Since the 1990s, homeless people have been a growing social phenomenon and problem in Japan. At first, it triggered repressive policies, such as evictions, from the local authorities. From 2000 however, the local and national authorities moved toward a more inclusive response, constructing shelters and supporting housing projects.
Far from being a natural evolution the mobilization of the homeless and their supporters has been at the heart of a political change and ended the so called “frozen age” of social activism in Japan. We analyze the constraints and the process of this mobilization through a major case: the Shinjuku Station Underground struggle which took place from the beginning to the end of the 1990s.
David Antoine Malinas
Associate Professor at Paris-Diderot University
Associate Professor at Paris-Diderot University at the department of East Asian Studies since 2011, David A. Malinas took the position of University Cooperation Attaché at the French Embassy in Japan in 2015. His research focuses on poverty and social movements in contemporary Japan. He is the author of Homeless Social Movement in Japan and The Rebirth of Disruptive Civil Society in Japan (in French, 2011) and co-editor of Japan at the Beginning of the XXIst Century (in French, 2016). He is speaking in his personal capacity as a researcher, not as a representative of the French Embassy or the French Government.