'Homeless in Japan'
by KM LO

NARRATION

00:00:24:01 Japan, the second largest economy in the world.
00:00:26:23 The wealthiest country in Asia.
00:00:29:18 Falling into decades of recession.
00:00:32:14 Many companies are forced to restructure
00:00:35:11 and the first action is to lay off some staff.
00:00:38:13 Expected to be employed for life
00:00:41:20 by the very same company that now lets them go...
00:00:45:24 they are usually male, over forty, and single.
00:00:52:13 As they slowly realise the situation is becoming permanent,
00:00:56:02 unemployed and without anywhere to stay, but the park.
00:01:00:02 They gradually form a community, never accepted by society.
00:01:05:01 They call themselves "Homeless".

00:01:10:00 Although I’m Chinese, I look Japanese
00:01:13:02 Both nations grow up learning to be good workers - to build a great Asian economy.
00:01:17:24 In Japan, "lifetime employment" is a safety net.
00:01:21:03 binding both employers and workers to a common goal.
00:01:24:04 But after thirty years of strong growth, this bubble economy collapses in the early 90s.
00:01:29:09 The Japanese Government chooses to save the bankrupted banks.
00:01:32:23 Investment in infrastructure simply builds up more public debt.
00:01:36:12 The economy falls into a tunnel with no exit.
00:01:40:02 More and more firms are declared bankrupt.
00:01:43:01 And all of their workers - made homeless.
00:01:45:00 It brings the end of "lifetime employment".

00:01:49:04 I travel to Japan with very little money,
00:01:51:24 without knowing how to speak Japanese,
00:01:55:00 To live amongst the country’s homeless community.
00:02:02:02 Shinjuku is the only place I know how to get to from the airport.
00:02:06:12 It's not so difficult to find the homeless,
00:02:10:01 because they all dress more or less like me,
00:02:12:08 with a trolley and some bags.
00:02:15:02 The only difference is, I don't speak Japanese.
00:02:18:04 I follow one of them across the busy streets,
00:02:20:18 to the downtown Shinjuku business district.
00:02:25:02 Here, about three hundred homeless people queue for a box of food.
00:02:32:21 They gave their lives to build this great city.
00:02:38:18 Now they shelter in its parks and towering doorways,
00:02:42:02 waiting for a twice-weekly meal from a charity group.
00:02:46:02 Before the mid ninetees, food-lines like this were unheard of.
00:02:54:01 Now, it is estimated that there are at least 30,000 homeless people in Japan.
00:03:02:00 Despite this, homelessness is still one of the greatest taboos.
00:03:06:19 The aid workers give me food, but refuse to answer my questions.
00:03:11:06 Sitting at the bench of Ueno Park the next day,
00:03:14:03 I wonder whether I will be able to continue this documentary.
00:03:16:16 But that evening a homeless man approaches me.

SPEAKERS

00:03:19:18 Mister, may I ask you? -Kawaguchi.
00:03:24:14 How long have you lived in this park?
00:03:27:18 About half year.
00:03:29:14 Before? I worked for the Japan Foundation.
00:03:32:01 It's a special organisation under the Foreign Ministry of Japan,
00:03:36:10 International cultural exchange.
00:03:40:04 so... generation changes, but when I was working,
00:03:47:00 almost all of the librarians all over the world knew my name.
00:03:53:04 What makes you change so drastically?
00:03:58:01 Because I miscalculated. Miscalculated.
00:04:05:08 I am a shareholder of JAL and ANA.
00:04:12:02 A stock holder.
00:04:13:06 So, I am not the poor - just moneyless.
00:04:18:03 In terms of assets, you have a lot stocks?
00:04:21:04 ah.. about.. it was.. one, twenty.. million yen.
00:04:30:01 But you don't want to sell your stocks?
00:04:32:03 .. but sorry, by mistake I (put into) some 100 books among them..
00:04:43:02 that the.. stored in yokohama.
00:04:48:15 So I should go to Yokohama to get them, but it’s so far away
00:04:54:12 But you never ask people to give you money?
00:04:57:01 No.
00:04:58:05 You never beg for food or anything?
00:05:00:09 No, I'm not a begger, you know.

