JAPAN ACTIVIST TOURS invites you to a tour…

We are organizing a tour to Kotobuki-cho, a site of day laborers and union offices in Yokohama (nearby the site of the International Sociological Association, ISA, meetings). Our goal is to bring activists, scholars and citizens exposure to some of the sites of struggle in contemporary Japan.

(See below for more on ‘Japan Activist Tours’)


The tour will walk participants through the area and give a talk by Kondo Noboru, Director of the Kotobuki Day Laborer Union. The talk with be on the history and current situation of day labor.
English translation will be available (although no fancy headsets, etc).
We will provide a guide and translator.
Kotobuki-cho is known as a yoseba (a black market the provides day labor) and a doyagai (day laborers’ lodging town). While currently, the state of labor fragmentation among especially the young in Japan has become well-known, day labor dates from much before the bubble economy, one of the many buffers that capital corporations retains to protect unexpected labor fluctuation from impinging upon profit margins.
Day: July 18th
Time: 2pm-6:30
Meeting Place: Intercontinental Hotel in Yokohama
Cost: 4,000 yen, which includes a donation of the Union’s workings (plus your own small taxi expenses from the hotel and back)
Max participants: 12
Space is very limited so we will have to work on a first-come-first-serve basis.
For those who wold like to attend, please contact David Slater (dhslater@gmail.com) with “Japan Activist Tours” in the subject line. We will provide detailed meeting information.
But the best place for information on the situation is with Tom Gill’s ‘Men of Uncertainty: The Social Organization of Day Laborers in Contemporary Japan,’ SUNY 2001 and Ted Fowler’s ‘San’ya Blues: Laboring Life in Contemporary Tokyo,’ Cornell 1996, a study located in Shitmachi section of Tokyo.
Gill on Google Books
Fowler on Google Books
A related article by Tom Gill
Survey from 2000 on Kotobuki
A paper on the influx of immigrant labor into the area:

Japan Activist Tours is an international group that organizes tours for study and exposure to different locations of political, social and cultural importance in Japan. While there are many opportunities to see tea ceremony tours or go on trips to Disneyland, our goal is to expose activists, academics and citizens from all countries to different sites in Japanese where groups and individuals are struggling for social justice, equality and voice.

We will periodically organize tours, usually but not always in conjunction with other events that bring people and attention to Japan. We will conduct the tours bilingually, in Japanese and English, whenever possible.  In principle, they will be open to all. If you would like us to create a tour for your group, please contact us.
Japan Activists Tours makes no money from leading these tours, but participants will always be asked to pay for the expenses and for a donation to our different host organizations or NPO (Non-Profit Organization).
If you would like to help us organize tours, we are always happy to collaborate.
Matsumoto Chie, Labor Activist
Matt Noyes, Meiji University
David H. Slater, Sophia University