Lost in Manboo: My life in a cyber-café

Article published on May 4, 2016
Article published on May 4, 2016

Most people only spend an hour or two in Tokyo's cyber-cafés. It's one thing to spend a sleepless night in front of a screen, and another to spend your whole life bathed in an electric glow. Masata and Hitomi live in a four square metre cubicle. For them, despite sleeping on the floor, the Manboo café is home. The latest documentary from our partners at 99.media.

"I don't like being all alone, but I want to have my own space... in the Manboo I can have it both ways." For some, the thought of a four square metre box containing nothing but a computer might seem a dystopian prospect. But for Hitomi, there's comfort is a space she can call her own. She lives, like many others like her, in the Manboo cyber-café in Tokyo. Our partners at 99.media took the time to get to know its residents.

The click of a mouse. The cough of a neighbour. The ping of the communal microwave. These snippets of sound are all that penetrate the roofless cubicles. Beyond that, one is alone. "I was running away from real life," says Masata, "and I ended up here." It may not be a permanent solution, but for those living life in these neon halls, for now, the Manboo is the only home they have. 

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This article is part of a series of documentary films produced by our partner, the multilingual video platform 99.media.