NARRATION

00:05:10:18 At the crack of dawn I'm awoken by the sounds of activity.
00:05:15:08 The homeless have to clear everything away before the shops open.
00:05:40:02 I meet Mr. Kawaguchi again and arrange to go to Yokohama with him,
00:05:45:10 but he changes his mind, says he needs to go to Chiba.
00:05:50:15 I find out that he actually stays in a shelter in Chiba.

SPEAKERS

00:05:55:22 Why don't you stay in Chiba all the time instead of staying in Ueno?
00:06:02:04 Hehe, it's a very difficult question.
00:06:05:18 If you're always in a remote place, you want to return to the city, don't you?
00:06:13:24 Yeah, so Chiba is far away from here? -Chiba? about 30KM.
00:06:20:13 But you don't like to stay there? -Not so long..
00:06:24:20 because I should do other things. I'm going to write a book..
00:06:31:16 .. or see my friend... or so and so. -I see.
00:06:35:23 In a sense, I'm not a true homeless. In a sense.
00:06:45:22 I'm the governor of this country!

NARRATION

00:06:52:22 Governor Kawaguchi keeps changing his mind.
00:06:55:24 I didn't know if everything he had told me was true,
00:07:00:03 But I understood his deep sense of shame for being homeless,
00:07:03:23 in a world that revolves around the salary man.

00:07:08:04 I come across a free lunch organised by the church.
00:07:20:00 There's only two hundred lunches on offer.
00:07:22:22 But there's thousands of homeless with stories like Mr Kawaguchi's.

SPEAKERS

00:07:28:02 In the beginning, I thought homeless were different from others.
00:07:36:06 Now I know them better, Each one has their own story.
00:07:42:08 Lost their job, from broken families, being bankrupted.
00:07:53:14 Homeless are just like friends, pitiful fellows.
00:08:01:21 If one day I have nothing, I might be homeless too.
00:08:08:03 What were you doing before?
00:08:10:22 Before, my job.. advertising company owner,
00:08:19:16 Why can't you continue your business?
00:08:22:03 four Years ago, broke. - Broke, Bankrupted?
00:08:25:05 Yes.
00:08:27:12 Where do you stay now?
00:08:29:01 Stay now.. Shinjuku, Shinjuku Park.
00:08:33:03 How many years you stay in the park? - four years.
00:08:37:14 Did you have a wife before?
00:08:39:09 Wife? four years ago separated, Filipino.
00:08:46:00 Do you have any kids, children? -No.
00:08:50:02 So you have no brothers and sisters to help you?
00:08:53:09 I have two brothers.
00:08:57:21 They don't want to help you?
00:08:58:20 -no contact.
00:09:00:04 No one wants to hire you for job? -Job? no job.
00:09:06:21 1 month, two times, I work.
00:09:10:23 How much money did you make? -1day, ten thousandYen.
00:09:16:24 Do you have any drinking problems? -No drinks
00:09:20:06 Smoking? -A little.
00:09:24:00 What is your dream?
00:09:27:20 To come back to my position,
00:09:34:06 Advertising company owner? -Yes.

NARRATION

00:09:40:08 Another free lunch day - I expect to meet my mentor again.
00:09:44:15 But Mr. Kawaguchi doesn't show up.
00:09:47:22 I have to leave too - no more money in my pocket.
00:09:55:04 But after eighteen months, I save money and return.
00:10:01:00 Same park - but no Mr. Kawaguchi in sight.
00:10:12:02 I finally find him in Shinjuku Park.

SPEAKERS

00:10:22:02 So.. where are you going now?
00:10:23:18 What is your dream now?
00:10:26:12 Well, return to a normal life, and get a position.
00:10:32:02 What kind of normal life do you expect to return to?
00:10:35:16 Perhaps go to outside.. foreign countries.
00:10:38:23 And be a kind of diplomat.
00:10:42:14 I'll do my best for Japan's interests.

NARRATION

00:10:49:01 It's time to leave the "Homeless Ambassador" alone.
00:10:58:00 I go to Sumida river.
00:11:02:10 The famous sight-seeing spot of Tokyo's best.
00:11:05:02 Behind the Avant Garde buildings and the luxurious riverside apartments,
00:11:10:23 Barely noticed by the local residents,
00:11:13:20 lies a village of blue tents, set up by the homeless.
00:11:31:12 Today, the blue-tent village is very quiet
00:11:34:01 because they are all here queuing in the food line.

