Nagoya – Concerns are growing in Japan as an increasing number of social media videos emerge, targeting and harassing homeless individuals. Advocates are worried about the potential for serious incidents, including assaults, to occur as a result of these videos.
Some of these videos depict homeless people being filmed without their consent and subjected to teasing. Supporters argue that such videos are mocking vulnerable individuals.
In February, Aichi Prefecture’s police submitted papers to prosecutors regarding two individuals, including a girl under the age of 20. They were suspected of breaking into a building after a video, allegedly recorded by them, went viral on social media. The video shows a homeless woman being harassed at a convenience store in Nagoya. The woman is told that she can have anything she wants from the shop, but she is eventually left alone at the cash register, confused and with a shopping basket full of items.
The video was posted in January and received criticism from people who viewed it as a form of bullying. The investigators stated that the two individuals have admitted to their actions, mentioning that they intended for their social media post to go viral, hoping it would increase their number of followers.
It is not uncommon for homeless people to be approached to appear in videos. Last year, a 60-year-old man from Nagoya was featured in seven videos between September and October after being approached by several young individuals. In one instance, he was promised money if he dressed as a woman and walked around town for Halloween, but he was coerced into wearing revealing clothing.
Maki Higashioka, 59, the leader of a Nagoya-based support group for homeless individuals, criticized these videos, stating that they “ridicule people in vulnerable positions and promote discrimination.” Higashioka revealed that some members of their group have been approached with requests to appear in videos. She urged people not to accept such requests without considering the potential consequences.
Daishiro Sasaki, 44, from Tsukuroi Tokyo Fund, an organization that provides housing aid to those in need, noted that videos depicting the lives of homeless people started gaining attention on social media about a year or two ago. Sasaki pointed out that problematic videos, including those recorded without permission, have been on the rise.
Referring to a previous incident in which a homeless person died after being attacked by young individuals, Sasaki expressed concerns that the filming of these videos could lead to similar incidents.
“If people genuinely want to interact with homeless people, I urge them to begin by establishing genuine relationships rather than viewing them as mere content for their cameras,” Sasaki emphasized.
Advocates Raise Concerns over Growing Trend of Harassing Homeless Individuals in Japan
The increasing trend of social media videos targeting and harassing homeless people in Japan has sparked concerns among advocates. Videos capturing these incidents without consent are viewed as demeaning and discriminatory, posing the risk of potential harm to vulnerable individuals. Authorities have taken action against some individuals involved in such videos, highlighting the need for better understanding and empathy towards the homeless community. Organizations and support groups are urging people to build genuine relationships with homeless individuals rather than exploiting them as mere content for viral videos.