You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O.
A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public
Every day, all across the city of Tokyo, a curious phenomenon unfolds: scores of blue- and white-collar citizens end up passed out — sometimes in spectacular fashion and mind-boggling positions — on the streets, on trains, in restaurants, in bushes, or anywhere else imaginable. Come nightfall, one might stumble upon a well-to-do Japanese salaryman lying crumpled and snoozing facedown on the sidewalk, apparently walloped by a haymaker of fatigue that sent him crashing down for the count. These brutal knockout punches sometimes involve intoxication, but alcohol alone fails to explain this widespread yet unintuitive phenomenon: making a public spectacle of oneself in a society like Japan’s, where conformity and shame heavily regulate behavior.
Rife with fascinating insights into Japanese culture, You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O. embarks on an eye-opening journey where social commentary and candid street photography explore the various societal factors — some enviable, some alarming — that contribute to this epidemic of passing out in public.