SPEAKER - CHARLES MCJILTON

00:11:44:15 Japan has the highest average ratio of food waste per capita
00:11:50:07 .. of any of the first world countries.
00:11:52:14 In additon to that, there's no system like ours,
00:11:56:20 which makes the recycling of food available.

NARRATION

00:12:01:02 This is Charles McJilton.
00:12:03:09 He founded the "Second Harvest" - an NGO dealing with food distribution.

SPEAKERS

00:12:07:16 Our food mainly comes from companies or also stores,that have excess food
00:12:14:23 or if the shelf life has only two to three weeks left
00:12:18:04 and we redistribute to people in need.
00:12:19:11 One of the activities is our distribution on the river, which we do twice a month.
00:12:25:03 I was told that you have experienced life as homeless?
00:12:28:05 That's correct. I lived nearby here for fifteen months,in a blue sheet house along the river,
00:12:34:09 less than five hundred meters from here.
00:12:36:13 What about the life there?
00:12:40:00 More difficult than people can imagine.
00:12:44:02 One thing is that when you live in a tent like that, you really become aware of..
00:12:50:01 first - the weather,
00:12:52:00 because raining or not raining makes a big difference.
00:12:54:22 Aware that anyone can come in at anytime,
00:12:59:04 because you don't have a lock on your door.
00:13:01:10 Water becomes something you worry about..
00:13:04:05 'Cos you have to carry all the water you have to where you live.
00:13:07:14 And in our case, we were evicted once a month.
00:13:10:18 so, you have to deal with the evictions.
00:13:11:15 For example, they'd put up a notice on Wednesday you'd have to be gone by Friday.
00:13:15:00 On Friday, everybody takes down the house, moves ten meters.
00:13:18:16 Government comes down, looks at the place and no one's in there,
00:13:22:06 and then, take a picture and leave, and people come back immediately.
00:13:28:14 Everyone knows what's going to happen, every move is just for five to ten minutes. -.
00:13:36:22 Is it dangerous to stay in the park river side like this?
00:13:40:08 It depends on who you are, where you are.
00:13:44:10 Meaning that, if you an are elderly person without a house,
00:13:48:17 Yes, it can be dangerous. People have been killed
00:13:50:24 by young students, even as young as elementary or middle school who have killed homeless people here.
00:13:59:00 Set them on fire, and do all sorts of thing like that.
00:14:01:13 Yes, in essence, it can be dangerous.
00:14:03:19 On the other hand, compared to my country - U.S.A.,
00:14:07:16 No, it's not dangerous.
00:14:09:07 because people aren’t allowed to use drugs.
00:14:12:14 Drugs - play a big factor in being dangerous.
00:14:17:01 The second factor is you have basically two types of homeless people.
00:14:20:20 One is the former day labourers, so they've worked together for twenty to thirty years
00:14:26:09 and the people down here probably fit into that category.
00:14:28:24 So, they know each other well.
00:14:31:00 The other category you have is called the "new homeless" people,
00:14:35:04 never lived on the streets before, they're just getting to know people and stuff.
00:14:40:11 It's not that they fight amongst each other,
00:14:42:18 but they have different reasons about why they became homeless, and a reason why they are here.
00:14:47:06 Why don't they get the government welfare?
00:14:50:01 Well because there's a couple of different reasons, one is their age.
00:14:53:10 The average age of the person on the street is fifty five point six years old.
00:15:00:02 You can't get the government help until you reach sixty five,
00:15:02:24 and for long term pension benefit, you have a ten year window.
00:15:06:13 They are not getting any type of help.
00:15:08:07 One of the criticisms of what we do is that we don't solve their problems,
00:15:12:12 and we recognise that.
00:15:14:16 Our purpose is not to solve their problems.
00:15:17:18 But we do believe,
00:15:18:22 if you don't have enough food you can't do the next thing you need to do in your life.
00:15:23:06 If you don't have enough nutrition, you'll get sick easier,
00:15:27:13 you're not going to be able to go out and get work or anything like that.

NARRATION

00:15:34:03 I meet my friend Sugi, who lives in Japan.

