There are old apartments near Okubo Station on the JR Yamanote Line. These are a remnant of the dark side of Shin-Okubo’s history.
When you go south of Okubo Station along to the train line, there are three two-story apartments. These are the Hyakunin-cho public apartments. These are very old with graffiti on the walls. The first floor is used as offices or working places, and second floor is residential houses.
These apartments were built for squatters and poor people because of the slum clearance to open the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964. There were many slummy flophouses around there, where day-laborers and zainichi Koreans lived after WWII.
This apartment complex’s official name is Shinjuku Ward-Operated Hyakunin-cho Work Lodgings. Shinjuku ward built these for squatters to work and live in temporarily. It is said that rent fees per month are only 2300 – 6600 yen. These apartments have more than 50 years of history, but are so cheap to rent in the middle of Tokyo!
Most of residents are zainichi Koreans (permanent ethnic Korean residents of Japan).
In the mailboxes on the wall, Korean family names are written. 18 of the 23 rooms are still used now and most residents are very old.
These were built for the purpose of independence from poverty for squatters, but it seems to have become their permanent homes. How long will these apartments last in future?
A new Scientology building was built next to this apartment complex in 2015.
The contrast between the new and old buildings is very interesting.
[How to go] a 3 minute walk from Okubo Station (大久保駅) on the JR Yamanote Line (山手線)
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