In most places around the world when there are road works you can expect to see a few orange witches hats and a barrier, but not in Japan, they make things a bit more fun and interesting in an effort for the road teams to be excused for any inconvenience caused by the roadworks.
One of the large construction supply companies began producing fun characters in conjunction with a zoo and they became a massive hit. Since then the fun traffic cones they have spread all over Japan and now you may see dozens of different animal shaped characters and even some popular animated characters like Hello Kitty and the like. There are even characters that take on the appearance of bowing in an effort to ask for forgiveness for the inconvenience.
It is believed these novelty traffic cones not only make the roadworks area more fun, especially for the young, it actually helps calm the public in works that are often disruptive and congested. The cute barricades are attributed to lowering the stress level of people inconvenienced and even help reduce road rage incidents. There is also a theory the drivers will concentrate and drive better in the construction areas as they do not want to hit and ‘hurt’ one of the cute characters.