Image: Andrew Houston
A Japanese Buddhist monk stands at a shuttered steel door.
Since the economic collapse of the early 1990s, the number of homeless people in Osaka has risen to 7,700, with unofficial estimates reaching as high as 10,000. To cater to this itinerant population, cheap hotels charge the equivalent of a few dollars a night – for those who can afford it. For the rest, there are two crowded state-owned shelters. Still, many prefer to sleep on the streets in boxes or homemade huts, since there is no room for their meager belongings in the shelters.