Monday, January 6, 2014

Shiho Fukada: Japan's Poor, Homeless, Outcasted and Forgotten

Japan's structural economic problems are further alienating its already marginalized populations.

Photojournalist Shiho Fukada goes beyond the bright lights of Tokyo to document the country's unemployment crisis: disposable workers who are easily fired and live without a social safety net. They are usually shut out from the rest of the society, living in poverty but rarely acknowledged by their fellow citizens.

Fukada's photographs add a human face to widely discussed issues—from day laborers living on the streets to educated women taking banal jobs. She reveals the other side of Japan where alcoholism, hopelessness and suicide are increasingly commonplace.

This report is part of a Pulitzer Center-sponsored project, "Japan's Disposable Workers: Lost in the Global Unemployment Crisis."

Hiromi, 58, an unemployed day laborer, picks through garbage to see if he can find anything of value to sell. 
(Image by Shiho Fukada. Japan, 2009)

People wait in line to sleep inside a labor center in Kamagasaki. 
The center used to attract workers from all over Japan for high-paying day labor,
 but with jobs so scarce today it is used as a homeless shelter during the evening. 
(Image by Shiho Fukada. Japan, 2009)

A picture of Mount Fuji hangs under a highway where a homeless man sleeps in Osaka.

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