Thank you for your feedback, aidan, MonaLeeza, Roberta & Missy.
You are obviously all much more on the ball than I was when I was first confronted by these images. My first thoughts (before reading the accompanying text) was: what terrible thing has happened to these people? They seemed utterly lost & exhausted, working very hard to block out some terrible pain. What exactly had happened to them?
Then I read the text & thought: No one's daily experience in a big city should be so harrowing, so dehumanizing. This is too much.Why do they stay here & endure this, day after day?
But I'm sure there are scenes similar to these in other big cities, not just Tokyo.
I was talking about these photographs to a friend who'd visited Tokyo. She said there were folk whose job it was to push & squeeze all the commuters into the carriages (really quickly!) . Apparently in the hectic rush of getting so many people into the train carriages during peak commuting times, some people lost shoes ... & there are racks of lost shoes at the big stations for people to collect, at some later time, I guess ...
I hope this fellow, with his face squashed up against the glass of his carriage window, was listening to some perfectly serene music, which transported him to a much kinder, gentler place: