"Even before I was a photographer, during my teen years, by chance in a library I came across a book entitled 'Year 11 of the Showa Era' and saw a major exhibition '1920s Japan' and these piqued my interest in pre-war urban landscapes and avant-garde art. I was born in Tokyo so the idea of the old Imperial City Tokyo which was devasted during the blitz seemed to be like a lost world and, rather than a nostalgic place, it was beautifully mysterious and ominous.
I started searching in old bookshops and flea markets for old postcards to discover the lost city, and this turned up some strange items. Photographs of unusual garishly-coloured streetcars. What were they? By way of description in addition to 'Hanadensha' some cards read 'On the Imperial Accession' and 'In Celebration of Reconstruction of the Imperial City', 'Celebration of Year 2600 of the Modern Epoch' so the Handensha (literally: Flower Car) seemed to be carriages operated for specific events. All laid out with bright decoration, illuminations, flags, flowers and lanterns, leaving little room for passengers, they seemed to be exuberantly kitch. Hanadensha appeals to mein its anarchic excess which brings to mind the contemporary long-distance decorated trucks and cars of the bosozoku riders. I was seduced by their strange beauty."
-Excerpt Takehiko Nakafuji Hanadensha Postcards
Published by Zen Foto Gallery in 2010 Hanadensha Postcards brings together the individual collections of pre-war commemorative postcards owned by Photographer Takehiko Nakafuji and Photography critic Kotaro Iizawa. Held within a paper slipcase, the selection of 21 postcards have been made available as two seperate gatefold publications. The reproduced postcards illustrate the various decorative floats used in celebration of various events commonly seen in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka from the late Meiji period to the early Showa era. Used during the expansion era of Japan's Imperial State, the various designs include Chinese and Western influences providing a glimpse into Japan's imperial past.
This publication contains texts by both Takehiko Nakafuji and Kotaro Iizawa. All text available in Japanese, Chinese and English.