We’ve all heard about Japan’s extraordinary ‘capsule hotels,’ but photographer Won Kim’s intimate photos give us a personal look at another set of tight living quarters – a hidden hotel in Tokyo that was designed as a guesthouse for backpackers.
Kim stumbled across the hotel when backpacking across Japan, and returned two years later to photograph it.
He lived there for several months, befriending residents and photographing the small, womb-like spaces that they call home.
The entire hotel is located on a single floor of an office building in north-east Tokyo. Some of the residents are short-term visitors while others, says Kim, are essentially permanent residents.
“For me, the real interest of the resulting portraits is in how each resident has made use of a such a small, confining space,” Kim writes. “In each case, the sharply-defined space and its contents tell something about its occupant’s personality, and his or her ability to function in such a strange, enclosed environment.