on a playground that reveals a design of death. FujiTV News brings us the details (3 min, English and Japanese subtitles).
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Children are gathering at the playground, but nobody is having fun. They lay offerings at the site of the tragedy that has claimed the life of their playmate. They pray for their lost friend, and leave flowers and other trinkets, the sort of thing a 7 year old child might blow their pocket change on, juice and candy and cheap toys. The site is now taped off so nobody can play on the deadly equipment that nobody ever suspected was dangerous, buranko, the playground swings.
Computer graphics shows us the events in a detailed simulation, we see that little Ryunosuke slipped forward as he pushed on the swings, it came back and hit him in the chest, crushing him between the metal carriage and the ground.
I looked up buranko since it sounded like an imported word, but it is derived from burabura, a mimetic word meaning “to dangle” or “to swing back and forth.” We see a few different types of typical buranko in this video, thousands were built all across Japan. After this accident, the statistics are starting to add up. Obviously there is a design flaw, and a new design for the buranko is now available. The ingenious new circular design is intended to prevent children from being trapped under the carriage.
The camera team moves to a playground, and asks a young child what she thinks about the recent trend towards removing the swingsets, she replies with ya da yo ne which is such a flexible, idiomatic phrase that I’ll just translate it as “it sucks!” The kids love to swing, and they especially love playing on this new swingset with the cameraman in front.
But let’s get serious here. An engineer explains the virtues of the new circular design, and grovels underneath with his tape measure. He assures us that no child could get injured with this amount of ground clearance. In addition, they have produced a document explaining the correct usage of the swings. I don’t know what sort of government bureaucrat thought up that idea, but a set of instructions for a swingset has got to be one of the most unread and useless documents you could ever produce.
But still, the playground mothers express their concerns about the safety of the new buranko. One mother says that overcrowded swingsets are especially risky, and of course the FujiTV cameras have encouraged the kids to overcrowd the new swings, as they show off for the camera. We hear the same young girl again yelling ya da! as some of the larger children push the buranko higher and higher.