Tokyo Gate Bridge

If there was a defined edge to the city of Tokyo, this would be it. Tokyo Gate Bridge is the furthest public highway built out into Tokyo bay. The island on the horizon is Chuo Bohatei, Tokyo’s largest landfill, which is reaching the edge of the municipality’s border. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. The image is also an optical illusion: can you tell if the bridge piers are getting thinner or taller the further away they are? Click on the image for a larger view.

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The levee along Edogawa or Edo river is 10m or 30 ft. above the river course. The land on the other side is near sea level. The population density for this Tokyo ward is 13,900 people/km² or 35,900 people/sq. mi. Millions of people are protected from riverine flooding by these structures. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Jyonanjima Seaside Park is built on an artificial island in Tokyo bay. Since this island lies on not only the busiest shipping route into Tokyo harbor, but also along one of the flight paths to Haneda International Airport, its popularity is surprising. And while it is one of the few places residents of the city can enjoy a sand beach, the water is too hazardous to allow swimming. Click on the image for a larger view. This is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape.

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Shitamachi is literally “downtown.” Its connotation is that of an unchanging working-class neighborhood populated by Edokko, or Tokyoites. Tokyo has a reputation as Japan’s modern city, yet sections seem to miss the constant development. Yanaka, just north of Ueno park, is probably one of the most recognized Shitamachi.

While Yanaka is well within the modern Tokyo today, that was not always the case. The Great Fire of Meireki in 1657 destroyed 65% of Tokyo, then called Edo, and claimed over 100,000 lives. Thought to have started in a temple, the Tokugawa Shogunate moved many temples outside the city to the north. Yanaka was one of the towns created from that migration. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Photobook Showcase

We have just received copies of our new book Tsukiji: Tokyo Fish Market Suite. It is a small 48 page book with 40 images documenting a day at the world’s largest fish market in Tokyo. The Tokyo metropolitan government has had long-term plans to close this market and this book is my homage to this place. The book will debut at the Griffin Museum of Photography during their Photobook Showcase this Sunday and we will have more about this title at Hakusan Creation soon.

The Griffin Museum of Photography will be hosting events around publishing and the photo book on March 26th. From 10 am to 1 pm, Viginia Swanson will be hosting To Be Published, or Self Publish? From 2 pm to 4 pm, self-publishers, including us, will be showing their work during the Photobook Showcase. We hope to see you there.

Tsukiji: Coming Soon

Naomi and I are pleased to announce our next book: Tsukiji: Tokyo Fish Market Suite. This 48 page soft cover book shows the inside of the world’s largest fish market. Tokyo Metropolitan Government has plans to relocate the market because of its aging 1935 infrastructure. This collection of 41 photographs pays homage to this remarkable place. The book will be released at the end of March. Click on the image for a larger view.

Fish as Big as Dragons

Dragons are creatures of water, dwelling in the ocean, rivers, clouds, and rain. tokyo_fish_like_dragonsKoi carp are symbols of strength and perseverance. In ancient times, a school of Koi came to a huge waterfall while swimming upstream. The fish tried to jump the falls to continue their journey. Seeing their struggle, a demon made the falls higher out of malice. The fish did not give up. After a year of striving, one fish managed to reach the top. The gods, impressed with its determination, turned it and the fish that followed into a golden dragons. These Koi are in a pond in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Click on the image for a larger view.

New Years in Tokyo

tokyo_new_years_dayNew years in Japan is a rich event. Millions of Japanese visit shrines and temples. One of the largest temples in Tokyo and one of the busiest is Senso-ji in Asakusa. This temple is famous for its gate. What it is little known for is one of the shortest rituals of the new year celebration, moja-okuri. Click on the image for a larger view.