Tokyo’s down, out and disenfranchised

Japan’s political machinery may well be winding up to a deafening crescendo ahead of the coming election, but for some, the soundbites and empty promises mean even less than they do to the voting public.

Japanese homeless


  1. says

    That’s kind of an impressive set-up he’s got there. I hope he finds something to cover his feet before it gets too cold….

  2. says

    It will get worse, unfortunately. No idea of this is the general opinion in Japan, but the Japanese friends with which I talked about the homeless seemed to hold the homeless people responsible for their situation in some vague way. Very little compassion, I found. The job-for-life was blown out of the water when the bubble ended so many years ago but I learned that people still think loosing a job is your own fault….

    • says

      Yes, on the whole that’s pretty much the reaction I’ve always got. And sadly that, along with the stagnating economy, will only make matters worse…

  3. 2 cents says

    This image, though beautifully captured is heartbreaking.
    Quoting Hans, ‘…hold the homeless people responsible for their situation in some vague way’

    I’ve always wondered why they have tackled this issue of homelessness in such a way…
    It does make them come across as quite heartless-
    Are there institutions or missions in Japan trying to help these people?

    • says

      I know, but on the whole it really does seem that way. A terribly sad situation.

      There are exceptions though. I’ve seen food stations set up now and again, plus in Sanya, Tokyo’s poorest area (there are photos and an eplantation here), there’s a charity organisation that helps the homeless with accommodation and healthcare.

      • 2 cents says

        Thanks for the link Lee, looked through those lovely images also!- though once again heartbreaking.

        It’s good to know that food stations are set up and there are organisations.
        But as discussed, it really feels like the attitude many feel towards these people needs a radical change.

        Any middle class salary man could have made the wrong decision like these people and end up on this path.
        The fact that so many citizens disconnect with them and grow heartless really hurts.
        For a nation that stood together post-war and rebuilt; sad to see them leave some behind…

        • says

          Yes, I totally agree. More of those salary men are slipping through the gaps too. Even without a proper study, it’s very clear that the numbers are rising, but it still remains an issues to be ignored, rather than tackled…

          • 2 cents says

            That’s even more dissapointing~
            I guess some of that ‘shouganai’ attitude comes into play with this…

            Just out of curiousity, do you also see a female demographic or is it mainly homeless men?

            • says

              Yes. To be honest, I detest the word, shouganai, as it’s invariable just an excuse to do nothing. Like the current political situation for example. And of course the growing homeless problem.

              No, not many women at all. I’ve probably only seen a handful in all the time I’ve been here.

              • 2 cents says

                I completely agree. When I think of shouganai, I feel like the literal meaning ‘It can’t be helped’ is interchangeable with ‘ I can’t be bothered/F****d'(Excuse the language).

                With the political situation as it is, growing homeless problem, decline in birth rate and aging population; where do you see Japan going at the moment?
                And for your own life, is it affecting you in any way?

                Have a good night :)

                • says

                  That’s a very big question. And one I don’t really have time to answer fully right now. But in the short time, I see Japan managing just fine – stumbling along like it has done for years. That can’t last forever though, and sooner rather than later it’s surely all going to catch up, resulting in a decline in Japan’s world standing, and a similar decline in the lives of many of its citizens.

                  For me personally, I’ve continued to do ok. Hopefully it’ll stay that way. But only time will tell.

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