The invisible homeless in Japan

Have you ever wondered if there are homeless people in Japan, homeless, wanderers or beggars? Yes, as in any country. In this article, we are going to talk about the invisible homeless people living in Japan.

Japan is a rich country where 80% of people live above the poverty line. The reputation that Japan is a rich and unequal country creates ideas that there are no homeless people in Japan, or that they are rare.

Still, it is estimated that in Tokyo alone, there are more than 5,000 homeless people and that millions of people live on the poverty line.

The invisible homeless in japan

Why are there homeless people in Japan?

As in most countries, a large part of these homeless people have lost their family, have a mental illness, have a health problem or are an alcoholic or addict. Drinks and Pachinko are one of the main causes.

Although Japan desperately needs people to work, most homeless people are over 40, and it is difficult to get a job in this age group, especially in the conditions they are in.

The invisible homeless in japan

In addition to homeless people, there are a large number of young people who live in Internet Cafes, Mangacafés and who have temporary, partial, or simply use the country's money.

Many of these homeless people survive by collecting and recycling garbage. Others do jobs and daily jobs, spending all their money on drinks, games and pachinko.

Homeless In Japanese Society

The Japanese tend to ignore the homeless and give them space. Homeless people in Japan are rarely harassed by the police or by an evildoer. 

The invisible homeless in japan

Many live in homeless communities, makeshift tents on rivers, parks, bridges or train lines. Japanese courts have defended the rights of homeless people on several occasions.

One example is that they do not allow the police to dismantle the tents of the homeless. If necessary, the police must follow the same procedure used to evict an apartment or house.

The government tries to do its best to help these people. But unfortunately, some prefer not to be helped, simply because many adopted this lifestyle on purpose.

The invisible homeless in japan

This was already different in the 1990s. At that time, homeless people in Japan were seen as a nuisance. Many were tortured by the police, some even made riots and protests because of some negligence.

The government even tried to get rid of the homeless by preventing them from receiving government benefits. In 1997, Tokyo finally recognized their existence.

In 2001, the government reported that there were about 25,000 homeless people in Japan. And Osaka has the largest homeless population in the country, in fact it even has its own neighborhood where the homeless live.

The invisible homeless in japan

Kamagasaki - Japan's largest slum

In the south of Osaka is the largest source of homeless and homeless people in Japan. The neighborhood is called Kamagasaki and it is believed that in this neighborhood there are wanderers and homeless people from all over the country.

The neighborhood is huge and is located close to famous places in Osaka. It is possible to find several homeless people scattered in buildings, mainly in humanitarian centers such as Airin Labor.

The invisible homeless in japan

Tents can be found in squares like Parque Sankaku or below the train line that runs around the neighborhood. There are several recycling centers and agencies offering jobs and nozzles in Kamagasaki.

The neighborhood has a poor environment, with old buildings, cheap houses and affordable accommodation that attract thousands of backpackers from the country and the world. The neighborhood is widely commented by the media.

The invisible homeless in japan

Various events and festivals are held in the neighborhood to help the homeless and homeless population. In addition to the summer festivals and shows, there is always food distribution and the famous soup.

How are the homeless in Japan?

Japan's homeless people are extremely polite and easygoing. They never ask for money, much less steal. This is ironic because the Japanese are likely to donate.

Japan's homeless people do everything they can to not disturb anyone or get in the way. They avoid staying in places of movement during the day. Many even work as day laborers during the day.

The invisible homeless in japan

During the night the city centers and parks are filled by some homeless people, but at dawn they carefully move to another location, in order not to disturb anyone.

Japanese homeless people are also known to care for animals abandoned in urban parks. Not all homeless people in Japan are in this situation for lack of alternatives or opportunities. 

Most of these homeless people are retired, abandoned, or simply decided to isolate themselves from society for some reason. Social and economic pressure ended up affecting some of these people.

The invisible homeless in japan

A good number of these homeless people are in this situation because they chose to live this way because they want to feel free and without the pressures imposed by society.

Unemployment is not a common cause, as in Japan it has more labor than employees. Still, some homeless people are lazy and do not want to work, or simply get trauma from work.

As many have chosen this life, we should not rule them out, nor should we blame the country for this small number of homeless people. In fact many are happy and have a better social life than many Japanese.

The invisible homeless in japan

We wrote this article dedicated to them, so that you all don’t forget that in Japan there are people with problems, and they face these problems and challenges in a positive way.

Are there beggars in Japan?

Beggars are different from homeless people, they beg for things on the street, in public places and sometimes they have a house and a family. In Brazil there are thousands of beggars, some richer than minimum wage workers.

It is believed that begging can be a disease, so there must surely be beggars in Japan. There are people who have no financial need but like to ask for things.

The invisible homeless in japan

On one occasion, I was in Tokyo and a young man stopped his bicycle and held out his hand to me, I just took out a 100 yen coin and put it in his hand. Without saying anything he just left.

I also met a woman in Ginza who was asking for money to help with the Hokkaido earthquake. I knew that that money would not go to help the earthquake in Hokkaido, it was obvious that it was a scam.

Still, I contributed and I became friends with you and she invited me to a restaurant with an amateur presentation of singers, where I had a lot of fun. It was interesting to befriend strangers in Japan.

The invisible homeless in japan

Still, it is not common for Japanese people to ask for money from others on the street, especially homeless and homeless people. Japanese people are proud and don’t like to bother or depend on other people.

An example of this is that not even the waiters and hotel employees have the habit of receive tips. Sometimes a foreigner even tries to offer tips, but the employees simply reject them.

What do you think of the homeless in Japan? Can anything more be done? I hope you enjoyed this article. If you liked it, share and leave your comments.

Share This Article: