The Man-Machine: Tokyo – Osaka – Kyoto

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Czech photographer David Tesinsky’s tragicomic photo essay about his 2012 visit to Japan.

I will show you real moments from the lives of Japanese businessmen and also some free work including montages and some “Free” directed shots covering the local business community.

The life of a Japanese businessman is often very stereotypical and dry. Most days it begins around 5am and continues in busy trains, including transfers in extremely busy stations leading daily to the same work place; and it ends late at night, returning home by the same route, but it’s not uncommon and is indeed stereotypical to go out drinking after work in the local izakayas (pubs) and not come back home. Often from one of two reasons: because the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream has overcome the ability to walk back home, so it’s very common to see drunk businessmen, of course still in their suits with neckties and briefcases, sleeping anywhere in any position in the streets, next to building entries or for example in the fast food restaurants of Japanese cities like Tokyo, the biggest city in the world where everything is not “on the next corner” as it is in smaller cities, and the average businessman is usually not willing to pay for a taxi to get home tonight even if he’s still able to walk.

Businessmen can be found figuring this out in “Manga Coffee’s” or any other internet coffee shop that is open 24hrs/day, or in McDonald’s, the preferred restaurant for sleeping.

Or they just can’t catch the last train/subway back home and they need to wait until the morning for the first train.

Very few businessmen ever earn a lot of money, they just survive in a robotic world full of stereotypes, very rarely doing anything creative. Common habits include visiting gambling rooms or reading the mangas (anime comics) in the nearest supermarket during the lunch break or in the evening after work.

In Japan it is usually very difficult to bring about change – I met one 66-year-old guy from North Korea living in Japan . . .

After we spent some time talking together he told me: “You’re too sensitive a person to stay here with these robots”.

Many people in Japan feel very alone and isolated, and it’s very common to have not even a single friend.

Anyone can find a way with a bit of strength and luck for sure, but here in Japan it’s not about if you really like your job in an iron building in the clouds, it’s more about a place to stay and the possibility of earning enough money to get by. Sometimes businessmen decide to end their lives by jumping under trains or by some other way.

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