Inemuri: The act of “Sleeping On Duty”

Inemuri: The act of “Sleeping On Duty”
Photo Credit To Andrew Yee
Inemuri or “Sleeping On Duty” when translated to English has been ongoing for at least 1,000 years and is common practice in Japan. So while one might get fired for nodding off for a minute or two in most countries around the world, Japan sees this as a sign of subtle diligence. In other words, it is a sign of working yourself to exhaustion.
It is not restricted to workplaces and is the reason you would most likely see people in public places find a snug spot and hit the snooze button, or on trains, no matter how crowded, and even in restaurants. The unwritten rule? Sleep compactly, without violating spatial norms. So yes, the salary man splayed out on the train floor will be reproached for being socially disruptive and this would not be considered inemuri.
One of the reasons public sleeping is so common in Japan is due to the fact that most Japanese adults get little sleep at home, a 2015 government research showing 39.5% of them sleep less than 6hours a night. Whether or not this habit will continue is debatable as smartphones nowadays have a way of transporting people, both young and old to a different world with their eyes wide open.

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