The number of foreigners who work in and emigrate to Japan has been increasing rapidly after the 1990 revision of the Immigration Control Law. It formed newcomer foreigner towns all over Japan. These communities are necessary to live for foreigners to live in who can’t understand Japanese.
They tend to live in UR Apartment Lease Systems (public apartment houses built by the Japan Housing Corporation) because it is easier and cheaper to live for foreigners. That is to say, in Japan, some private real estate agencys are unwilling to rent houses to foreigners. The foreigner residents gather relatives and friends, and then immigrants increase one by one.
Shibazono Danchi public apartment complex is located in Kawaguchi city, Saitama, a 7 minute walk from JR Warabi Station. It takes only 30 minutes to Ueno by using the JR Keihin Tohoku Line.
When you walk from Warabi Station to Shibazono Danchi, you can see many Chinese people and Chinese restaurants.
At the entrance of the apartment complex, there is Kawaguchi Shibazono shopping mall.
There is a Japanese super market called Mami Mart (Mammy Mart) and posters are written in both Japanese and Chinese.
There are many Chinese grocery stores and Chinese restaurants. You can eat Chinese dishes like grilled lamb skewers. There is also a Chinese nursery school where children can study Chinese.
Shibazono Danchi was built in 1978 and contains about 2500 houses and 5000 people.
While Chinese residents have increased, Japanese residents have decreased because Japanese dislike the old apartments and the increasing population of Chinese people.
At last, the number of foreign residents was more than the number of Japanese residents in 2015. About more than half the population of this apartment complex is Chinese nowadays. According to some statistics, most of them are Chinese people who came to study and work in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s and one third of them have permanent residency.
Shibazono Danchi apartment complex has 15 separate buildings. It is outstanding that buildings 1, 2, and 3 of the 15-story apartments connect and stretch about 500 meters wide like a folding screen. This long connecting apartment was made to shut out the noise of the passing train.
When you enter inside Shibazono Danchi, you can see many posters which are written in Chinese. Most of them are warinings to Chinese residents. “Don’t sleep and don’t drink alcohol here!”, “Don’t make loud noises!”, “Don’t throw away cigarette buttes!”, “Don’t throw trash from your veranda!” and so on.
The most surprising thing is that there is a poster that says “Don’t shit and pee here!” It suggests that there are some Chinese who shit or pee in the public space of the apartment complex.
In the garbage dumps, there are also many warnings in Chinese. These explain how to separate trash with pictures and Chinese.
It is difficult for people who have different cultures and habits to live near each other. There are numerous troubles between Japanese and Chinese people.
Shibazono Danchi is also famous for being the model setting of the manga “Domu: A Child’s Dream” by Katsuhiro Otomo. Domu is a horrific tale about murder cases in an apartment complex. This manga well conveys the loneliness and strangeness of a huge apartment complex.
[How to go] a 7 minute walk from the West Exit of Warabi Station (蕨駅) on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line
Kawaguchi Shibazono Danchi (川口芝園団地) : 3 Shibazonocho, Kawaguchi city, Saitama (埼玉県川口市芝園町3)
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