The need for shelter is fundamental; the desire to have a home of one’s own is strong. Among Japan’s homeless population-according to recent government estimates there are some 7,500 homeless in Japan-there are those living in Japan’s city parks whose dwellings are made from synthetic tarpaulins, cardboard boxes and other scavenged detritus. However modest or makeshift, these homes epitomize their makers’ humanity, dignity and ingenuity.

Tokyo’s park dwellers maintain some sense of community despite their daily struggle and co-exist with regular park goers to whom they’re mostly invisible, their pallid lives colored primarily with the blue of their pervasive tarpaulin sheets.

There are people who do care and offer assistance: in Tokyo, Sanyūkai is a nonprofit organization that helps the city’s thousands of homeless people through its healthcare, outreach and legal aid services. Sanyūkai  gladly accepts donations.

This series of photos, taken in Tokyo, was inspired by a post I wrote recently, which was inspired by a photo I took that is now a part of this series.