Would You Live In A Jiko Bukken?

Jiko Bukken: key hanging from a door knob

Finding a safe, well-maintained, and reasonably priced home in Japan takes a lot of work. The more things you need an apartment to have, the more likely you are to run into trouble of one sort or another. So when you find an apartment that has a lot of amenities but a very cheap price tag, that instantly raises the question: why? Nine times out of ten, the reason for the location’s low price tag is that it is a jiko bukken.

What is a Jiko Bukken?

A jiko bukken (事故物件) is known in English as a stigmatized property. It may also be referred to as a shinriteki kashi bukken (心理的瑕疵物件) or “property that may cause psychological harm.” Generally speaking, what this means is that, while there is nothing currently wrong with the apartment/location physically, there is something “off” about it that could make living there less than ideal.

while there is nothing currently wrong with the apartment/location physically, there is something “off” about it

Right away, most people assume that there was a death in the house, be that by suicide, murder, accident, or natural causes, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Other more common reasons for a property being listed as a jiko bukken include:

  • Damage: Any building that has had a history that includes fires, flooding, asbestos removal, gas leaks, mold, animal infestations, and so on.
  • Location: Constructed over an old well or spring, located near a waste treatment facility, chemical plant, tourist destination (noise issues), graveyards/crematoriums, or high road traffic/accident areas.
  • Criminal Involvement: Having been owned/located near known criminal gangs, or was used as a base for non-violent crime (a brothel, drug den, phishing scam office, etc).
  • Human Issues: It may have been owned by a cult, had ownership problems complications (inheritance/estate sales), was owned by …continue reading