Japan’s ageing demographic and urban migration mean that many of the nation’s smaller towns are slowly, and very visibly dying. Places one can find all over the country, from faded tourist spots to once thriving communities. A seemingly irreversible change that has understandably hit much smaller, and more rural settlements especially hard. Like those in the the photos below, which despite the decline, are only a few hours out of Tokyo.
Our original plan had been to visit some abandoned buildings we knew the location of, but a closed road due to tunnel repairs unexpectedly put paid to that, and with no Plan B in place, we decided to drive round some nearby roads and see what we could find.
That, perhaps unsurprisingly, turned out to be lots more abandoned and long since locked up houses, along with glimpses of what had once been. There were no people out and about, and the few we did see inside their homes were all elderly. A day of exploration that was also contributed to by bright sunshine and some truly ferocious storms, which considering what we saw, seemed wholly fitting.
Completely unconnected, but just a quick mention again of my new book project, Tokyo Conversations, that has very recently gone live on Kickstarter. I’ll do a proper post on it, but in the meantime it’s a collaboration with my friend Giovanni, and is a unique, flip cover, 2-in-1 book featuring 20 colour and 20 monochrome photos. A visual, Tokyo focused back and forth we had over the course of quite a few months.
If that sounds interesting, and you’d like to join in, help us out, and get a book in the process, here’s a link to the campaign: Tokyo Conversations.