Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Nagurareya, the human punchbag

Nagurareya - Photo by Takanori KobayashiHad a rough day? Head down to the Kabukicho district of Tokyo, where Nagurareya, the human punchbag, is more than happy to take a beating. A big hit on the streets of Shinjuku, the 37-year-old ex-boxer charges passers-by ¥1000 for one minute of uninterrupted fist exercise, during which he will not retaliate.

His real name is Akira Hareruya, and he doesn’t do this for fun. When his professional boxing career finished, Hareruya used his earnings to set up his own electrical contracting company. However, he was much worse at business than at boxing. Japan’s economic problems hit him hard, leaving him with personal debts of more than ¥200 million (roughly £1m or $2m). Rather than beat himself up about it, a friend gave him the novel idea of letting others do it.

Hareruya’s odd job briefly made him a bit of a Tokyo tourist attraction, and he even published an autobiography, ‘Nagurareya’, which sold 10,000 copies. Unfortunately, this didn’t raise enough money to clear his debts (which had inexplicably risen), and even caused problems at home. Hareruya had somehow managed to conceal his side-job from his family until they saw a feature about him on TV. This caused some surprise and distress, understandably.

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19 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. i can’t do that!

  2. Holy crap. On my to-do list.

  3. Hannah

    omg! that’s so depressing and sad…


    Haha. NO. It’s not depressing nor sad. It’s fucking genious! Loves it, +1 on my to-do list.

  5. anon

    this didn’t raise enough money to clear his debts (which had inexplicably risen)

    It’s called “interest”.

  6. It’s better than sucking dick.

  7. Luzbe

    Oh la la! capitalism!

  8. Jay

    Wow. This sounds like one of the Simpson’s episodes where Homer did exactly the same thing

  9. bastard family

    he has a bastard excuse for a a family then in my perception. or at least the ones that turned on him for it. A man is LITERALLY willing to take a beating to make ends meet for his family.. *Literally* and some of them turn on him for it.. yea.. that’s family for you. It’s not like these street guys and girls are going to hit him anywhere near as hard as the professionals did in the ring when he was still a boxer.. .c`mon. geez

  10. Max

    I’ve seen this guy. It’s not as bad a job as you might think, and here’s why: This article leaves out that he is allowed to dodge punches by his own rules. And he’s rather good at it by now as you might imagine.

  11. omg i feel so bad for him !
    all of you people are saying “no no dont
    be sad for the guy”
    he’s getting eaten up by debt and
    he can’t pay it off even by having that job !
    that is really sad.
    people should just be kind hearted enough
    and stop wasteing their damn money
    on drugs or some shit like that she just
    give the guy some donation money. -.-

    yes i know our world isn’t perfect,
    but seriously.
    that’s sad.

  12. I’d like to beat the shit out of this guy 😉

  13. cara

    oh MAN this guys life just keeps getting worse and worse

  14. No matter how upset I was, I don’t think I could bring myself to hit this guy.

  15. Sam

    wow..i hope he gets his debts cleared soon…poor guy

  16. isoge

    omg what a genius his friend was 🙂

    next time I want to beat myself up for doing something incredibly stupid, I’ll just let other’s do it and charge them ten bucks for it.

  17. Jack

    i believe there was a movie about a guy like him except it was for his girl

  18. anon

    haha this is taken from crying fist, a korean movie

  19. While our intrepid reporters were scouting the Golden Gai’s nomiya for Tokyo’s intelligentsia and a good scotch, they literally stumbled across another of Shinjuku’s infamous personalities, Nagurareya, the human punching bag. Every night this former boxer does his rendition of

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