Miyu Kojima from Japan has a very unusual job.
This 24-year-old works for “ToDo-Company” whose employees clean the homes of people who have died. Theirs has often been a “lonely death”, known in Japanese as kodokushi.
It’s an increasingly common phenomenon in a country with an ageing population, more elderly people living on their own and fractured connections. Miyu is the only woman and the youngest employee in the 10-person company.
“I mainly clean up these flats, apartments, houses where lonely death had happened and also organise their mementos,” says Miyu, who is in her second year of work at ToDo. On average, those whose homes she cleans, she says, may have been lying undiscovered for a month or two; the longest, eight months. Sometimes, they clean the homes of people who died in hospital, were murdered or committed suicide.
Young Japanese says she and her colleagues have a meeting every morning and then discuss what will be done on that day.
Then a team of six people goes to the assigned location. They usually finish a job around 3pm. Each one brings in $3,000 – $5,000.