Charity fundraising second-hand store, friendly and open staff, social justice and other reading resources
103, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, 6-11-14 Sotokanda Chiyoda-Ku, 101-0021
Closest stations: Suehirocho, Yushima
Opening times: 11am – 7pm, closed Mondays
This well-known British (and global) social justice charity Oxfam maintains a physical presence near Akihabara in the ex-junior high school turned arts center 3331 Arts Chiyoda. The space is mainly a second-hand daily goods shop with proceeds going to the charity. Ubiquitous in the UK, Oxfam Japan first opened a second hand store in a department store in Kichijoji a few years ago. Due to rising rent the store then moved to the arts space 3331 in 2015.
Aside from being a second hand store with the proceeds to charity, unusual in Japan but common in several countries, the store also serves as a meeting place for like-minded people interested in social justice. There is an interesting bookshelf of materials produced by Oxfam or books compiled by others, in Japanese and English. This includes training presentations for NVC (non-violent communication). You can sit at the table and chairs nearby to read them at your leisure. Aside from the wide and unusual collection of small everyday items and clothes in the store, there are also Oxfam-produced Fairtrade goods on sale and partner products (such as traditional tenegui made in Fukushima).
A good reason to visit the store is to meet Suzuki-san (Yoichi) who often is working there. He has been involved with Oxfam Japan for many years and is a very outgoing, friendly person who loves to chat with the people that come into the store, including in English or other languages. His background in Japanese campaigning is very wide, you can sit down with him to share some tea for a chat about social issues, communication methods and activism. Please say hello. I recommend you contact him before you go if you’d like to meet because he is not there everyday . You can email Suzuki-san at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzuki-san is also leading the social action group Wake Up Japan in his free time, to raise consciousness of social justice with Japanese youth.
Aside from buying items to support Oxfam’s activities you can also donate things to the store for them to sell. However, there are some restrictions. Oxfam at 3331 Arts Chiyoda only accepts donations of small daily life items (such as kitchenware or stationary), bags and other small clothing. This is due to the stores limited space.
The only other Oxfam store in Japan exists in Fukuoka city. Compared to the UK or other countries, Oxfam Japan is much smaller in its reach but it is trying to increase participation through various activities, such as this store. Please ask Suzuki-san to tell you all about these activities if you are curious to know more.