Struggles of living in Japan

Anonymous student post

The minimum wage in Kyoto is 773 yen. It may be the limit to earn 6,000 to 8,000 yen in a day with minimum wage. The problem will be not serious when people can get only minimum wage if they have a family who supports them (such as university students doing a part time job). However there are many serious cases in Japan. Net café refugees can be taken as an example. Net café refugees can earn money for today, however they can’t earn money for saving even though they work as hard as they can do. They “usually rely on temporary work (haken) or day labor (hiyatoi)” (Allison 2013:44) and can get almost minimum wage in Japan.

Relying on unstable jobs and getting a low salary, people continually feel anxiety and they can’t maintain themselves both mentally and physically. A net café is like home, however “‘Home,’ when they find it in a net café, is decidedly unhomey” (Allison 2013:45). Furthermore many people have to worry about the job for tomorrow every night. They spend a day with the wage they get on that day, hence there are no foods and no place where they spend a night if they can’t find a job. Sometimes they are introduced too dangerous job from the temporary staff agency. Some employers might think poor people would do the hazardous job with bad condition because they couldn’t manage a day without the job.

There are not only net café refugees but also other people who are hired as irregular workers and live on the edge. It is difficult to get stable job without graduating high school or even university in Japanese modern society. People almost can’t get out the bad cycle of poverty if people leave the way of getting the life of stability once (giving up high school and so on). Some people are deprived of “a safety net, social support system, or reserves of almost any kind” (Allison 2013:45) and even hopes for the future. They lose most things that would support them and feel “devoid of hope or dreams for tomorrow” (Allison 2013:46). Their lost thing is not only them, but also ibasho.

There are many people who work with minimum wage or close to the minimum in Japan. If they live alone, it would be hard to live mentally, physically and financially. With minimum wage, people can’t use their time to enjoy much even are filled with anxiety and hopeless. Japan hold many people who have no ibasho and no hope. The bad cycle of hopeless should be solved as soon as possible and Japan should become the society filled with hope for tomorrow.

Reference

Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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The Struggle with Minimum Wage

by Yuri Muramatsu

Japan faces a difficult situation because the Japanese social system is about to collapse. I am a student now and I worked in a part-time job. I worked three days a week and I could earn about 30,000 yen per month. I accept monetary assistance from my parents but some people do not have parents or relatives so they have to make a living only on their own. I also accept a scholarship so if my parents cannot assist me, I will be able to manage my living cost by using it.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, people who earn under the minimum cost of living can receive welfare. Moreover, Anne Allison mentioned a woman who is haken (temporary worker) and is estranged from her parents. She could not accept any assistance. Her rent is now 35,000 yen per month but she used to live in a place that cost 100,000 yen a month. She tried to cut down her living cost but her working chances became smaller all the time. What is more, she has a disease.

Generally speaking, people who fulfill the following four condition can accept welfare. First, no one assists you, like parents or relatives. Second, you do not have any property. Third, you cannot work because of an illness or injury. If all these conditions are not fulfilled, you cannot get minimum living cost per month.

Considering this situation, if I earn minimum wage and I cannot accept any assistance from parents or relatives with legal age, I will face a lot of struggles. The minimum wage in Kyoto is 773 yen per hour. It means I can get about 154,600 yen per month in case of working 8 hours per day, 25 days per month. At first, I would face residential problems because my rent is now 48,000 per month. If I can only earn minimum wage, I cannot manage my living cost. I pay 88,000 as living costs like charge of water, gas, and electricity costs and administration costs. Although I can manage living cost at least, I cannot pay school expenses and I do not have time to go to university because I have to earn money to live. As a result of this situation, the only way is to quit university to manage my money. This may lead me to become a temporary worker like her. What is more, this may connect to death from overwork.

If I pay my school expenses, I must cut the living costs. One efficient way is moving to cheaper residence but I do not have enough money to move to another house. That is why I will be a net café refugee. Anne Allison shows that it is difficult for young people to receive welfare because they can still work. On the other hand, some think that “being young is not a reason for denying someone welfare” (p.56). I belong to a young generation so I will not receive any welfare. Therefore, I can only rely on my friends. It is important to have connectedness. But if I rely too much on my friends, I will lose them and my credit. Regaining trust is difficult and it takes a long time. When I lose connectedness, I need some support from others. Then an “Independent life support center” is instrumental for me to find independence. Allison says finding independence is hard.

