Japan Today
picture of the day

It's home for some


A woman walks by a line of makeshift shelters where homeless people sleep, near a railway track in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

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Soon to be swept away under the rug.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sad indictment of the 3 rd richest country in the world.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )


Surely a problem not shared by the no.1 and no.2 economies.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Good shot by SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI . At least he has made an attempt to show the real state of affairs existing in Shibuya district . Expecting another fine shot will from him of a sparrow sucking nectar from Cherry Blossom flower at UENO Park in TOKYO in coming days.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

they really need to clean this area up. its a disgrace, forcefully remove the occupants then destroy the makeshift houses. it totally puts a downer on the scenery of the area.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

These are actually not so makeshift. They have been there for a long time, somtimes complete with little foyes, kitchens, laundries and gardens, and the residents have turned the area into a little neighbourhood. Some of them make a living patrolling the parking spaces, no idea how exactly the arrangment works, but they seem to be getting paid for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sad indictment of the 3 rd richest country in the world.

Kinda disagree. Japanese homeless are generally the tidiest, and the government entities which monitor them are generally understanding. Sadly, as Spanki said, under the rug they will be swept away as the Olympics come. I think that they should be allowed to stay as a very photogenic, realistic example of Japanese culture.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Where should the homeless people go?

Somewhere that people don't have to see them of course.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Yes, I think they may form a kind of community keeping a communal order in a way that is convenient for them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Indeed pacint. and when JT posts pictures of homeless in NY or Shanghai that will also be a sad indictment of those countries. and true, I would rather be homeless in Japan than in many other developed nations in "the West" or even as a squatter in any number of third world countries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sadly, many of them must simply be 'happy' and relieved winter is behind them. Hope they know some/many of us don't think they are society's 'parasites'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would rather be homeless in Japan than in many other developed nations in "the West"

I probably wouldn't. The homelessness issue is very different in both societies. The longterm homeless in the west are usually on the streets because mental illness or drug abuse mean that they cannot take advantage of the fairly generous social welfare programs which do exist to help them (at least in most countries). While in Japan, the homeless are on the streets simply because of poverty and the fact that there is little to no support from the government. They have lost contact with their families and have no children. They have fallen off the Japanese social ladder with little chance of ever getting back on.

Just try talking to homeless people in Japan and you'll see that they are largely normal. I once had a conversation with them about the economics of aluminium can collecting and they were perfectly sane and still had a sense of humour. In the west, a rational conversation like this with a homeless person is much more difficult because the only people left on the streets are struggling with issues other than just poverty. The two types of homelessness are very different.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

With all the money "they" give/spend abroad, you'd , think homeless and mental facilities availability in jp would never be an issue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

M3 - maybe you should read my comment again. you seem to be agreeing with me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


Ah, I see what you mean now, sorry. I thought you meant that you would prefer Japan because the support would be better. If I were to randomly take the place of a homeless person (including their mental state), I would also prefer Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But these houses only cost ¥24,000,000.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland and Gaijin playa

You both could use a little more empathy. I too enjoy scenery, but I don't wish more misfortune upon someone who is already beat down and outcast. How cruel do you have to be wanna have someone who sleeps on the street have his shack destroyed for your viewing pleasure? Why don't you look somewhere else or keep ur eyes on your Telly?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You both could use a little more empathy.

Sorry, my comment was a little too dry. I was being cynical/sarcastic with my response. I wasn't serious with it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Unless they have some sort of internet they probably don't spent much time on JT

When I say "we/us" I mean 'humans/ppl", not "we JT readers", zichi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it exasperating that a few posters here have actually suggested rounding these poor souls up and depositing them "where people don't have to see them".

Sad, sad statements.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

These guys were all kicked out of the "Nike" park in shibuya

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find it exasperating that a few posters here have actually suggested rounding these poor souls up and depositing them "where people don't have to see them".

For once, I actually agree with you.

You win, winner!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As soon as the Olympics are in sight (about June, July 2020) these houses will be torn down and the inhabitants shipped or forced out of sight; perhaps violently. Just as GaijinPlaya prays.

About two weeks after the Olympics are over, the police will turn yet another blind eye to these people and they will drift back in. And everything will be back to 'normal'. Just as GaijinPlaya fears.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Somewhere that people don't have to see them of course.

Folks, come on clearly SLand is being sarcastic, wake up will ya!

I have a rather different take on many homeless in Japan & in some ways I ENVY them, many homeless have WAY MORE FREEDOM in Japan that the other 99.99% can only DREAM about & that's TIME they have time to do what THEY want!

Sure they don't have the finances to do lots but they have TIME to sit back & .......do whatever the hell they want!!

That said there are many who live this way due not only to poverty, but a lot due to broken families, mental issues(hell there are millions with mental issues that have more solid roofs overhead here!)

While they don't have much I would say a fair number seem rather comfortable with their lot, likely a much higher percentage than those of us who a ""better off""

Just sayin!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I find it amazing that so many people think that being homeless is the government's fault. If the government did something better, there wouldn't be homeless people. In many (not all) cases, it's simply the homeless person's own fault. Alcohol, drugs, etc. that caused them to become homeless. I have worked with the homeless in Japan for many years, and most of the ones I've worked with know it's their own doing. And most were at one time intelligent people who have burned out their brains with alcohol/drugs of various kinds, and now have mental issues and cannot do regular work. I also know some who became homeless due simply to financial problems, business going bankrupt, etc. Truly just caught in bad circumstances. I respect and care for homeless people so much, I've volunteered about 15 years to working to help them. One thing they need is our respect.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Strange thing about the homeless in Japan; I've never seen them begging for money on the streets... don't know if it's the law, or if it's just pride...

0 ( +0 / -0 )


It's rare to be asked for money in Japan, but not unheard of. I can think of three times over the years that I've been asked.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sad indictment of the 3 rd richest country in the world...

Compare to the world richest country, they look "luxury".

This is what I see all the time here in NYC:


1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have never seen homeless beggars here. The occasional sleeping homeless in a park or under railway tracks, yes.

Yes, many are homeless by choice and refuse social welfare

A song that fits this topic: https://youtu.be/Qt2mbGP6vFI

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back to the photo, does anyone know where it is?

I thought it might be by Miyashita Koen. I used to eat lunch there occasionally back in 1980. Not the prettiest park, but a welcome escape from the surrounding hurly burly. And not the worst place to set up camp.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey strangerland, no probs man, we ALL say nonsense sometimes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, I agree. Sometimes even the most disgusting of statements need to be given a free pass. We don't know what problems certain posters were dealing with at the time.

Well said, thepersoniamnow

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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