The Tokyo commute is renowned for being horrible. I guess that’s what happens when you have a city with millions of people in it where everyone uses the public transportation system. Imagery of this phenomenon usually speaks for itself, but this photographer did something unusual. He showed us the Tokyo commute in another light.
Michael Wolf has started documenting the Tokyo commute, taking pictures of people crushed into weird and uncomfortable poses. The pictures are more akin to a horror movie than people trying to get to work, these are in fact the latter. Cramped up into their subways like animals in a far too small zoo pen, these people express very little happiness or general well-being. They seem very centered on themselves, going inwards in some kind of trance-like state.
It’s somewhat harrowing to look at these pictures, realizing that these people have to go through this every day in order to make ends-meat and provide for their families. Even though Japan is a rich country, you wouldn’t tell it from these pictures. These images remind us far more of third world countries.
And I guess that’s where the real strength of these pictures lies. Every wealth has a certain poverty to go along with it. While Japan might be financially strong, it’s pretty obvious the people are also losing something because of it. These people have adapted to their situation and have accepted it, and for some weird reason it gives them a certain peace.