Lonely Planet Kamagasaki
“There is no work now. If big companies like Toyota are firing people, why should there be any work here for us? If big banks in the U.S. collapse, why should there be any work here for us? “ says Hiroshi Nakao, 59 year old, former construction day laborer, who currently survives by picking through garbage and selling what he can. He is one of the hundreds of graying men in Kamagasaki, Osaka, Japan. It used to be a thriving day laborer’s town. Today it is home to about 25,000 mainly elderly former day laborers, with an estimated 1,300 who are homeless. It used to be called a “laborers town” but now it’s called a “welfare town” – a dumping ground of old men. Alcoholism, poverty, street death, suicide, TB and most of all loneliness prevail here. They don’t have family ties and live and die alone as social outcasts from the mainstream “salary man” culture.