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Antonio Inoki feeds 1,000 homeless in Shinjuku park


Former pro wrestler-turned Diet member Antonio Inoki opened a temporary soup kitchen and fed 1,000 homeless and unemployed people in Shinjuku Chuo Park in Tokyo on Saturday.

It is the 13th time this year that Inoki, well-known for supporting humanitarian causes, has opened a soup kitchen for the homeless, TBS reported.

Volunteers joined Inoki to hand out ramen, bread and other food items.

Inoki said his key word for 2014 will be "challenge." He said rising to a challenge is "something we should all aspire to, whether it be on a government or personal level."

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Good on him and all the volunteers. Hopefully, having a popular public figure will increase awareness of homelessness and poverty. Too many people just write them off without a second thought or any interest in the issue. Let's hope this isn't just action for the end of the year.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Good move. Almost like in the so-called "Christmas Spirit" , with a little extra caring about each other. This time the "Shogatsu Spirit". I have worked with homeless people back home and know that, though many people have themselves to blame, there are a lot of unfortunate ones among homeless. Japan as a society would do well to take better care of its citizens, all of them, not just the well-to-do.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

It is so good to see there are people who care about their fellow man.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I took pity on a homeless guy I always saw sleeping in the park and asked him if he was hungry? He said he was so I told him to wait and I went back to my place and told my wife I wanted to bring the guy home for dinner. She freaked and said no possisible way but suggested I take him to a family restaurant which I did with my mother in law in tow. We asked how he came to be sleeping in the park and he said he had lost his job in Osaka and came to Tokyo looking for work and someone had ripped off his pack sack when he was sleeping somewhere and had lost not only all his money but his glasses and false front teeth as well. After dinner Baachan said to me, " there's millions like him don't worry about him". The guy was about 50 and he said to me that he really wanted to work but was at rock bottoms so I introduced him the next day to the owner of a cafe restaurant in Ginza whom I am friends with. For only that reason my friend reluctantly gave him a job washing dishes and later found him a one room apartment for which he even acted as gauranture. The man worked about six months and one day he took me and the shachou out out for lunch at Denny's. Life was turning around for him, he even had new teeth and glasses care of some welfare program he was introduced to. This story almost had a happy ending, but one day I met the shachou and asked him about our friend. He said, "You are not going to believe this but that idiot fell in love with a twenty something super market cashier who happened to speak nicely to him. He kept going to the supermarket and tried to talk to her every day. She finally complained and he was warned by the police to back off. He then started drinking and apparently blew his million yen plus in savings on pachinko and didn't show up for work for two days. I fired him. You can't help these guys even if you try."

4 ( +10 / -6 )

So what's the situation with the demand and supply for Toei housing?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good for Inoki.

Toei housing is difficult to get in and might be far away, Tokyo has little available housing for singles.

Reading the story about the homeless signifies one point, once he was setup in a job and apartment he was left without friends and support group and thus slid down again.

Kinda feeding the hungry for one meal vs teaching them to fish to feed themselves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good for him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Iwandabaka - great story, and it doesn't really matter if he finally blew all his money. The main thing is he was shown respect and given a bit of dignity. He knows there is a way back. Time will tell if he takes that path. Kudos to you and your family and friends.

Just as money often seems to go to money, life's blows often seem to go to those who are already suffering the most - of course, the reality is it's because they have become vulnerable in some way. When people hit rock bottom it can be hard for others to understand just how much mental fortitude is required to overcome the loss of confidence and self-esteem. We can all help lessen the blows of those less fortunate by buying The Big Issue and donating to charities. It doesn't have to be a lot. Lots of people doing small things adds up to a big difference.

Here's what an innovative artist did in New York City to (1) create art (2) raise awareness of homelessness (3) directly help the homeless.


9 ( +10 / -1 )

What is this obsession with tackling problems as far downstream as humanly possible?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Iwandabaka. Nice act of compassion! You tried.

One has to live there dharma and karma so thats why that man you helped when back to the way he was. To experience karma.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Hats off to Mr. Inoki! @Iwandabaka, surely there are varied reasons why people become homeless and for sure not taking advantage of other peoples' graciousness tops.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I don't like the word temporary. Now that the media has gone so has the support.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


.Are there 1000 homeless people in Shinjuku? Anyone? Please let me know. . I did not realize how bad Japan is doing. If this is true, the central government and Tokyo have to work together for the solutions immediately.

-5 ( +2 / -6 )

I just went to Mr.Antoni Inoki's Sports bar last night for a bounenkai for my company, had a great time! Now, I know why know why he was not at this party, may god, the Buddha etc...bless him! Genki desu ka!!!?? Those are his famous lines before he gets to slap his fans across the face and they all love it! I am happy he is trying to help some of the homeless there in Shinjuku, and 1,000 is nothing, there must be so many, but here in Japan it is considered HAJI, 恥, most Japanese are very, very hard workers, so they have little patience for other Japanese who do not work, become homeless etc...and we may never know why these Japanese have become homeless and have fallen through the safety network of Japan Inc. but they have.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Far too many Japanese are cold, nice to hear Inoki-san doing some nice things, Japanese need to warm up to people less fortunate, kudos to the few who do!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A certain number of homeless are homeless by choice. Others would do anything to have a job to pay for their own roof over their heads and food but cannot find one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hello, folks. Thumb downs but no feedbacks for my post listed above.. My question is very genuine in sense so that I can measure the gap between the rich and poor and the poverty level in Japan. Thanks.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

zichiDec. 29, 2013 - 08:57PM JST

Thanks. 30,000 too many.