SPEAKERS

00:15:37:04 Let's talk about the homeless, what can they change to make better?
00:15:43:08 homeless.. becomes the homeless..
00:15:45:15 because they don't want to keep the promise with the society.
00:15:50:22 If you're living in Japanese society, I think you make a lot of promises.
00:15:56:17 I believe that if homeless want to get a job and back to normal life,
00:16:04:00 I think it's possible to do that, but I think they don't want to.
00:16:10:17 I think in their way, they're kind of happy.
00:16:16:24 It's just a lifestyle for them, maybe. That's how I feel.
00:16:22:00 They choose to become a homeless,
00:16:25:24 because they don't want to take any responsibility.
00:16:29:19 Nobody gonna tell you to wake up at 6:30am,
00:16:35:00 they might not even have a clock.
00:16:37:02 They can wake up whenever the want, eat whenever they want.
00:16:41:16 I don't know.. but at least there's less control by somebody else.
00:16:48:21 Will you consider being a homeless yourself?
00:16:51:03 Myself? to be a homeless! Oh, I don't think so, no.
00:16:56:10 Why?
00:17:00:16 I don't know! just...
00:17:03:08 I think I like to keep myself in the society, I guess.
00:17:08:05 Even though many times it's uncomfortable?
00:17:12:02 But I still want to keep it.
00:17:15:18 Being a homeless.. I don't know. I might try maybe one or two months,
00:17:23:00 but if I have to live like that forever I don't know if I could stand it or not.
00:17:27:07 Would you be the same friend? If I were a homeless?
00:17:30:24 If you become a homeless, I'd like to visit your blue tent.
00:17:38:20 I would like to see how your life is.
00:17:40:20 Well you're welcome, and don't forget to bring some beer to me.
00:17:45:11 Okay! Cheers!

NARRATION

00:18:03:00 In Harajuku - a city famous for its avant-garde street fashion-
00:18:13:02 art and poverty intertwine.
00:18:22:09 In the Yoyogi park, I stumble upon a homeless cafe.
00:18:28:23 set up by an artist couple who live and work here.

SPEAKERS

00:18:35:00 Here comes a man with a camera, is it already rolling?
00:18:41:24 He's from Singapore.
00:18:45:06 This filmmaker stays in the airport. Wow!
00:18:50:13 Do you think Misako and Tetsuo are homeless?
00:18:57:20 I don't think so,cause they get can job if they want,
00:19:12:01 And they are so young and Tetsuo is working.
00:19:21:08 What about this place? Do you come here often?
00:19:27:02 I like it here, I feel very comfortable here.
00:19:32:22 I first visited here when my friend built his tent here.
00:19:41:04 I saw they had a lot of time to enjoy their life.
00:19:49:10 Then, I wanted to join their life.
00:19:54:19 I set up the Enoaru Cafe for the homeless people.
00:20:01:24 I enjoy making tea, art, and painting with the people who come here.
00:20:14:06 Do you live in this cafe as well?
00:20:17:12 Yes, most days I stay here, but I have a studio with my friends,
00:20:26:19 sometimes I go to the studio for my work.
00:20:32:06 Do you know how many homeless women stay in this park?
00:20:36:08 Before, twenty women stayed in this park, now it has only five women.
00:20:49:14 Are they friendly to you? Do you know them well?
00:20:52:21 Yes, of course.
00:20:55:03 I always have a tea party for the women, homeless women.
00:21:00:17 When you stay in this park,
00:21:06:00 No, they don't know. -Why you don't tell them?
00:21:09:20 I'm writing my book about here,and someday, they'll know.

NARRATION

00:21:18:12 Her partner Tetsuo, doesn't talk much,
00:21:22:11 just says he is exhausted.

SPEAKERS

00:21:24:10 Do you work as well?
00:21:27:12 I work as a helper for handicapped people.
00:21:36:14 Do you work everyday?
00:21:40:20 No, two to three times a month.

NARRATION

00:21:46:02 Here comes painter Junichiro Take. He painted over six hundred cardboard houses
00:21:51:09 in the West Gate of Shinjuku station.

