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The Drunk Salarymen – A Look Into Japan’s Drinking Culture

If you’re Japanese, work probably comes first – and you know what they say, right? Work hard, play hard. However, for many a salaryman – drinking is an obligation, not just a pleasure. Drinking parties (nomikai) are deeply ingrained in Japanese work culture.

Larger companies may hold them weekly (when someone retires, when someone enters the company, the birthday of your boss etc). For many workers, these parties are hard to decline, even if you’re not a big drinker. And even if you go with the intention of not drinking too much – when your bosses keep pouring you drink after drink… well, you end up like these drunk salarymen. 

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This series called the ‘The Drunk’, was done by photographer Lee Chapman who captures moments of black-out drunkenness on the streets of Tokyo. Public drunkness is typically tolerated in Japan, and if you’ve spent some time here, you’re sure to have seen this a lot. 

 

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Remember to always drink responsibly (unlike these guys)

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