How do the Homeless Make Money and Where do They Live in Japan?




I discuss 2 types of homelessness in Japan in this post:Are There Any Homeless People in Japan?

Now I’d like to discuss other information: where they live and how they make money.



Which City is Popular Among Homeless Individuals?


Interesting Posts of This Month:

Do you know those don’ts etiquette? → First Impression is Crucial in Japan

Here are how you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing in Japan →Important Ohanami Manners



Almost all Prefectures have at least few homeless people, excluding Nara, Shimane, Aomori and Akita.

The largest number of homeless people can be seen in Osaka, followed by Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.


Homeless people tend to stay in city, and you don’t usually see them in countryside.



Where do Homeless People Stay?




Because homeless people don’t have home to stay, they have to stay outside to spend a night.

Most popular place is by river (under the bridge), followed by parks and street.


Homeless people, however, don’t necessarily stay out during night. In fact, many of them have no home and stay in the Internet café or friends’ place. The number of people who stay in the Internet café has been increasing and those people are called “Net café refugee” or “cyber-homeless.”



Many Internet cafés open 24/7



Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare estimated the number of Net café refugee is more than 5,000. The actual number is unknown as there is no definite way of knowing who a net café refugee is. We cannot possibly go ask every single customer in the Internet café and say “are you a Net café refugee?”


I’m guessing actual number exceeds 5,000 as all cyber-homeless don’t use the Internet café everyday.



How about Canada and US?



After doing research on Japanese homelessness, I wanted to know other countries. So here are homelessness in Canada and the US.


According to Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, more than 200,000 people experience homelessness in a given year in Canada.

I was surprised that the number is so high. But some of them only experience homelessness for a month or less. 29% experience homelessness for a day only.

Thus the estimated number of chronically homeless people is 4,000 to 8,000.


The proportion is still high compared to Japan if considering the population: Japan population of 123.7 million vs. Canada population of 35.16 million.



In US, it was estimated about 560,000 people experience homelessness on a given night.

The number of chronically homeless people was about 83,000 in 2015. It seems very high but we need to take into account the population (US population is 318.9 million… so still higher than Japan).




How do Homeless People Survive in Japan?


Homeless individuals in Japan don’t panhandle, so how do they survive?

Some homeless individuals have a job, while others have no jobs.

Why people become homeless if they have a job?


Some people are homeless even though they have a job because they don’t earn enough. They usually work part time or temporarily and their salary is insufficient to pay the rent.


Many of those who are jobless collect recycled items and get money.


Some collect cardboard, empty cans, comic books, toys, sunglasses, electronics such as TV, fridge, furniture including desks, chairs etc…

They basically collect anything that they can sell.



Why is it Hard to Get Out of Homelessness?

Most of homeless individuals are not willing to be homeless at the beginning. They try to find a job and earn living by themselves.

Even if they try, unfortunately, they cannot find a job and make money then end up living in temporary dwelling.

If some are lucky to have a job, it’s usually temporary and cannot afford to rent an apartment.


The worst part is that once people lose valid address, company is less likely to hire them. That is, if they stay in the Internet café, for instance, it’s difficult to find an apartment or full time job. 




Although the number of the homeless is decreasing in Japan, I think it’s important to share this post with you.

Tokyo Olympic is coming in 3 years and I’m sure government is working on reduction of “visible” homeless individuals.

But some homelessness such as Net café refugee is invisible. I believe the number would increase and it’s one of the important issues Japanese must face.


What do you think?

What is the life of homelessness like in your country?




Do you know any curse words in Japanese ? → Why Japanese don’t Swear?

All the males and females… are MEN in Kabuki play → What is Kabuki?




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