Japan Asks Roller-Coaster Riders to “Please Scream Inside Your Heart” During Pandemic

Screaming is not allowed at reopened amusement parks due to coronavirus concerns

Visitors wearing face masks ride a roller coaster at the Tochinoki Family Land amusement park on May 17, 2020 in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan
Visitors wearing face masks ride a roller coaster at the Tochinoki Family Land amusement park in May.
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
By Bonnie Stiernberg / July 11, 2020 6:30 am

The urge to scream when you’re hurtling through the air at terrifying speeds or being flung upside down on a roller coaster is a natural one. But as amusement parks in Japan reopen, officials are requesting that people suppress those cries; screaming on rides has been banned out of concerns over the spread of COVID-19, as the Wall Street Journal reported.

The no-screaming rule was instituted because screaming can expel virus-carrying droplets and particles. To demonstrate that it is in fact possible to silently ride a roller coaster, the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park released an eerie video of two of its executives riding its famous Fujiyama coaster — which includes a 230-foot drop — completely stone-faced, without uttering a peep.

“Please scream inside your heart,” the message at the end of the video reads.

Of course, while we’ve all pretty much been screaming inside our hearts for months now in quarantine, doing it while being dropped 230 feet is easier said than done, and some people are insisting it’s impossible to regulate. “There’s just no way not to scream,” Rika Matsuura, a college student on a visit to Tokyo Disneyland last week, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s kind of torture to be back at your favorite place in the world and to not be able to scream and enjoy everything 100 percent.”

“You don’t see Disneylands in other countries asking people not to scream,” Yuuki Suzuki, another Tokyo Disneyland attendee, told the publication. “It’s too strict. If a scream comes out, it comes out.”

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