Traffic deaths and smiling runners

I know all of those kanji, and can read the top two lines but bottom two are a mystery from a grammer perspective.

Lots, smile, run, tokyo metropolis with a neck thrown in for good measure.

DeepL says it’s ”Tokyo, the capital city where many smiling faces run", I mean, maybe? All the vocabulary is there, but I never would have gotten from A to B. Can someone explain how that precisely parses? How does the dictionary form of “to run” work with が and Tokyo Metropolis with the neck attached. Does 首 have some meaning that isn’t really explained in its stand along definition in

So many questions in one little phrase.


首都東京 is 首都・東京

Aside from that 走る also means to run as in “to drive”, the action cars do. So I imagine that’s the angle they were going for, since this is about traffic accidents.


Whenever you see a three-line confusing-seeming sign, think ‘poetry’ (haiku, senryu, etc) :slight_smile: and count the syllables looking for 5s and 7s. Poetry of this form is usually hard to parse and ambiguous because of the tight syllable number constraints. If you’d like practice in interpreting this kind of thing, try the ‘daily senryu’ thread…


Incidentally, this is the ‘new’ traffic safety slogan, unveiled in 2021. The previous one, which was used for 15 years, was 「やさしさが 走るこの街 この道路」. You can see the same use of 走る and a clear 5-7-5 syllable pattern.


Yes, it’s explained by the definition of 首都

I’d translate this to :
Tokyo, the capital with many smiling faces driving or
Tokyo, the capital where many smiling faces are driving
or something similar

By the way, the expressways in Tokyo collectively are referred to as Shuto.

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Thanks all. I would have never guessed that it was actually poetry. Makes more sense.

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