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Second place
David Guttenfelder The Associated Press

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Japanese 'salary men' company employees gather after work in gravel lot outside the Imperial Palace overlooking the financial district of Tokyo in September 2006. The loyal, black-suited cog of Japan Inc. _ 'the Salary Man' _ has been the symbol of Japan's post-war economic miracle.

But monotonous commutes, long days marked by emasculating work, absence from family, and the isolation of trying to get ahead in a business culture where individual achievement is frowned upon often makes the life of the Salary Man a lonely struggle.

Moving through the landscape of Tokyo like anonymous ghosts, the salary man is up at dawn for his two-hour train commute. His workday begins at 8:30 a.m., when the tardy bell sounds in his office. After an 11-hour day, there is obligatory excessive drinking and karaoke with superiors. The last train home leaves at midnight. Repeat...


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