Men jam their feet into high-heeled shoes and walk back and forth, some falteringly, others with unlikely confidence. Some women watch, gauging the men's reactions while sympathizing with each other's stories about wearing the torturous items masquerading as fashion.

They were all participants in a recent event in Tokyo held to highlight the plight of many women — the forced wearing of heels in the workplace — in an extension of the #KuToo online movement.

The social media hashtag references the Japanese words for shoes ("kutsu") and pain ("kutsū"), with a nod to the worldwide #MeToo movement, which has rallied awareness about the scourge of sexual harassment and violence against women.