Japanese policemen escort ducks across road


The Japanese are renowned for being polite – consideration and proper manners towards others are highly valued in their society. It would seem like a no-brainer then, that Japanese policemen would halt traffic to help a family of 6 cross the road – until you realise they are a family of ducks. 


Japanese policemen protect family of ducks


Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - family of ducks crossing the road
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

Last weekend, a group of policemen were seen valiantly guiding a family of ducks across the streets of Roppongi Hills, Minato Ward. 

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policemen stopping traffic for ducks
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policemen stopping traffic for ducks
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

In true Japanese fashion, the policemen went above and beyond to ensure the ducks’ safety. Stopping traffic and forming a protective human barrier around the ducks, the policemen gently guided the cute family along so that they could make it to the other side safely.


Not always an easy job


Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policemen trying to catch ducklings
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

However, it is not always an easy feat to get these aquatic birds to adhere to traffic rules. Just a few days prior, a family of ducks were also seen waddling near the bustling Roppongi area. 

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - duckling making a run for it
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policeman catches the ducks
Image adapted from: ANNnewsCH

It is unclear if this is the same family that was escorted, but they are clearly not as cooperative as the policemen had hoped. After a wild chase – using everything from their beret to cardboard boxes to prevent the ducks from making a run for it – the policemen had to physically “arrest” the ducklings before releasing them into a nearby river.   


Frequently featured on the news since the 1980s


Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policemen guiding ducks outside of Lawson
Image adapted from: @sibaken_games

Japanese netizens are no strangers to ducks waddling their way through traffic. In a tweet that went viral in 2019, two policemen were seen outside Lawson diligently guiding and keeping the ducks on the right path. 

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - policemen escorting ducks across street in 2016Japanese policemen halting the traffic for a family of ducks in 2016
Image credit: @ino__haku

The same thoughtful act also happened in 2016.

In fact, such news has been frequently reported in Japan since the 1980s. A national duck frenzy started in 1984, when several major media outlets would report news of ducks waddling in a uniform fashion across the street. 

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - famous duck crossing in Otemachi area, 1987
Famous duck crossing in 1987, taken by Asahi Shinbun 
Image adapted from: Yamasemi Web Blog

Japanese Policemen Escort Ducks Across Road - famous duck crossing in Otemachi area, 2008
Picture of duck crossing in 2008 
Image credit: Akiotaka

While the ducks slowly made their way from the man-made pond in front of Mitsui & Co. building to the Imperial Palace’s moat, reporters and photographers would keep vigil at the side to get the best shot. For years, the sight of ducks crossing roads captured the heart of the country.


Japanese policemen help ducks cross the road


It’s heartening to see that politeness in Japan knows no limits –  especially when the courtesy is extended to even animals. Let’s hope that there are plenty of samaritans like these kind Japanese policemen to help the wildlife survive amidst the ever changing urban landscape of Tokyo. 

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Cover image adapted from: ANNnewsCH