In Pictures: Kamagasaki – Japan’s Largest Slum

Published by Stickboy on April 7th, 2010


Kamagasaki is known as Japan’s largest slum and has the largest day laborer concentration in the entire country.

Kamagasaki as an official place name existed until 1922 but it is still used today. It is now part Nishinari-ku and it is officially called Airin-chiku.

30,000 people are estimated to live in every 2,000 meter radius within this region. An accurate count of occupants has never been produced, even in the national census, due to the large population of day laborers who lack permanent addresses.

When the global recession hit in Japan after September 2008, Kamagasaki was one of the main places to display the results it had on Japanese day laborers who were of the first to loose their jobs. Many who remained jobless and often homeless, found shelter in Kamagasaki’s cheap hotels and night shelters.

The Airin Labor Welfare Center helps men to find temporary jobs so they gather there every morning hoping to get picked up by employers.

The majority of the day laborers who have been living in Kamagasaki are older men whose age makes it difficult to find jobs but they are not old enough yet to get pension money. They pick up temporary jobs when possible and try to survive until they can retire at the age of 60.

The laborers who don’t get a job and are homeless, just stay inside the building using it as a temporary shelter.

Update: At the request of Tokyo based photojournalist Androniki Christodoulou, the pictures that show the poverty of the homeless workers living in Kamagasaki, Osaka have been removed and can now only be viewed at her website here.



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