(Via Kotaku)

Kotaku recently unearthed frames from a Japanese newscast showing Tokyo's so-called "capsule apartments" -- cramped, horizontal living spaces that are really little more than cubbies in the wall.

The units have communal kitchens and bathrooms, enough space to sleep, and not much else: "two-high rows of tubes slightly roomier than an MRI scanner," is how Ben Brazil described them in an article for the Post in 2006.

It's not difficult to see the appeal of the tiny apartments in Tokyo, which the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks as the world's most expensive city. But this type of "housing" wasn't always considered a permanent solution -- they started out as cheap hotel rooms for businessmen who stayed out too late working or drinking, reports CNN. Somewhere along the way, people realized the capsules' roughly $30/night rate was far cheaper than apartment rents, which can top $4,000 a month for a two-bedroom.

See more photos of the apartments, via Kotaku, below.