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Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train to be decorated with lights to commemorate 10th anniv.

This image shows the concept for the "Shooting Star Shinkansen" to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Kyushu Shinkansen Line's full-scale opening. (Courtesy of JR Kyushu)

FUKUOKA -- Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) announced on Jan. 27 that it would operate one special bullet train decorated with lights on the night of March 14 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Kyushu Shinkansen Line's full-scale opening on this southwestern Japan island.

    The special 800 series shinkansen train will run from Kagoshima-Chuo Station in Kagoshima Prefecture to Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture on the night of March 14 but with no passengers. The decorations on both outside and inside the "Nagareboshi Shinkansen" -- or "Shooting Star Shinkansen" -- will include people's wishes.

    From left, the heads of LINE Fukuoka, JR Kyushu and Nishi-Nippon City Bank announce the "Shooting Star Shinkansen" project in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward on Jan. 27, 2021. (Mainichi/Munehisa Ishida)

    In a joint project with Nishi-Nippon City Bank and LINE Fukuoka, both headquartered in the city of Fukuoka, JR Kyushu aims to show their appreciation to the public over the shinkansen's 10 years of full-scale operations and to use the project as an opportunity to wish for a bright future for everyone amid the gloomy social mood that has been stagnating amid the coronavirus pandemic. People's wishes are sought through an official Line account until Feb. 7, and 777 messages will be picked to place on the train, which will be operated with passengers after the event through May 28.

    To commemorate the 10th year of operations, JR Kyushu is also planning a "bear and deer campaign" to promote tourism in the Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures area -- the kanji character "kuma" in Kumamoto means "bear" and "ka" used to write Kagoshima means "deer" -- between Feb. 15 and Sept. 30. As part of the campaign, a popularity contest for people's most favorite boxed bento lunches sold at stations, as well as the sale of discount tickets and a digital stamp rally are planned.

    (Japanese original by Munehisa Ishida, Kyushu Business News Department)

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