Push Button Style

Japanese sign next to a pedestrian crossing light that reads 押しボタン式.When I watch Japanese movies I’m often looking in the background at signs and what people are doing. In one anime I saw a sign that I couldn’t figure out.

What It Says: The sign says 「押ボタン式」(おしボタンしき). I understood 押しボタン (push button) but 式(しき) according to the dictionary means “style”. This is misleading.

What This Is: This is a low-traffic pedestrian crossing that remains red until the button is pressed.

Idea Grouping: 式 is used to indicate a subgroup among several possibilities.

“Push button style” does not make sense because this is not how we use “style” in English. We would use the word “type”, “kind”, or more commonly, an adjective or modifying phrase. Here are some examples from the Tanaka Corpus.

漢字 ふりがな 英語
自動式の洗濯機 じどうしきのせんたくき automatic washing machine
ダイヤル式の電話 だいやるしきのでんわ dial telephone
オーストラリア式フットボール オーストラリアしきフットボール Aussie rules football
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