- Kabukichō, Tokyo
nihongo|Kabukichō|歌舞伎町 is an entertainment and
red-light districtin 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 kabukitheater: 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.
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, 2008show. [ [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)]
Many of Japan’s infamous
yakuzaand 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 Ishiharahas 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
In the Miso Soup", novel by Ryu Murakami.
*"Dreaming Pachinko", novel by
*"Kabukichō No Joō", song by
The School of Water Business", novel by Hikaru Murozumi
*"", an RPG by
*"Ugly Americans", novel by
*"This article uses the translation of the corresponding Japanese-language Wikipedia article, retrieved on
August 11, 2006."
* [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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