The central gov't have never considered it their problem to resolve these kind of social problems.

I guess J. govt may not have a CORE understanding of social injustice. It has something to do with a difference in culture. I found myself very frustrating when drilling the principal of "nobody left behind" or "Right in pursuit of happiness" to J. gov. officials. They have nothing to with it and they want to talk about business. It makes me very angry when I see these people left behind. They may need a good mental counseling along with basic needs. Japan needs to change.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Enough of the gesture politics.

Japan's poverty is hidden away, lest society lose face; the men in Shinjuku the iceberg's tip.

Underemployed parasite singles living off their parents' savings (and preyed on as freeters).

Young people living out of coin lockers and sleeping in internet cafés (ditto).

And the new trend of singles in sardine can share houses (ditto?)

Where will all these people be in ten years?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

globalwatcher asked "Are there 1000 homeless people in Shinjuku?" The report said "Inoki ..... fed 1,000 homeless and unemployed people in Shinjuku Chuo Park"

I used to live next to that park and I think it's quite likely that there are actually 1,000 people living there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Antonio Inoki this guy is single handedly saving the world. Solving the North Korea crisis one week, feeding the homeless of Japan the next. INOKI BOM~BA~YE

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Last time I checked, which was sometime last year (2012) there are an estimated 30,000 homeless people mostly males

Some already know what I am going to say in economic sense. Japan's one significant problem, that is different from other countries, is that a Japanese demography is changing. It is very critical for Japanese government to put these unproductive people back on jobs if Japan wants to remain as the 3rd largest economy in the world. I do not have a right recipe for Japanese homeless, but you probably know better what to do with them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is one of the only guys in the government I respect. Good for him. Wish there was a way to donate money to help him feed more in the future. The lack of help and support for the homeless here is sad. I always buy a "Big Issue" from vendors when I see them. Not much I know but better than nothing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Inoki! Inoki! Inoki!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If this is not that important to the Japanese, is it okay for me to interpret that the Japanese are basically not compassionate and loving people? Hope people understand a spirit of "Giving is Receiving". What else is more important if humanity is not that important, falks? Disappointed.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

globalwatcher - you'll have to do more research than ask questions on JT if you are really interested in the causes of and problems associated with homelessness. It's a complex issue.

It is very critical for Japanese government to put these unproductive people back on jobs if Japan wants to remain as the 3rd largest economy in the world.

And seeing the homeless in such simplistic terms as "unproductive people" is very much part of the problem.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Publicity stunt? Yeah he is doing a good job and raising awareness to the situation... but once isn't enough. I hope he regularly volunteers and campaigns to get others involved in supporting the homeless. Fukushima has still left thousands homeless too. I hope more public figures make that situation more aware too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is not the only country that is suffering from people without a place of their own, it is a World Wide Thing (WWT) that seems only to be getting worse. With the invention of the Global Economy has come global poverty that has never been seen before. With the Global Enterprises searching for the cheapest labor available and to by-pass environmental laws in the major industrial countries, not only do we get global poverty on a grand scale; we, also, get global pollution on a global scale as well. The homeless in Tokyo should feel comfort that they are part of a world wide population of the disenfranchised. In New York they hand out coats instead of homes to the homeless, for a coat is a good substitute for a home in times when it is below zero.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

hatsoffDec. 30, 2013 - 12:25AM JST

globalwatcher - you'll have to do more research than ask questions on JT if you are really interested in the causes of and problems associated with homelessness. It's a complex issue.

It is very critical for Japanese government to put these unproductive people back on jobs if Japan wants to remain as the 3rd largest economy in the world.

And seeing the homeless in such simplistic terms as "unproductive people" is very much part of the problem.

Do they work then? The way you have left the post like this confused me even more. I believe 1000 homeless just in Chuo Park alone is telling me something significant you guys do not want me to know. Classic Japanese response. Sad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's wonderful to wake up and read this kind of news. Selfless people giving their time and energy to help others.

Also please check out MMA fighter Enson Inoue who's running his personal missions up North to Tohoku to provide support for the people living in shelters due to the 2011 tsunami. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enson-Inoue/178254262213276

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Definitely more should be done to help the homeless. But at the same time: 30,000 homeless in Japan; 633,782 in the US. It seems Japan is doing a far better job of keeping people housed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I have to say that that is much better idea than feeding the fat little dictator in North Korean, which was Antonios last project.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In America, feeding homeless is illegal - no joke. I am impressed that this Japanese representative took the time to help those less fortunate than himself. Bravo!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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