SPEAKERS

00:21:53:16 What makes you so interested in painting cardboard-houses?
00:21:57:00 Umm I'm not so interested in the cardboard houses, material-wise.
00:22:04:01 In the beginning, I was never interested in the homeless nor cardboard houses.
00:22:09:18 I was just looking for a place to paint.
00:22:12:22 By chance, I was at the west gate of Shinjuku station
00:22:17:04 I visited the cardboard houses one by one
00:22:29:22 and asked the people there if i can paint their house?
00:22:37:01 That's how it began, so I painted one after another for about one hundred houses.
00:22:46:06 It was amazing, I just wanted to paint, so I did Two hundred houses here, another one hundred there.
00:22:54:12 I worked everyday and didn't count how many I painted.
00:23:01:19 I ended up painting over Six hundred cardboard houses.
00:23:06:01 What do you think about the homeless?
00:23:10:08 Basically, living is beautiful and wonderful with lots of surprises.
00:23:13:19 Somehow, they have to live in parks,thats the way it happens.
00:23:16:11 The homeles' problem is
00:23:17:18 the government claims to own the park.
00:23:20:10 I wonder if this is true or not?
00:23:21:16 Homeless people have to live somewhere,as their life goes as it's.
00:23:24:23 So I take it positively
00:23:27:05 People always link the homeless issue to economic problems
00:23:32:12 and they discriminate against the homeless by putting them into this category.
00:23:35:01 But I don't. Each individual has different reasons to live their life,
00:23:38:13 but not just disregarded as the "Homeless" problem.
00:23:42:12 I don't paint for the "homeless", I paint for each person.
00:23:46:01 This old guy, this young man, I deal with each as individuals.
00:23:51:06 not just "homeless".
00:23:53:02 Some people say, this is "good" life, or "bad" life.
00:23:59:09 But what's important is if there's "LIFE" in it.
00:24:02:23 If life is full of surprises, life itself is happier.

NARRATION

00:24:08:04 Yet homelessness seems far less ‘artistic’ just a stone’s throw away.
00:24:13:11 I wonder how they can sleep on such noisy streets.
00:24:19:18 I go to Osaka, look for the famous Kamagasaki.
00:24:23:24 And I finally find the biggest slum of Osaka.
00:24:29:06 Kamagasaki was the home of day labourers for almost a century.

00:24:33:16 "Liberate Kamagasaki" Day Labourers protesting in nineteen ninety. -TEXT

00:24:35:22 When a police officer was caught accepting bribes
00:24:39:02 to let the mafia control employment here-
00:24:42:08 three hundred workers marched to the city office.

00:24:46:15 "Enough is enough" Day labourers angrily protesting. -TEXT

00:24:50:22 It intensified when police sent a junior officer to apologise.
00:24:55:04 But it was a losing battle for the day labourers. Riot police easily took control.
00:25:00:10 And after the nine day riot, the "clean up"of Kamagasaki began….

00:25:10:17 At dusk, these exhausted men return from work.
00:25:13:09 They are the lucky ones.
00:25:22:18 Though still poor, their rent is just one thousand Yen. Their food is offered at half the regular price.
00:25:28:19 So why can’t they save some money to live off when they’re in-between contracts?

00:25:32:01 For a long time, the construction industry was controlled by the Yakuza.
00:25:36:08 Construction contracts could only be sub-contracted out by firms owned by the Yakuza – who would take a deep cut in commission.
00:25:44:21 In recession, work is rare and only the stronger few can find jobs.
00:25:49:03 For those out of work day labourers, sleeping on the streets is the only option.

00:26:14:02 At nine pm, many of the homeless move to the market to sleep there.
00:26:53:16 I also find a good spot to sleep.
00:27:02:23 Though my friend may still be sleeping, I wake early from the noise.
00:27:10:05 I go to the Dai Sen Park on the other side of the town.
00:27:17:12 It’s a fine day for the elderly to take a stroll.
00:27:20:01 This is the so-called "silver generation", enjoying life in retirement.
00:27:24:00 These lucky retirees worked under the "employment for life" scheme.
00:27:29:07 They worked hard from a young age for the same company.
00:27:32:14 At sixty they got their reward
00:27:34:13 – a pension and honour for the contribution they had made to society
00:27:39:02 Their grandchildren may never enjoy the same benefits.
00:27:41:10 Since the recession in the nineties,
00:27:44:06 companies began hiring two or three part-time staff to share one job.
00

00:28:03:04 On the other side of the park is a blue-tent village.
00:28:07:11 The former day labourers who live here are either
00:28:09:20 below sixty five years old -the official age for government pension -
00:28:16:25 or rejected by welfare officials, even though they are over sixty five.
00:28:22:06 For reasons such as a lack of a fixed address,
00:28:26:01 or an ID card registered in a different province.
00:28:36:08 They welcome me warmly.

