Resourceful Homeless Japanese Woman
By James Donahue
In 2008 police in Fukuoka, Japan, arrested Tatsuko Horikawa, then 58, for trespassing after she lived
secretly in a private home for about a year.
The occupant of the house became suspicious after he noticed food missing from his refrigerator and
thought he had been burglarized. He said he installed security cameras and caught images of a woman walking around in his
house while he was away.
Officer Hiroki Itakura said: "we searched the house, checking everywhere that someone could possibly
hide. When we slid open the closet door, there she was, curled up nervously on her side."
Horikawa said she found the house unlocked one day and took up residence in the cupboard, which the
owner rarely used.
There was a large overhead shelf in the cupboard, designed to store bedding and mattresses. To make
it comfortable, Horikawa laid out a thin futon. She also kept plastic bottles of water. There was just enough room for her
to lie quietly on the futon, hiding while the owner was in the house.
She had lived this way successfully for about a year before she was discovered, authorities said.
The woman used the shower and toilet, but police said no personal items had been stolen.