Social Exclusion, Body, and Movement : Yoseba Day Laborers in Postwar Japan
Jieun KIM (University of Leeds)
11 April 2019
In postwar Japan, certain districts in major cities have been administered separately as day laborers’ enclaves. Known as yoseba today, these enclaves have served to contain day laborers, while offering them services specialized for their needs, from employment to housing. Since the collapse of the financial bubbles in the 1990s, it was also in these enclaves where homeless and jobless laborers gathered and large homeless shelters were built. This talk aims to reconsider the notion of “social exclusion,” which has become a common term applied to discuss yoseba and homelessness in Japan, by focusing on the bodies of day laborers and their movement across space. Drawing on ethnographic and historical research on a yoseba district in Yokohama, I will trace the movements of the (non)working bodies, body parts, and dead bodies of yoseba men. This exercise will help us grasp how social exclusion involves moving the body across spatial boundaries while re-establishing social boundaries, and how initiatives to resist social exclusion involves tackling these boundaries in creative ways.