The Homeless People in Japan

This is what most people don’t know about Japan.

Homelessness was largely unknown in Japan until the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s and unemployment began to rise. – BBC

Photography by Jesslee Cuizon

At the beginning of the 1990s, the homeless in Japan were viewed as nuisance. The government tried to get rid of the street people “because the environment there needed beautification”. –

Photography by Jesslee Cuizon

According to, there are 25,296 homeless people in Japan.

Photography by Jesslee Cuizon

Some of these homeless people live in the side of the street with their card-board houses.

Photography Jesslee Cuizon

Some in tunnels and underground stations.

Photography by Jesslee Cuizon

The homeless prefer to freeze outside rather than be frozen by officialdom’s coldness.  –

Photography by Jesslee Cuizon

Note: The photos were taken in Fujisawa, Ueno, Yoyogi and Shibuya.

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  1. Always good to report these images. In 1992 and 1993, it was very obvious in the corridors of Shinjuku: homeless had their cardboard houses one after another one. The government clean the area.
    Good work

    Posted July 15, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  2. wow! this is an eye opener! and to think that Japan is a first world country… interesting…
    and i love your photos, as always. :)

    Posted July 16, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink
  3. Your photos remind us that so many people are suffering everywhere, and yet they are being ignored by their government– and no country is an exception.

    Awesome photos, Jess! I especially love the glamorous graffiti contrasted against the homeless person (first photo) and the emptiness of the photo and the man’s eyes (last photo). :)

    Posted July 16, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  4. i never thought there are homeless people in japan… the shots are heartrending…

    Posted July 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  5. Great photos. Japan tries very hard to hide things like slums and homeless and therefore many people think they don’t exist. Japan is a great place, but it does have problems like any other country.

    Posted November 19, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  6. Anon.

    Its like this everywhere. Its the worst I think in California. I know whenever I visit for work, we stay at the Ramada Inn. Located in Barstow. You cant walk anywhere without getting stopped at least 3 times for change. Upon entering buildings its the worst. I mean I will give you some change but what does that do? Nothing, you get tired of giving your change away eventually. A friend of mine gave a guy 20$. We seem him the next day, and he asked us for money again…seriously? Find a shelter, Get a job. Do something besides ask for change. Everyone of them has a different story as to why they need change also. One guy asked us if we had some change, then asked us to sell him a “blunt” of weed.

    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Permalink