Video: Why homelessness in Japan is different than in North America


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/08/28/video-why-homelessness-in-jap.html


#2

Do the Japanese police chase them away, abuse them, steal their belongings, or arrest them for “vagrancy”?


#3

From what I’ve seen, not so much. But at least in Nagoya where I’ve spent the most time, they tend to gather them together where there’s a bit of shelter (like outside a train station), and the police stand watch all night to make sure they stay put.


#4

So this is the opposite of freedom?


#5

Really interesting video, would love to see more of this series.


#6

Those monsters! They’re stealing japanese homeless people’s freedom to starve and go without medical aid!


#7

Those bastards. How dare they. /s

Speaking honestly, i imagine that being homeless in Japan must still be difficult. The pressures they deal with on a daily basis are just going to be different than what the homeless here have to experience. It does seem to be more humane in some aspects than what i see here in the US though.


#8

On that topic: what’s their mail situation like, does anyone know? One of the big barriers to being homeless in the US is that everything requires a permanent mailing address and oftentimes proof of residence, like a bill addressed to the, well, address that you purport to live at.


#9

They take their shoes off before they enter their hovel, I like that.


#10

This is always the first image I think of when the subject of homelessness in Japan comes up. I shot it in a park near Osaka Castle.


#11

Helsinki-based photographer Nurri Kim recently released the first Do Projects book Tokyo Blues in collaboration with former Tokyo-resident Adam Greenfield.

The publication, which can be downloaded for free, contains an interesting photo series focusing on just one peculiar thing you find everywhere in the Japanese capital: the common blue PVC plastic construction tarp. “I doubt you could spend half a day in any of the wards of central Tokyo without tripping over a dozen of them”, Greenfield explains. The ‘ubiquitous tarp’ has many roles, which are profoundly investigated by Kim.


#12

My first homeless encounter in Japan, Nihonbashi, 2007:

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I didn’t know what to make of the scene at first. Was it a pile of cardboard for recycling? What was it doing in the middle of a bridge?

I encountered more, here and there, and eventually figured it out. Yokohama:

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Osaka:

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I didn’t see so many in 2010, and those I did seemed to have changed style. Tokyo, 2010:

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#13

That’s a big problem in Japan too. I have heard stories of some homeless people using the address of an internet cafe where they are semi-resident in order to be able to fill in various official forms.

(Free drinks, showers, internet access for less than the price of a capsule hotel)


#14

It’s difficult to follow this video when other video ads are playing simultaneously. The alternative is that I go to YouTube watch video there and don’t see your ads at all.


#15

You seem to need a good ad blocker.


#16

That’s one of the times I find “homeless” to be an inaccurate description. That guy has a home. It’s not a house, so much, and it’s not socially/legally approved, but it’s a home.

About 15 years ago or so, when I lived in Ventura, CA, there was a floodwatch out and they were trying to evacuate the homeless population from the Ventura River (because in California, you can live in a riverbed for years with no issues.) Some of these people had built houses out of scrap wood and sheet metal over a few years. They had homes, and they had to leave them.


#17

Dude, right? I have seen these folks in San Jose (or nearby) along the Gaudalupe River. They had nice tents, and appeared well dressed, and going nowhere soon. Could not believe it. I bet they were coders, too. What a life! Super jealous.


#18

It’s true. All of the blue tarp structures in this area were well kept, and seemed nicely put together. One of them even had a high walled courtyard attached to the living space. It looked like a big blue cube until I passed by and saw through the entry. Probably not a life anyone chose for themselves, but they seemed to be handling their situation with a great deal of dignity.


#19

There’s a really good anime movie about Tokyo street people, "Tokyo Godfathers:"


Time for a re-watch.


#20

OT: On the rare occasions I browse without an ad-blocker, the web seems completely unusable these days. Which makes me wonder if today’s web designers assume we’re all using one. Which is odd, if you stop and think about it.