To express his conflicting feelings towards his native city Takehiko Nakafuji has produced two intense portraits of Tokyo separated by a chasm of 15 years, in the years 1995 and 2010.

Nakafuji is part of the great Japanese photographic tradition depicting the city in gritty black and white. But for many years his work has concentrated on places like Eastern Europe and Russia rather than Japan. Why did he not continue to photograph his native Tokyo, in which so many photographers find their inspiration?

He is a Tokyo boy, a drop-out from one of the top Tokyo universities. One day he showed me his pictures from Tokyo in the 1990s. These photographs are full of energy, voyeuristic, excited with anticipation of the potential pleasures of this city, especially the pleasures of the night. We talked about showing his Tokyo work from his 1995 debut exhibition, and he restarted photographing his home city Tokyo after a gap of 15 years.

In his photographs from 2010. The mood is now dark and nightmarish, with hints of madness. Tokyo has changed. Nakafuji has changed. And we the viewers have changed. The fizz of the great Japanese Bubble has gone flat.

Nakafuji's terrible vision is that the souls of the human inhabitants have been torn out, and subsumed into the dark soul of the megalopolis.

Artist Profile


1970年、東京生まれ。早稲田大学第一文学部中退、東京ビジュアルアーツ写真学科卒業。モノクロームの都市スナップショットを中心に作品を発表し続けている。国内の他、近年は東欧、ロシア、キューバなど世界各地を取材。自身の作家活動とともに、四谷三丁目にてギャラリーニエプスを運営。2013年に「HOKKAIDO: Sakuan, Matapaan」にて第29回東川賞特別作家賞、2015年に「Street Rambler」にて第24回林忠彦賞を受賞した。主な出版物に『Enter the mirror』(1997年、モール刊)、『Winterlicht』(2001年、ワイズ出版刊)、『Night Crawler』(2011年、禅フォトギャラリー刊)、『HOKKAIDO: Sakuan, Matapaan』(2013年、禅フォトギャラリー刊)、『White Noise』(2018年、禅フォトギャラリー刊)などがある。

Publications & Prints