The Hardest-working Homeless in the World

Japan must have the hardest-working homeless people in the world. I think I’ve seen about two panhandlers in the 17 years I’ve lived here.

I did some reading about them on this government survey and this blog. It says there were about 25,000 in Japan as of 2003, with 7,757 in Osaka, 6,361 in Tokyo, and 2,121 in Nagoya. It seems Osaka has finally found something it can beat Tokyo in!

An amazing 64.7 percent of homeless people do some kind of work, and 73.3 percent of those do some kind of waste collection. In 2003, about 35.2 percent of homeless people had a monthly income of between 10,000 and 30,000 yen, and 18.9 percent had an income of between 30,000 and 50,000 yen. However,around 2004, the price per kilogram for aluminum went up from 80-90 yen to between 150 and 170 yen, so they are probably earning more.

Japan’s homeless are a lot older than in other countries. 23.4% are between the ages of 55 and 59, 22% are between 50 and 54, and 20.3% are between 60 and 64.

8 replies
  1. Japan Australia
    Japan Australia says:

    I remember seeing quite a few homeless people in larger cities like Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka. They always seemed to be older men and quite often as you mentioned they did some kind of work to make a little bit of money.

  2. sixmats
    sixmats says:

    The picture you have here reminds me of the homeless in Asakusa who would go around in the mornings collecting cans and cardboard. I approached some in Ueno Park with some old winter clothes of mine, but they reluctantly took it.

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