Japanese festival participant: a portrait

Japanese festivals are fascinating for many reasons, but especially intriguing are the participants. Men and women who one way or another don’t quite fit with the common image of the average salaried worker.

Something that is very much the case with this fella. A man meticulously turned out, and definitely not to be messed with.

old Japanese festival man


  1. says

    Great portrait; I like the slightly disapproving look on his face, I do get that myself when I get around the Japanese countryside with my Japanese wife from time to time. :-)

    • says


      Yes, approving or not, it certainly makes for a more interesting shot than a ‘just for the camera’ smile.

  2. Ken says

    You seem to be getting a lot of strange looks these days. Maybe your natural antipathy to cats is spreading to some humans.

    • says

      Haha, quite possibly!

      Strangely, however, it doesn’t bother me. In fact in many ways I prefer the results. Although I never ever go out to intentionally garner such a reaction.

  3. GenjiG says

    Nice guy, wouldnt want to be in his way ^^

    Do you know what the percentage of salarymen is als part of the total worforce of Japan? Of course you see them a lot in certain areas but I would think the image of Japan being made of salaryman is (very) incorrect. (Small) industries, people working in shops, farmers and so on would be much bigger part of the workforce I imagine.

    • says

      That’s a very good point, but sadly I don’t have any figures. Even the term, ‘salaryman’, is incredibly vague, potentially covering a massive range of professions. And indeed positions. A simple definition would probably be needed first before any real survey could be done.

      What I do know though is that the number of part-time and temp workers has increased dramatically over the last 10 years or so, radically changing the workforce, and in many ways society itself, forever.

      • GenjiG says

        Maybe just wearing a suit would make you a salaryman, regardless of the area you work in? The change is probably for the best, I feel that the Japanese can be more free when not bound to the (sometimes crazy) work ethic of ‘the salaryman’. But time will tell! :-)

        • says

          It will. A massive experiment of sorts that is just in the beginning stage. A bit like Abenomics in a way, but less planned. Although how much planning has gone into the latter is also very debatable.

          For an interesting take on how it’s affecting Japan’s youth, this is worth a watch: http://goo.gl/IsZDc

          Generally very negative, but like you said, there are positives too.

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