自転車免許証? When did Japan start requiring a license for bicycles? Let’s find out

So, between tadoku.org, simplified news websites, and watanoc.com I do article reading lessons often with students. And sometimes interesting things come up.

Recently I used this えほん https://tadoku.org/japanese/book/5277/ with a student and on the 3rd page there was this interesting illustration of what was in ママさん’s pocketbook.

What particularly stood out to me was the thing that looks like a driver’s license but says…

“自転車免許証”

I had to check that my eyes were alright for a second. A 運転免許証 or 自動車免許証 (driver’s license), now that is normal. But a “bicycle license”? What’s that about?

Turns out that it has become a thing.

Back in my Japan days (2002-2006) there was no such thing (or at least it wasn’t required).

Naturally, I was curious about the license and if everyone needs one in Japan now. So I googled “自転車免許 必要性

And found this informative wikipedia article on it.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%87%AA%E8%BB%A2%E8%BB%8A%E5%85%8D%E8%A8%B1%E8%A8%BC

It is not a Japan-wide system. And it seems that each municipality (自治体) that does call for the license has its own setup for it.

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