SPEAKERS

00:28:45:02 Oh, the battery is flat. You have to recharge the battery.

NARRATION

00:28:55:08 They have no power supply here.
00:28:58:15 Yet Mr. Yankee manages to take care of himself,
00:29:02:02 whilst suffering from the common complaints of the elderly.
00:29:06:04 He seems a world away from the old men playing croquet on the other side of the park.
00:29:17:10 But he's much happier than the men I met in the Kamagasaki slum
00:29:28:07 This village even has its own thrift shop.
00:29:37:24 I befriend Mr. Satoh and visit his tent.
00:29:43:01 He is a former day labourer and lives alone here.

SPEAKERS

00:30:01:12 Mr. Satoh, How are you?

NARRATION

00:30:10:09 By now, a coffee and a cigarette seems like luxury.

SPEAKERS

00:30:19:01 Here you are. - Cheers.
00:30:30:14 Small token, no problem, cheap.
00:30:32:21 This cigarette- #1! #2- food, #3- beer.

NARRATION

00:30:43:03 Sato is living well in this small place.
00:30:46:10 TV and radio, newspaper, books and a small kitchen.
00:30:50:17 He even says he’s got too much food in stock.

SPEAKERS

00:30:56:24 Papa, Mama, my children.
00:31:02:05 Now, he's grown up. 30, 31 years old.
00:31:16:18 My wife, separated.
00:31:33:19 At sleeping time, I say good night to my parents and my son.

NARRATION

00:31:44:00 Leaving Mr. Satoh's home sweet home, I begin to see why the architect Kyohei Sakaguchi was so fascinated by the homeless.
00:31:52:14 For him, homelessness was creative, not destructive,
00:31:58:21 inspiring him to live in a water tank, and even on top of a bicycle.
00:32:03:03 Finally he designed a house for the homeless, which was exhibited across the world.
00:32:16:23 The 'Oyen House' was eco-friendly, collapsable, and geared towards total self-sufficiency.
00:32:21:04 And the homeless people adapted it, even adding solar panels.

00:32:28:11 Yet the homeless of Shinjuku still opt for more traditonal shelter.
00:32:33:03 At 9pm, the subway becomes a dormitory of cardboard houses

SPEAKERS

00:32:45:20 With the economic downturn, the law changes,
00:32:50:06 Companies can take on more part timers to replace full-time staff.
00:32:56:18 And so they take on less risk.
00:33:00:20 Today, about 30% of workers in Japan are actually part timers.
00:33:10:02 What's wrong of being a part time worker?
00:33:12:00 For example, I don't want to be a part timer, because..
00:33:14:22 .. theres no promise for the future.
00:33:17:04 That income is not stable, and your reputation isn't good either.
00:33:24:11 How can you make a future plan with part time jobs?
00:33:28:18 Do you think you can marry with a part time Joe?
00:33:31:02 I don't really think so.
00:33:32:11 Except being a homeless part-timers,
00:33:34:13 May be there's another way, something like going out of country.
00:33:38:20 What I heard is..
00:33:41:01 They go to China and work for Japanese companies,
00:33:45:08 And they get the Chinese salary in China,
00:33:49:22 I think this is crazy.
00:33:50:21 But it's still full time employment.

NARRATION

00:33:57:03 The part-time society may worry the older generation.
00:34:02:13 But the young have found it easier to adapt.

SPEAKERS

00:34:07:00 00:34:10:00 Now the younger generation..
00:34:10:04 00:34:18:05 are staying, not in cardboard house, or tent but in 24hour internet cafes.
00:34:19:00 00:34:20:12 or comic cafes.

