Lonely Japanese millennials are setting their sights on a new type of living space

Pictured is World Neighbors Gokokuji, a social apartment complex in central Tokyo.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

  • Communal living spaces known as social apartments are gaining popularity among Japanese millennials.
  • They seek out shared living arrangements for affordable housing, as well as for company — some residents even meet their significant others living in this type of arrangement.
  • Business Insider Japan visited one of these social apartments, located in central Tokyo.

  • In central Tokyo, you’ll find “World Neighbors Gokokuji.”

    The “social apartment” is a multicultural, communal living environment that attracts those in their 20s and 30s. It used to be a college dormitory for female students.

    Global Agents, the operator of the social apartment, enjoyed revenue growth over the past year. In the year that ended March 31, 2017, its revenues increased by 40%.

    “Our target is those in the millennial generation because they want a rational and economic way of living, like sharing a larger space in a large shared apartment,” said Yukie Yoshida, from the communication design department at Global Agents.

    We visited World Neighbors Gokokuji to see the way millennials want to live:

    The social apartment houses about 170 residents, including a New York-born businessman and local Japanese university students.

    The social apartment’s communal living space, where residents can use free wifi.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

    Social apartments are gaining popularity in Tokyo and other major cities in Japan largely thanks to Japanese millennials who seek racial and cultural diversity among their neighbors. At World Neighbors Gokokuji, up to 30% of the residents are non-Japanese.

    Residents include an American English tutor living in Japan, and Japanese university students.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

    Since the earthquake in March 2011 that jolted northeastern Japan, crippled a nuclear power plant, and killed more than 15,000 people, younger people have seemed to want to live closely with others in a community to avoid feeling lonesome, Yoshida said.

    Residents can choose to maintain some privacy with a single room.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

    “One more remarkable thing about social apartments is that you see many couples in the community,” Yoshida added.

    A co-working space in the social apartment.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

    “Some residents find their partners here,” Yoshida said of the social apartment. “In this isolated, high-tech society, it might be hard nowadays for Japanese millennials to search for their partners.”

    The social apartment’s communal kitchen area.Shunsei Takei/Business Insider Japan

    Read the original article on Business Insider Japan. This story originally appeared on Business Insider Japan and has been translated from Japanese. Copyright 2017. Follow Business Insider Japan on Twitter.

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