lifestyle

Japan's biggest slum not on maps or in film festival

29 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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29 Comments
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If you ignore your poor, or pretend they don't exist, hopefully they'll go away.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

On one hand I can understand that these are very poor, very vulnerable people who need protection from exploitation, and to that degree I can understand that the film might be viewed as exploitative, just like doing a film on trailer park people in the U.S. could be viewed as exploitative and distasteful.

On the other hand I can't help but feel that protection isn't Osaka government's motive here, and that doing things like excluding it from the official city maps are part of a larger pattern of denial and concealment. I also find the commercial aspect, that these people are effectively "fed" to the manufacturing sector to ensure the manufacturing sector maintains record profits year-on-year, with the collusion of the Osaka city government, to be deeply disturbing.

At the end of the day though the grant didn't allow the Osaka government editing privileges, and the film maker should run the piece as he intends, anything else would be censorship, which the Japanese constitution expressly prohibits. If the Osaka government attempts to interfere then the responsible parties should be arrested.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Typical. Coverup anything in Japan that is "shameful." The Osaka officials don't care about the slum residents' feelings. They are only worried about Osaka's commercial image.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I used to live in Osaka, where is Kamagasaki?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Shame on the government, but then that is norm from what I have seen in Japan. Never show the bad side, yet they will flock to a movie that shows the gritty side of a place like NYC or some other urban or poor area in another country. Time for some in this country to wake up and face facts and not just bury their heads in the sand but try to do something to solve them.

He gambled away his monthly welfare money of 70,000 yen. “Now I’m doomed.”

On the other hand, not trying to kick someone when they are down, but a lot of this guys problems stem from his own actions. I understand that he may have lost a lot from the earthquake, but still he is the cause of his being without money, gambling it all away. I am sure he goes through a monthly cycle of getting welfare, and blowing it all on gambling. As I said earlier, Japan needs to not be ashmed to put this types of issues in the public light, and not just "wish" that they would go away or don't exist.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I used to live in Osaka, where is Kamagasaki?

Part of Nishinari-Ku South Osaka

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Every big city has something like that. What are those 'official maps'? Maps for tourists? Kamagasaki is a 'zone' - that's what they call it Osaka and it's area split between few other 'official' names which you can see on the maps.

That's how they call it - no wonder it's name isn't on maps...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There's no Sanya on maps in Tokyo either. Of course, that section of Taito-ku has become increasingly gentrified of late.

If the AP's Mari Yamaguchi actually went into Kamagasaki to do her story, I'm impressed by her fortitude. I was taken through in the daytime, in a car in being driven by a former sumo wrestler who grew up near there, and he was afraid to get out. Too many lumpenproletariat high on amphetamines or rotgut shochu. It's a violent, miserable place and seeing it once was enough for me.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

taito - thank you! I dont know why anyone would bad arrow me for asking that .... its just a question, and it was not mentioned in the article...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I've been to this neighborhood many times, and have come to like it..

3 ( +4 / -1 )

taito - thank you! I dont know why anyone would bad arrow me for asking that .... its just a question, and it was not mentioned in the article...

Read my post again. It was about Tokyo's own slum, Sanya. There is no Taito-ku in Osaka.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In Yokohama there is Kotobukuchi. I have seen rubbish being burnt there in the streets in winter so that people could keep warm. It is the other side of the tracks from Chinatown, about 5 mins walk. I haven't been there for some years. I believe it has changed a bit as has Sanya. They are trying to build cheap guesthouses for backpackers in these areas.

I believe such areas are also a source of workers for Fukushima.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Is this the area around Osaka Tower? Cause that is really the projects.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@peter, hah yeah the area around the tsutenkaku is depressing as hell. I find anything in south Osaka depressing, from south namba, tenjin etc area near tsuruhama. Glad I live more up north.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to Wikipedia, the official name of was changed from Kamagasaki (釜ヶ崎) to Airin Chiku (あいりん地区) in 1966. I imagine many locals still refer to it by the old name.

For an idea of what the place looks like, here are the results of a Google image search on Kamagasaki: http://goo.gl/jnDEQ4

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The slum in Osaka (and in Tokyo) are the most famous (infamous??) here in Japan. Not that you get taught about that in school or something. You just get to know it a little if you watch some documentaries in late night TVs (yes there are a lot of them) and also you learn it from your job (yes it depends a LOT of what job you are though).