NARRATION

00:34:21:12 OTAKU may be the answer
00:34:23:19 a generation whose obsessions with video games, manga and social networking,
00:34:29:00 have come to determine their life styles.
00:34:32:07 The Otaku geeks spend almost all of their time in manga or internet cafes.
00:34:37:16 The cafes respond by offering beds and meals.
00:34:40:23 and they become meeting-points for cyber friends or dates...
00:34:46:02 In a part-time universe,
00:34:47:10 the Otakus pay rent by the day, even by the hour.
00:34:54:16 The future is not something they worry about.

00:35:03:05 This is Britney Hamada, Manga artist and shibuya Gal.
00:35:06:12 She is homeless too, living in capsule hotels and comic cafes.
00:35:10:21 She is outspoken about her living style. For her there's no shame in a lack of property.
00:35:18:00 She becomes a pop-culture celebrity - an icon for Otakus everywhere
00:35:22:22 but remains homeless.
00:35:26:14 Otaku could become a global social phenomenon
00:35:36:20 But for the vast majority of homeless - it's an alien world.
00:35:40:02 For most, even talking about their homelessness is a blow to their honour.
00:35:57:09 Yet here at Osaka- the largest homeless ghetto in Japan-
00:36:00:16 the homeless are becoming more organized.
00:36:03:22 They make billboards to state their global views
00:36:10:04 Unlike the homeless in Skinjuku, it's easy to talk to them about their situation.

SPEAKER

00:36:15:11 I'm Kosuke Nakagiri, I'm the leader of this group.

NARRATION

00:36:24:18 Kosuke is a student turned activist, who now lives with the homeless.
00:36:28:24 He wants to show me a new scheme to help the homeless.
00:36:37:06 The homeless grow vegetables.
00:36:41:13 And sell their food in the park and in the church once a week.
00:36:45:22 residents happily come here to buy vegetables at a bargain price.
00:36:51:15 Most don't care that the sellers live in the very same park.
00:37:00:22 And the homeless are able to feel a part of the society again.
00:37:04:04 Whilst making a small income.
00:37:17:10 Returning to the park, I have chance to talk to another activist.

SPEAKERS

00:37:21:17 How many years you've been helping the homeless?
00:37:24:01 In this park, about 4 years.
00:37:26:06 Govern't has shelter built in Osaka,why don't the tent people stay in shleter?
00:37:35:12 There are 3 shelters outside of the park, it's but their aim at evict the tent people..
00:37:46:12 In Nagai Park,Osaka Castle Park, Nishinari Park.
00:37:51:01 people live outside such parks..
00:37:55:08 They can't enter the shelter, and situation in the shelter is so bad.
00:37:59:14 Only 1 meal per day.
00:38:01:21 It is so crowded,
00:38:05:03 Homeless people have to wait for months..
00:38:10:10 and they can stay only stay 3 months but the longest time is actually 6 months.
00:38:19:16 They have to find jobs in just 6 months..
00:38:25:23 But it's very hard to find new jobs in such short period.
00:38:33:05 Once they go into center, govern't usually evicted their tents.
00:38:42:12 After 3-6 months, when they can't find work..
00:38:45:23 .. they have to get out and become homeless once more.
00:38:50:10 But, they have no home to go back, -So, they lost their tents.
00:38:57:07 Among the homeless people, what is their biggest problem?
00:39:01:14 Biggest problem is unemployment.
00:39:06:08 Most people want to work, and they can work.
00:39:14:02 But unemployment is so serious, it's very difficult to find new jobs.
00:39:21:09 From my observation..
00:39:23:16 .. seems homeless people are determine to make themsleves well.
00:39:26:22 They still have a lot of self-respect, what kind of state of mind they are in?
00:39:35:04 It's a difficult question, I think.
00:39:38:11 Japan is a society, where people have to blame themselves..
00:39:48:00 .. when one becomes unemployment or homeless.
00:39:52:04 People usually blame themselves. "It's my fault. "
00:39:56:06 It's hard to realise it's not one's fault, but a problem of social structure.
00:40:03:13 Of course, homeless people at the same time,have confidence..
00:40:09:20 they've been working for years.
00:40:15:02 Most people in the 1960s, 1970s, when Japan's economy was bigger..
00:40:26:08 .. they worked then, so they feel Japan abandoned us.

