The Sleeping Taxi Drivers of Tokyo

Last year, while on assignment in Tokyo, the UK-based photographer William Green stumbled upon an unexpected sight while wandering the massive city. “I came across this one street – it’s not a taxi rank, but there were loads of people asleep.”

Sleeping cab drivers resting in their parked cars on the side of a street are actually quite a common scene in Japan. In fact, you’ll find it in almost any profession in Japan. Napping in public is a sign of diligence, and shows how hard you are working, explained the NYT in an article about Japan’s culture of inemuri (“sleeping while present”).

But even this relatively common sight is transformed, through the eyes and lens of Green, into a quiet, intimate moment that stands in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. “I look for things that maybe aren’t in the frame. You never know when you’ll find that private moment on public display,” said Green in an interview.

What I found particularly quaint and adorable about this series was how so many cab drivers carried with them a towel or handkerchief that seemed to be reserved specifically for grabbing some shut-eye.

(Thanks Kaori!)

1 Comment

  1. Such a cute article! Back in Manila, drivers sleeping in cabs or any public transport, really, is fairly common as well. Though I’m not sure it’s seen as diligence but lack of passengers lol! That’s my perspective at least XD It reminds me back when I’m manning our family-run mini mart. On Sundays, when there are hardly any customers, I would fall asleep on the till counter to be woken up by customers (omg!) it’s quite embarrassing at first but as time goes on I don’t care even if I was drooling LOOOL.

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