You see these kinds of stories on the news and can’t help but wonder how can a person survive and entire year unnoticed?
A homeless woman lived in a man’s closet for over a year unnoticed. She made herself a tiny dwelling in his closet, complete with a bed. She would go out to get food from his fridge and even take showers when he was out of the house.
What was the Story of the Homeowner?
In Japan, a 57-year-old man was bothered that food was constantly missing from his fridge. He thought he had gone insane and that there was a paranormal spirit in his home.
He’s been living alone for quite some time and has become quite cautious. Convinced that he was a victim of burglary, he installed security cameras that would send images to his phone when there was movement in the house without him knowing. This was in addition to the extra locks on the windows and doors.
He was not ready for what he saw. Instead of a hardened criminal, the thief stealing his food was a middle-aged homeless woman. She had been living in his closet for several months, and practically made a little home within the confined space. (Source: The Guardian)
Who was the Homeless Woman and How Did She Survive a Year Going Unnoticed?
The 58-year-old woman, by the name Tatsuko Horikawa was able to survive a year in the closet by getting food from the homeowner’s fridge. She would even take showers when he was gone, that she was described to be unusually neat and clean when she was caught. She hadn’t stolen any valuables or money during her stay. (Source: The Guardian)
How was the Woman Able to Get Into the House?
Homelessness is not really a problem in Kasuya, Japan. It looks like Horikawa really needed a place to live in at the time. She had been living in the house ever since the homeowner forgot to close his front door. (Source: The Guardian)
How was the Woman Caught?
Upon seeing the footage, the homeowner immediately alerted the police. They arrested the woman on suspicion of trespassing.
“We searched the house checking everywhere someone could possibly hide. When we slid open the closet, there she was, nervously curled up on her side,” explained the local police spokesperson. The police also mentioned that the woman may have stayed in other residences in the area. (Source: The Guardian)
What is the Current State of Homelessness in Japan?
In 2017, there were about 5,534 homeless people in Japan. Most homeless cases in the 1990s are often caused by the failure to pay loans or because of corporate restructuring. There are several organizations in Japan that cater to help the homeless.
The Tsukuroi Tokyo Fund, aims to provide proper housing, and employment to those who have been displaced. The organization runs a shelter called the Tsukuroi House and actively builds living space on abandoned and vacant homes for those in need.
While the homeless population virtually invisible, this should not stop the government from finding solutions to the economic and financial issues that cause their homelessness in the first place. (Source: Borgen Project)