NARRATION

00:40:36:15 Life is wonderful, if you have a choice and a cat.
00:40:39:22 Being homeless in Japan seems to mean different things to different people
00:40:47:08 Yet the distinction between those who choose to be homeless and those who don't is clear.
00:40:54:10 Most seem determined to take care of themselves.
00:41:03:17 But for those who have been rejected by society,
00:41:08:24 the feeling of humiliation
00:41:10:06 often has an effect on their mental health
00:41:19:12 Their lifestyle and strange behaviour distance them further.
00:41:26:19 Those who have been homeless for years, struggle to get bak into the routine of work, even when it's offered to them.
00:41:31:21 They're used to this life style.
00:41:37:21 And this "catch 22" might not end with these old day labourers,
00:41:41:03 Due to an ageing population and persistently bad employment conditions.
00:41:47:10 Japan's homeless population is getting younger and younger.

SPEAKERS

00:41:50:16 Before, when I started helping here, there are more old people.
00:41:55:23 Now there are still young ones, mid 30s, mid 40s,
00:42:03:05 which is quite young to be considered as a homeless.
00:42:14:12 Mr. Sugi, I just dont't understand.
00:42:16:18 We are such "have a good time", "beautiful sunset".
00:42:19:00 Why you're so pessimistic about the Japan's future?
00:42:25:09 What's wrong with Japan?
00:42:28:14 I think, the govern't is talking about the reform. Doing the reform..
00:42:38:21 As Koizumi says that, it takes a long time.
00:42:43:02 But they're going to do the reform.
00:42:45:09 But actually I don't really see them. Reform towards what way?
00:42:51:16 Like in 1980s, Are we going back to that kind of energy?
00:42:57:00 Economic energy or people's energy? I don't think it's gonna come back.
00:43:01:09 When we're making 100yen, the debt is actually 160Yen.
00:43:09:11 So the total is minus 60Yen, and we keep doing this everyday, day by day.
00:43:16:18 Japan has the second largest internal debt in the world.
00:43:25:02 We don't inherit from our ancestors,
00:43:28:06 But we're borrowing from next generations and next next generations.

00:43:32:16 You can't measure Japanese sense of logic by any Western yard stake.
00:43:39:02 Their weapons are modern..
00:43:42:06 .. their thinking 2,000 years out of date.

NARRATION

00:43:47:09 The changes in Japanese society
00:43:49:15 Have turned masterless Samurai into criminals.
00:43:51:22 And hard working day labourers into vagabonds.
00:43:54:04 The feudal mind of "Serve One Master",
00:43:57:10 became the "Life Employment" of modern Japan,
00:44:02:17 In my opinion, the Japanese should get rid of their feudal social values.
00:44:07:24 There's no instant fix or miracle.
00:44:11:06 Only by the effort of the individual.
00:44:15:12 Can people get themselves out of the dog days to a better life.

00:44:31:19 And that's exactly what these homeless are trying to do
00:44:37:01 They are preparing to travel to Tokyo for a protest,
00:44:47:08 They all study the documents carefully and make sure they're well prepared.
00:45:13:14 At the last minute, I fill an empty seat.

SPEAKERS

00:45:45:03 What is the event about? -This protest action against..
00:45:52:12 Japan - Korea free trade agreement conference.
00:45:56:22 What will the impact be on the homeless?
00:46:00:23 If this agreement is signed..
00:46:02:10 . in both countries, unemployment will increase..
00:46:16:14 because competition between companies will be harsher,
00:46:26:18 As a result, unemployment and homelessness will increase.
00:46:34:08 So, we're protesting against this conference
00:46:38:07 In Japan, 30,000 people are jobless and homeless, 10,000 are in Osaka.
00:46:43:16 Corporate restructure means more people jobless and live on the street.
00:46:52:00 Japanese government ignores pain of the people.
00:47:01:02 Day by day, more people lose jobs and become homeless.
00:47:12:09 .. Living in the park and under the bridges.

NARRATION

00:47:39:16 Walking on the pride and guilt of the past,
00:47:43:23 Living on the innovation of Japan today,
00:47:50:04 and fearlessly facing an uncertain future.
00:47:53:16 This is the "Homeless in Japan".
 

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