This doesn’t seem very neighborly.
A new website in Japan maps what might be called noise pollution of the humankind, including noisy children skateboarding on the streets, couples arguing in their homes, and people gathered on the sidewalk, gossiping for long hours. All of this is considered disturbing the peace. The information is crowdsourced, which allows nosy neighbors and passersby to report the infractions.
The website, DQN Today, describes itself as a crowdsourced guide to help house hunters avoid neighborhoods inhabited by “stupid parents who let their children play on roads and parking lots.”
Noise complaints have increased in the capital, Tokyo, with the police logging a 30 percent increase between March and April last year. That’s when the government shut schools and advised residents to work remotely because of the coronavirus, causing some to become all too aware of homebound sounds they had paid little attention to before.
The creator of the website said that the map was a less-than-subtle hint for residents — they know who they are, even though they are never named — and for government officials, who he hoped would pay attention. The creator, who describes himself as a freelance web developer in Yokohama, Japan, and goes by the Twitter handle @hotaniya, later stopped responding to emails.
The site started in 2016 and initially had a few hundred users. Since then, it has grown exponentially as it has stirred debate, especially over what experts say appears to be society’s growing intolerance for the sounds of children at play.
While many on social media have lauded the website for shedding light on the problem of noise, some parents find its approach troubling and fear a growing divide between families with children and neighbors who cannot stand them. Among the 6,000 wide-ranging complaints, which cover subjects like parking violations, excessive swearing or stray cats that scratch car tires, are many entries that single out areas frequented by unsupervised children.