TOKYO MINOWA MINAMISENJU 2017 Autumn 23 photographers
Under a blue autumnal sky, completely clear after the passing of two typhoons in short succession, 23 photographers gathered in the Minowa and Senju areas of Tokyo.
Here and there are railroads and the remnants of railways long gone. Off in the distance, the silvery-white Tokyo Sky Tree strikes an imposing presence.
The most famed ‘pleasure quarter’ in the Edo Era (Yoshiwara) is located very near to Minowa. Undergoing changes through the subsequent Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras, it is now, at the end of the Heisei era, surrounded by typical houses and apartments.
In area right next to it, long home to cheap accommodation for manual laborers, are scores of hostels and dorms catering to foreign tourists that have suddenly cropped up.
The once most prosperous shopping arcade in the area, its job complete, now strikes a lonely scene, its roof open to the azure sky above. Another arcade nearby has somehow survived, perhaps owing to the last surviving line in the once-extensive Toden streetcar system.
On the shutter of the fishmonger’s across from the shop in this arcade where I was born and raised, a single piece of paper appeared one day: “Business closed.”
Next to that was the clothing store, also now shut. The electrical goods store across the way closed its doors, too – the man who ran it moved the store and is now living in Machiya to the north.
The scenery I recall looking out on from the inside of our shop as a young boy now seems but an illusion.
It had been some time since I walked the length of the arcade. While it is true many shops had closed, new ones had also sprung up.
Perhaps it was due to the brilliant autumn sunshine, but people on the streets turned towards my camera lens with a smile. It appears that the photography gods come and visit this place sometimes.
After all, the renowned photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, who spent his childhood playing in the cemetery of the Jokanji Temple, was born right here in Minowa.The final photo in this collection is the location where Araki's former birthplace stood.