Further Proof That Rush Hour In Tokyo Sucks

Further Proof That Rush Hour In Tokyo Sucks

The morning commute in Tokyo (or Osaka, or Yokohama, or any other huge Japanese city) can totally bite. As if you already didn’t know that.

Photographer Michael Wolf documents that in his latest volume of Tokyo Compression. For years now, Wolf has been snapping photos from a train platform, capturing the cramped conditions of the commuters as the doors shut close.

Many of Wolf’s photos seem to be taken when it’s rainy and cold, making the photos appear steamy and sweaty. The subjects in the photos are trapped — some look away from the camera, while others look directly into the lens.

On the major subway lines, rush hour can get truly awful in big Japanese cities. You do feel like you are either packed like sardines or being herded like cattle. Your personal space is often reduced to nil, which can make the commute even more unpleasant and soul sucking.




As Slate pointed out, the recently published Tokyo Compression Three also features photos from the previous volumes. You can see more photos on Slate or on Wolf’s site below.

Tokyo Compression [Michael Wolf via Slate]

(Top photo: Michael Wolf)
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  • Hrrmmm…. I shall have to consider this if I ever get around to visiting Japan… And I thought rush hour in Melbourne was annoying…

    • the smell in sydney rush hour may be worse, but it’s nowhere near that packed on the trains. Plus sydney trains and buses are slow and often late. Japanese trains are a lot more frequent and reliable.

  • nice pics,
    coming from someone that has to catch these crowded Tokyo trains every day I can relate to these pics.
    The amazing thing is that these trains come every 2-5mins and they are all still packed like this.
    Trust me Australian trains have nothing on these rush hour Japanese trains

  • …And yet Japanese trains are so much better than Australian trains in every way. Speed, efficiency, frequency, cleanliness etc. Can’t wait to ride a shinkansen very soon!

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