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Submitted on
February 9, 2010
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Tokyo Residence by denkyo Tokyo Residence by denkyo
Ginza, Japan.

Hidden in this cardboard box is one of many homeless persons taking shelter at the gates of subway stations in Tokyo, long after the lights go out and tourists return to their hotels. Looking for warmth, provided by the warm air which still leaks from the closed entrance to the underground systems.

It was a cold, rainy night. I missed the last train back to my stay in the suburbs, and so I strolled down the surprisingly empty streets of this megalopolis. With all the noise and flashy-colorful commercial banners turned off, it looked like a totally different place. It was unbelievable.
Then, as I lost my way, I started noticing people, mostly men, sitting in the corners of the streets. In front of a building's ventilation system, under an arch, in gangways. Covered in cardboards, plastic bags and newspapers to stay warm. Dozens of them.

Shooting photos of poor people is not my favorite part of photography. I felt bad, walking past those people with a 600$-camera in my hands, snapping pictures of their misery without giving them anything in return. Not a very proud moment. But I really wanted to show this to somebody, especially to those who only see shiny lights and smiling faces when thinking of Japan.
Next time I visit this country (I wish to stay for a couple months), I'd like to join one of the NGOs that organize shelter and food for homeless people. To do something. Naive, maybe.


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SilhouetteMoon Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
Very interesting. I've been getting the want to go to Japan for photography. Probably never be able to go though. Sadly it is true there are homeless people no matter where you go. You don't really notice it or realize till you see a lot of them. Which usually is in big or huge cities like Tokyo. If you go back there and do what you say you want to, hope you help a lot of them out. :)
Nora-Cintra Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2010
wow, you photos are sooo incredible ! and just thought is was very sweet of you to feel bad for walking around people who don't have nothing with an expensive camera. :)
M-ILK Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2010
Sh*t, I'm one of "those who only see shiny lights and smiling faces when thinking of Japan." [or almost] and your photo just punched me in the face.
(actually I totally 'idealize' the countries I love, hiding myself the possibility of iner problems like homeless people]

Thank you.
gaia-mizuhi-chan Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010
people always think when there's popular countries there's no problem but every where's the same you get rich people average and poor people
same with mentalities
rodone Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010  Student General Artist
i ve talked to a lot homeless people in tokio, back when i was in japan.

I talkted with a men in ueno about 3 hours..
the situations get worse, day by day. And the most people are sitting in their homes... and ignore that problem. even if he did ask them... some of them just turned around, donīt know how to deal with the situation.

this picture... its great in is meaning.
Please donīt have such a bad conscience.
I now that feeling.

Its great that you did the shoot. just the thoughts you had within doing the shoot.
thats what should matters.
neptunering Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010
tis not naive. i think it's a wonderful thought to help people. this piece completely opens up everybody's eyes that within the city of lights, banners, and wonderful cultures we shall never forget there are dark corners that need helping hands.
HillbillyDeluxe Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010
Over the past fifteen years, I feel the situation has improved however there is still not a lot of support here for the homeless(compared to the level of support I remember seeing in Canada). More shelters and kitchens are needed as I believe the numbers are higher than what the government publishes in the newspaper. And with the prolonged Japanese economic slump being intensified by the global economic crisis, the situation may only get worse.

The everyday Japanese person needs to see more of this kind of photojournalism in order to raise the awareness of the problem and in turn help out those who have fallen upon hard times. Sadly however, I don't believe this will happen anytime soon as most newspapers and/or magazines I have seen do not often cover this situation in depth. Therefore the public will continue to cast a blind eye on the entire situation.

The guilt you felt as you walked by has been a hot topic lately especially with the catastrophe in Haiti. As photographers we feel responsible to capture the moment so others may understand what is happening yet are we being inhuman by not lending a hand or doing what we can to help out?
rodone Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010  Student General Artist
i am greatfull that someone have similar thoughts. Do you know any project in japan.. who really help people, like him ?
neptunering Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010
it's not naive. it's a wonderful thought :)
denkyo Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2010  Student Photographer
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