"Circumvention Housing": Increasing Female-Only Housing

 ---Former Resident with Low Income and No One to Depend on---

(Newspaper Article from Mainichi Newspaper Dated August 5, 2013)

With regard to the cramped and dangerous circumvention housing,” female-only 
housing has increased. The leasing agencies and landlords claim that there are 
“fewer troubles than those properties leased to men” and women are being targeted 
in current living situation caused by the severe employment conditions. A 33-year 
old woman who lived one year in such a facility until this March agreed to the 
interview. The size of the rooms is two tatami mat (approx. 3 sq. meters), a poor 
environment with rats and mice running around. However, circumvention housing 
was imperative for survival” she said. But I wonder if there weren’t any other 
alternative.  [Takahiro Kato]

The place the woman lived was a “Women-only Share House” in Kami-ochiai, 
Shinjuku-ku in Tokyo. This housing was renovated from a two-story house
partitioning 14 rooms with walls that dont reach the ceiling. Monthly rent is 
20,000-30,000 yen per room including utilities. This Share House is managed by an 
agency in Ginza, Chuo-ku having some conflicts with the Condominium Management
Association in Edogawa-ku. About 20 properties advertised by this agency on the 
Internet are for women only.

“I get fired from a job easily because of developmental disorder.” The woman reveals
 as she explains that she has been moving from one workplace to another in a month
to a half a year intervals. She also mentions, “I’m not suited to office work because I 
cannot sit still for a long time.” She’s now surviving by doing short-term part-time 
jobs such as telephone sales and food sampling, making about 90,000 yen a month.

Her parents are separated and her relationship with either of them is not very good
She worked in Denmark until February of last year and after returning to Japan, 
she had planned to live with her mother but when she visited her in Kansai, she 
was told“This is my house and I don’t need you here.” The mother was mentally 
disturbed and her house was filled with garbage. The woman had no one else to 
depend on. With 50,000 yen in her hand, she managed to move to Tokyo and found 
an ad on the Internet that read, First month free, no key money or 
deposit necessary.”  

At the time this woman lived at the Share House, there were other women ranging
 in age from 18 to 34 years who had no money to pay deposit or making enough 
income to live in an ordinary apartment for rent. Half of these women worked at night 
in clubs and bars, and the other half, during the day. Even those on a day-shift, most of 
them work part-time and often had panic disorder or other mental disorders.

Last summer the Share House was plagued by outbreaks of rats. If you can 
exterminate the rats, I'm willing to offer you discount rent. This offer was 
extended to the woman by the 38-year-old president of the management company
Each time I caught a rat, I poured olive oil on the rat’s feet stuck to the trap by 
adhesive and released it in a nearby park. Although in such a poor living condition, 
she reflects back and says, “There was a sense of family-like security living there. 
There was a resident with a pale face who ate nothing but okonomiyaki” 
(similar to a pancake) with only cabbage in it. When the woman told this to the 
president of the management company, he flew over and took her out for a meal. 
“He listened to my complaints when I was feeling lonely. Without him, I could 
not have managed to live.”

This article appears in P-WAN as one of a series of articles written by 
T. Kato of Mainichi Newspaper under the topic of Women’s News
Translated and Adapted by Y. Hayami

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