To sum up my opinion, if I am earning minimum wage, I cannot manage my living costs so I try to make a living by cutting down my rent. There are possibilities to be a net café refugee. I would face many struggle in terms of human relations.

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The struggles of living on minimum wage in Japan

by Natsuki Ota

A number of people who cannot have a particular job because of a poor skill of relationship and who are junior or senior high school graduates is rising in recently precarious Japan. This means that many employees work as irregular workers, and live with a low wage, which is minimum wage or close to it. I will show that what life people spend in Japan if they earn minimum wage. First, it connects to losing one’s identity. Second, it is difficult to pay for rent for a home. Finally, they cannot support their family.

If they become a temporary worker due to problem of human relationships, they feel no ibasho and lose identity. As Amamiya said in Anne Allison’s Precarious Japan, if a Japanese person has no affiliation (shozoku), they feel psychic turmoil: “this is what companies once provided and still do for a few seishain (regular workers): a steady salary, protection if there is a crisis, and, every bit as important, an identity.”

It is easy for irregular workers who do not have shozoku and ibasho to feel ikizurasa (hardship of life) and lose their identity. Also, Amamiya described “it is (dis)belonging – no recognition or acceptance by others (shonin) – that troubles the young Japanese today.” (Anne Allison, 2013, P.65)

People are not able to afford to live in permanent housing are, according to Anne Allison, the “drifting poor.” These “people who, [are] essentially homeless, take up temporary residence in internet cafes or manga kissa (comic book café)” (Anne Allison, 2013, P.44). Most of these people are flexible workers who earn minimum wage. As struggles of living in these places, not only that they unable to rest enough, but also their relationships are decreasing.

Minimum wage also cannot support a family. This means that it leads family to divorce and having no connection. This may link to solitary death. Furthermore, it has big impact on education because going to university costs them a large of money. However, education is very important in everything, particularly job-hunting. If children are unable to go to school or college due to poverty, a circle of poverty results. The Japanese situation will not improve as long as this lasts.

In conclusion, if people make minimum wage in Japan, some struggles of living arise. They come to feel ikizurasa and lose identity. And connection is lack because being a temporary residence and breaking family. The condition that children are not able to get a good education make a circle of poor. It is hard to live with minimum wage in Japan.

(Reference)

Anne Allison (2013). Precarious Japan. Duke University Press. (pp.43-76)

 

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Living on minimum wage in Japan

by Tomomi Hosokawa

In Japan, minimum wage is about 760 yen on average (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 2013). This is low compared to other developed countries. This is one of the factors of poverty in Japan. If I must live with minimum wage in Japan, I would struggle with both physical and mental pain. For example, a woman in the book Precarious Japan is a temporary worker, and she gets less than 50,000 yen a month. She was in bad health, but she could not go to hospital. In addition, that woman could not receive welfare because she was young and seen as healthy enough to work. This is directly related to life. If I am a temporary worker like her, I will also suffer from the anxiety of losing a job. Companies usually dismiss low-wage workers like temporary workers. If I was fired, I could not rent a room and I would not have enough money to find a new job. I have no choice but to be turned adrift. In this case, it is difficult to rely on family or friends because I do not want them to know about my situation. Also, I do not want to trouble them.

Many people are suffering from this problem in Japan. How can this be solved? According to Anne Allison (2013, p.58), “Making the lives and circumstances of such people visible in and to the public is part of Yuasa’s wider agenda in his reverse poverty”. I agree with this opinion because this will be the connection to the society. If they can feel someone understand them, they will be relieved. Also, community will begin to face this problem if they notice that.

However, I believe it is the obligation of government to make the situation of such people be seen and solve the problem. This is because government is one of the factors of this. They set the minimum wage lowest in the developed countries. In addition, only the people who passed strict requirement can receive welfare. They have responsibility to share and come to grips with this problem to make the connection to the society for them.

References

Allison, Anne. (2013). Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (2013) http://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/koyou_roudou/roudoukijun/minimumichiran/index.html

 

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