To combat a lack of affordable housing in the capital city of Tokyo, landlords have developed what are known as ‘geki-sema’ or share houses: tiny cabinets barely bigger than coffins that can only be used for sleep and the storage of a handful of possessions.
Although it may take some getting used to, there are lots of compelling reasons to shrink your living space. Smaller dwellings cost less to heat and cool, require you to downsize your material possessions, and can allow you to live in urban areas for less. Still, a home, no matter how small, should be a sanctuary: a place where you can relax, meditate, entertain and be comfortable.
Although we admire its efficiency, it’s hard to imagine that there’s anything comfortable or relaxing about Japan’s new windowless, door-less cubicles. The tiny “apartments” are stacked on top of each other, and from the outside, look like little more than gym lockers. Open the tiny cabinet door, and you’ll see that the ’geki-sema’ house contains barely enough room for an adult to lie down completely flat. Add a shelf, perhaps a tiny television, and some poor lighting, and that’s your home-sweet home.
Surprisingly, people are paying up to $600-a-month to live in these tiny ‘coffin‘ apartments. Landlords say most of these micro apartments are rented by young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using the coffin-like accommodations just for sleeping.