Shinjuku Station, it is half past five a.m and it begins to get light in Tokyo. Millions of people walk firmly and they stumble into no one. They have as a single objetive to get into the pertinent train car in order to not to be late to their office. The main protagonists of this daily print are the Japanese salaryman, executives (only male term, because in Japan, women are called Office Ladies) of a company, generally considered low-ranking.
In the 1980s, the salaryman's life was a good aspiration for the young people of the country, as in other parts of the world it could be becoming a civil servant: a permanent work after finish the university in exchange for a delivery without limits to the company and a good relationship with your professional contacts for leisure time.
However, everything changed with the outbreak of the housing and financial bubble in the early 90s. The crisis brought consequences such as the wage freeze or the end of stable and lasting employment. Japanese society was beginning to get used to deal with new terms such as work pressure, stress, worries or nervous breakdown due to overwork. there were frequent problems such as alcoholism, exhaustion, or the solitary life of these workers who spent their days between work, izakayas (typical Japanese taverns) or a hidden brothel in the city. A situation that in some cases ended up leading to what is known as karoshi, the death of employees due to overwork. In 2015, for example, more than 900 cases of karoshi were recorded in Japan.
In recent years, due to the increase in Karoshi cases, this "overwork" has become a global problem in Japan. Today, the Japanese working class is still fighting for their rights and the government is in full review of current labor laws. A greater time flexibility, aid for families with a need for work displacement or control of overtime in the works are some of the measures that are being taken to put the end to this social scourge.
Changes in the Japanese labor system are very slowly and as long as these measures don’t begin to take effect, the salaryman will continue rising at five in the morning, will continue working an average of eleven hours a day, with his overtime included and when his day ends working with his colleagues to the izakaya in search of alcohol and leisure. After all this and only if there is a free space, you will arrive home and you will be able to see your wife and children for the first time.