Saturday, February 11, 2017

Homeless In Japan

In the United States, it was not uncommon to see homeless people in cities and sometimes less populated areas.  I hadn't really been aware of homeless in Japan. (Probably because I lived in Hokkaido for four years).  I was very surprised when I was out walking along a waterway the other day, taking pictures of the tiled artistry along the way, when I saw someone sleeping under a bridge.  It is fairly warm in winter and pretty nice year-round, so I guess this is a good place to be if you have to live outdoors.  

I looked online for information about homeless people in Japan. I think Japan doesn't want to admit there is a problem because it isn't "pretty", but after the economy going down in the 1990's, many people became unemployed and homeless.  

About eight years ago the publically funded  Osaka Zoo, bought six koalas from Australia.  These animals cost 120 million yen a year to feed.  Osaka has the highest population of homeless in Japan, so  understandably, this decision angered many people.  

I couldn't find a recent statistic for the number of homeless in Japan, but the 2006 International Network of Street Papers, reports there are 25,000 homeless.  I suspect the number is higher now,  more than ten years and several major earthquakes later.  There is also said to be three million "internet cafe refugees" moving from cafe to cafe.  I'm wondering what effect the 2020 Tokyo Olympics  will have.


  1. I remember seeing homeless shelters in Tokyo when I was there in about 2007. There was a very tidy group of small shacks built up around a sporting arena in Aoyama (which is now a construction site for an Olympic venue, I believe).

  2. Hi Pamela,sad to know that there are homeless people throughout the world,love your pics.

  3. Love the fishy tiles. I guess achievement and doing very well are the things to be doing in Japan, homelessness would be seen as a bad thing and so kept quiet.

  4. The homeless situation is pretty bad in the USA. Helping where we can seems to be an unspoken personal project that my family has taken. Commonly we help those in South Bend, Elkart IN, and Chicago. There is a large homeless population living under the bridge on Wacker Drive in Chicago Il. I wish I knew a solution.
    xx, CArol