It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities n the world. It’s also got some of the smallest apartments in the world, but a recent news program showed this whole housing problem is getting ridiculous. People are paying huge rents to live in coffin-sized apartments.
Just looking at photos of these locker room apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic. And yet there are people willing to pay as much as ¥55,000 a month ($586) a month to live in them. Granted, most of them are probably just young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping, but still, the fact that someone would pay that high a rent for this kind of living conditions is baffling. Apart from the obvious lack of space, these so-called “geki-sema share houses” are stacked on top of each other, and some don’t even have windows. The latest reactions to the video report show even Japanese people, who are used to small spaces, think these human locker rooms are insane.
The news crew interviewed two geki-sema tenants, a young entrepreneur and an aspiring actress. Their boxes were no more than 3 meters across, and only had room for a small TV, pillows and blanket and some clothes. They said they opted for this kind of living arrangements because they didn’t have too much money. They probably could have found more decent apartments somewhere on the outskirts of Tokyo, but young Japanese these days have a lot things to consider when choosing a place to stay, like proximity to the work place and other conveniences. Also commuting can take several hours in Tokyo, and combined with at least eight hours of work, it can become exhausting after a while.
Considering rent prices and the density problem in Tokyo, I could understand why someone would pay $100-$200 a month for one of these coffin-style apartments, but $600 seems a bit steep. Sure that includes heating and electricity, but the shared bathroom is a deal-breaker for me. Just make sure to remember this pics the next time you feel like complaining your studio is too small.