Of course there are a whole lot of people that simply does not know the existence of slums in Japan.

But then again, people tend to go "blind" towards this kind of situation. Probably many won't even know that in most of the big cities around the world there are slums too... may be not the Kibera (Kenya) or Favela (Brasil) kind of slums but, there are slums in Panama, Mexico, NYC, London, Seoul.... It is a problem that rouse up with this high competitive-rapid life, we-wanted-yesterday... kind of society we live in today.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He dismisses a common view that the area is dangerous and to be avoided. “Even though people in this area are quite unique, we are all harmless, friendly people.”

I agree people here have the notion that poor equals dangerous and not to go there. I come from L.A., I am pretty sure people living there don't often hear drive-by shootings, helicopters circling, high speed chases and gunpoint robberies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A middle-aged housewife student of mine once returned from a trip to Los Angeles and breathlessly explained to the class how she had seen homeless people. It took all of my willpower to stop myself from exclaiming that, if she wanted to see homeless people, she could walk 500 meters to the nearby river and look under the bridge. (I jog there, so I know; nice guys - they often offer me alcohol, which I refuse 'cause I'm jogging.)

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Interesting fact - half of all crime in Osaka is from Kamagasaki alone. Most of the time, the Yakuza pay homeless people to commit the crimes. Unbelievable.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A large majority of homeless people are not on the streets because they want to be. Many of the homeless are well-educated, hard-working; people who have fallen on hard times. Most would be more than willing to work for change just to be able to afford a meal.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I was taken through in the daytime, in a car in being driven by a former sumo wrestler who grew up near there, and he was afraid to get out. Too many lumpenproletariat high on amphetamines or rotgut shochu. It's a violent, miserable place and seeing it once was enough for me.

I really do not buy this. From the photographs it looks perfectly normal, tidy and clean. The shops and vending machines appear to be in working order. Not like a desolate slum in L.A. or Rio de Janiro, where you might be lucky to get out alive.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I used to live in Osaka, where is Kamagasaki?

Near Shinimamiya. You know when you want to go to Tsutenkaku or Spaworld? Instead of going left out of JR, go right.

If anyone is wondering where the Fukusima workers were hired and taken from...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

been there a couple of times,and kind of liked the people there,compared to the "ordinary" japanese outside.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GalapagosnoGairaishuMAR. 24, 2014 - 10:11AM JST taito - thank you! I dont know why anyone would bad arrow me for asking that .... its just a question, and it was not mentioned in the article... Read my post again. It was about Tokyo's own slum, Sanya. There is no Taito-ku in Osaka.

Galapagos - read the thread again before jumping on someone for such an simple statement. This was thanking a poster name 'taito' for information about Kamagasaki....

As for the movie, looks interesting. I hope the non edited version becomes available.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

LagunaMAR. 24, 2014 - 01:19PM JST A middle-aged housewife student of mine once returned from a trip to Los Angeles and breathlessly explained to the class how she had seen homeless people. It took all of my willpower to stop myself from exclaiming that, if she wanted to see homeless people, she could walk 500 meters to the nearby river and look under the bridge.

Why didn't you say something? Your student's ignorance to the growing underclass in Japan is no stupider than the insistence that Japan is "unique" because it has four seasons or the denial of the possibility that Japan's first "royal" family may have actually been Korean.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have to say, that , walking around Kamagasaki (which is located around Shinimamiya Station, Nishinari Ward, Osaka- 大阪市西成区新今宮駅) I feel way, waaaay safer than walking on any street in my home country. There's actually nothing menacing there, it's a pretty interesting place, where you can see a Japan that is not in guidebooks, etcs, absolutely interesting, warm people, cheap, delicious food. Shin-imamiya rules!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And I thought Tennoji was in rough shape all those years. Sadly, this area is far worse and so sad this day and age...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

by the way the place is just a few minutes from Tsutenkaku (the symbol of Osaka) and the tallest building in Japan (Abeno Harukasu), and the only place where you can get a hotel for as cheap as 500 yen! No joking: http://www11.ocn.ne.jp/~otomari/list2.html

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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