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Yokohama Street Life: The Precarious Career of a Japanese Day Laborer is a one-man ethnography, tracing the career of a single Japanese day laborer known as Kimitsu, from his wartime childhood inside the southern island of Kyushu by approach of a momentary military career to a lifetime spent working on the docks and improvement sites of Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. Kimitsu emerges as a distinctive voice from the Japanese ghetto, a self-educated thinker whose concepts on life inside the slums, on publish-warfare Japanese society and on additional abstract psychological issues are conveyed in a assortment of conversations with British anthropologist Tom Gill, whose friendship with Kimitsu spans larger than 20 years. For Kimitsu, as for a lot of of his fellow day laborers on the bottom of Japanese society, presents none of the comforting distractions of marriage, family life, or a long-time interval career in a settled workplace. It leads him by approach of existential philosophy within the path of Buddhist mysticism as he fills the time between days of onerous information labor with visits to second-hand bookshops in search of enlightenment.
The book moreover portrays Kimitsu’s dwelling setting, a Yokohama slum district known as Kotobuki. Kotobuki is a ‘doya-gai’—a slum inhabited primarily by males, significantly identical to the skid row districts that was widespread in American cities. Traditionally these males have earned a main dwelling by working as day laborers, nevertheless the decline in employment options has pressured many of them into welfare dependence or homelessness. Kimitsu’s life and thought are framed by an account of the altering strategy of life in Kotobuki, a place that has steadily been reworked from a casual laboring market to a big, shambolical welfare center. In Kotobuki the nationwide Japanese factors of an rising older workforce and monetary decline set in a lot prior to elsewhere, leading to a dramatic illustration of the challenges coping with the Japanese welfare state.
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