Kabukichō, Tokyo

Kabukichō, Tokyo

nihongo|Kabukichō|歌舞伎町 is an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Kabukichō is the location of many hostess bars, host bars, love hotels, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs, and is often called the "Sleepless Town" (眠らない街). The district's name comes from late-1940s plans to build a kabuki theater: although the theater was never built, the name stuck.

The area has many movie theaters, and because it is located near Shinjuku Station, Seibu Shinjuku Station, and several other major railway and subway stations, tickets to its top attractions can be scarce.

History

Originally, the area was known as nihongo|Tsunohazu|角筈 and was a swamp. After the Meiji Period, the area became a duck sanctuary. As the Yodobashi Purification Plant was built in 1893, the ponds were filled in. In 1920, a girl's school was built there, and the surroundings were developed into a residential area. During World War II, the bombing of Tokyo in 1945 razed the area to the ground. After the war, a kabuki theatre was planned to be built there and the town changed its name to Kabukichō. Though the theatre was cancelled due to financial problems, the name remained. Kabukichō was quickly redeveloped after the war, mainly due to the efforts of the overseas Chinese in Japan who bought land left unused after the expos and greatly developed them. Examples of such people include the founder of Humax, Lin Yiwen, who started his business with a cabaret.

At present, Kabukichō has transformed from a residential area to a world famous red-light district housing over three thousand bars, nightclubs, love hotels, and the like. Recently, tourism from China and Korea are on the rise, and so, many tourists can be seen in Kabukichō even during daytime.

The Shinjuku Koma Theater has been a landmark in Kabukichō. Now in its third building, it has hosted concerts and other performances by top stars, including "enka" singers Saburō Kitajima, Kiyoshi Hikawa, and actor Ken Matsudaira. The management has announced that the will close after the December 31, 2008 show. [ [http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/080528/trd0805281851009-n1.htm 「演歌の殿堂」新宿コマ、今年限りで閉館 (1/2ページ) - MSN産経ニュース] (Retrieved May 28, 2008)]

Crime

Many of Japan’s infamous yakuza and Triad are to be found in this area, although they may be difficult to detect by foreigners and native Japanese alike. Also, as of recently, the Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has cleared the area of the Triad mostly on visa violations. The void has been filled by African (mostly Nigerian) criminal syndicates. According to a spokesperson of Metropolitan Tokyo in 2004, there are more than 1,000 yakuza members in Kabukichō, and 120 different enterprises under their control.2004年1月19日竹花東京都副知事発言・歌舞伎町住民との懇談会]

Entering the new millennium, laws were more strictly enforced and patrols became more frequent. These, adding to the installation of fifty closed-circuit cameras in May 2002, reduced criminal activities in Kabukichō, amidst controversy.

Crimes caused by illegal immigrants are also a problem, but since the bureau set up an office in Kabukichō in 2003, the number of illegal immigrants here has decreased drastically.

In 2004, the police undertook an operation clamping down on illegal clubs and brothels, causing many to go out of business. Also, there is a movement to rid Kabukichō of the yakuza, known as the Kabukichō Renaissance.

Kabukichō in the arts

Kabukichō is featured in a number of mediums:
*"Fuyajō", novel by Hase Seishū. Also, a movie based on the novel that was filmed in Kabukichō. [cite web |url=http://imdb.com/title/tt0169929/|title=IMDB entry on the movie "Fuyajō"]
*"A Guide of the Sleepless Town", novel by Lee Xiaomu
*"In the Miso Soup", novel by Ryu Murakami.
*"Dreaming Pachinko", novel by Isaac Adamson.
*"Kabukichō No Joō", song by Shiina Ringo
*"The School of Water Business", novel by Hikaru Murozumi
*"", an RPG by Atlus.
*"Ugly Americans", novel by Ben Mezrich

ee also

References

*"This article uses the translation of the corresponding Japanese-language Wikipedia article, retrieved on August 11, 2006."

External links

* [http://www.kabukicho.or.jp/ @GEHA -- Kabukicho Renewal Alliance] ja icon
* [http://blog.so-net.ne.jp/kabuki-cho/ 歌舞伎町るねっさんすBlog/歌舞伎町ルネッサンスの活動に関する情報等]


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