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kamagasaki
January 21, 2003 3:57 AM   Subscribe

"I'm not alive. I'm not myself. I'm tired of playing the role of somebody else. I want to be myself".
Kamagasaki, Japan in the 1950s: photographs by Inoue Seiryu, and Kamagasaki now: Photos and text by Shannon Higgins, with first-hand accounts and translations.[more]
posted by hama7 (14 comments total)

 
More from the BBC and a recent forum. [first link via consumptive]
posted by hama7 at 3:58 AM on January 21, 2003


"I'm not alive. I'm not myself. I'm tired of playing the role of somebody else. I want to be myself".

Did anyone else immediately tihnk this post was about Avril Lavigne?
posted by Space Coyote at 5:11 AM on January 21, 2003


Great link. RMFITI!
posted by samelborp at 5:18 AM on January 21, 2003


Great, great post hama7!
posted by gen at 6:40 AM on January 21, 2003


It's hard to hold in my mind the Western notion of a slum and this information:

Some 95% of the people that live in this town are educated, and read and write. Most start their day by reading a national newspaper, and will discuss politics and world affairs over morning coffee. If you were to talk to the people here, you would find that most people here would have a deeper knowledge of the Japanese economy, of the world market, and of world affairs, than your average Japanese businessman.
It's a fine thing to have one's preconceptions shaken before 10AM. Fascinating photos as well.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:49 AM on January 21, 2003


yes, this is truly wondrous, hama7, but such a shame the first link only runs to 20 fotos... i remember reading someplace that before the yanks arrived, japan used to look & feel & smell much like north korea does today.

how & why did you wind up researching kamagasaki??
posted by n o i s e s at 6:50 AM on January 21, 2003


you know, for those outside japan, the kamagasaki now exhibition really could come from almost any downtown park in any reasonably sized city up & down & right around japan this cold tomorrow morning.
posted by n o i s e s at 7:00 AM on January 21, 2003


Thanks for the link, hama7. I visited Kamagasaki in 1999 with students from a political science class. The environment itself and the people we met there truly opened my eyes to a side of Japan that few westerners can imagine and even fewer Japanese will acknowledge. I was struck by the openness of the people living there, as they articulately shared their experiences of living on the edges of Japanese society. Some were bitter and depressed, but some said they only truly felt free in kamagasaki.
posted by mariko at 10:12 AM on January 21, 2003


Excellent links hama7.
This reminds me of the Bowery and any number of Hooverville communities that cropped up post depression.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2003


Stark contrast to japanesestreets.com
posted by nthdegx at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2003


how & why did you wind up researching kamagasaki??

I used to live near there, and the area filled me with a mixture of vague apprehension and curiosity.
posted by hama7 at 1:06 AM on January 22, 2003


Shinsekai is another nearby area in south Osaka which still retains a certain rebelliousness, despite efforts to spruce up its image.
posted by hama7 at 2:14 AM on January 22, 2003


proud & haunting murals painted on the sides of the cardboard homes of the down and outs at shinjuku station in 1996 (sorry, i can't build links in safari):

http://www.webcom.com/whills/Japan/Homeless/Hires/man&pntng.jpeg

http://www.webcom.com/whills/Japan/Homeless/Hires/man.jpeg

there are so many more dispossed souls living in every park i've ever been to in & around nagoya. they all look like the blue ships seen here:

http://www.didik.com/nycinpictures/japan/homeless/ulthm.htm

whenever i bring up the subject of homelessness my japanese friends all pretend that they haven't the foggiest idea what i'm talking about. they've never seen these sad blue ships, of course.
posted by n o i s e s at 3:51 AM on January 22, 2003


wow, also just found http://kanai.net/weblog/ thank you trackback, gen & hama7.
posted by n o i s e s at 3:55 AM on January 22, 2003


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