Q: Should noisy and dirty streets where youngsters hang out be eliminated?
A: The city center needs places to accommodate different types of youngsters to hang out. Sweeping them away can lose the vibrancy of the area.
Near Tenjin, the center of Fukuoka City, there is a street with a unique name called Oyafuko Street – meaning the street lacking filial piety attracts young people with this unique name. Even though the area’s environment has changed, the area’s stakeholders work actively to attract young clientele and keep the area clean and safe.
Entertainment Area Redevelopment – Oyafuko Street
There is a street with a unique name, not far from Tenjin, the center of Fukuoka City, approximately 350 meter-long, leading to Nagahama Boat Basin, a part of Hakata Port. It is called Oyafuko Street. Oyafuko means lack of filial piety. People started calling the street this name because the street was full of students who attended two major local preparatory schools for university entrance exams from the 1970s to 1990s. Going to these preparatory schools gave their parents an extra financial burden – considered a lack of filial piety.
The name Oyafuko attracted many adolescents, not only from Fukuoka but also from Kyushu Region. Many shops catering to young people were established, such as boutiques, amusement arcades, bars, and discotheques. At the same time, problems such as noise, littering, graffiti, fighting, and harassment on the street and Nagahama Park at the north of the street emerged.
In the 1990s, a police box was placed, but the situation did not change much. Fukuoka City Government looked into the closure of the park at night due to the complaints from the local residents on the problems above, and the police even asked not to use the name Oyafuko Street, which had attracted the young people. But the local shop owners opposed asserting that it would detract from the vibrancy of the area and that the closure of the park would not solve the problem at the fundamental level. The city government transformed the park with ensured visibility, and local stakeholders started patrolling and cleaning the park and the street.
Time has passed, and these preparatory schools, which were the origin of the name of the street, are now gone due to the competition with other schools from Tokyo and the diversification of university entry selection. Young people’s action sphere shifted to the south, closer to Tenjin, but the area still caters to young people. Being very close to Tenjin, the area has turned into an area with restaurants, karaoke studios, hotels, anime shops, and residential buildings.
The stakeholders in the area, such as the residents and shop owners with the local authority and the police, formed the area management council in 2016, starting with the pavement renovation of the street. The council is active not only in patrolling and cleaning the park and the street but also in other activities to make the area vibrant, such as organizing an event at the park and introducing a food truck.
[Case ID: Urban Renewal UR-05]