I have lived in Kyoto for 40 years, and the attraction never desists. The temples and shrines, fun quarters, the elegant restaurants and rows of quaint old houses are just the start. The fusion of old and new and the historical significance are also fascinating. I think it is all quite excellent.
As a photographer, I am particularly drawn by the faces of the people engaged in their everyday toils and even the dregs at the bottom, and the instant the community’s “social unconsciousness” reveals itself is what appeals the most. This is also evident in special occasions such as festivals and conflagrations. However, it is the mundane world that intrigues me the most.
If I meet an elderly person in the street I will stop without thinking. I am moved at scenes of forlorn people in their twilight years on the riverbank in the coolness of evening. Children donating money to a begging Buddhist priest, tinkers negotiating a fair price for fixing pots and pans are all things that strike a chord in me. After taking photographs for many years at certain times I became party to many unexpected secrets. For example, the adoring couple who run the dango dumpling shop who are looked upon with great amusement by the gossiping people of the neighborhood. The more underground information I hear, the more I neglect my real job and become preoccupied with photography. I have even been so lucky to see renowned calligraphers and even national living treasures dressed in padded kimonos taking their regular walks and frequenting the shopping markets.
In this exhibition about “the backstreets of Kyoto” I have not only included photos I took in the backstreets but images that I captured in the town from 1975~2007. They are all my favorites on display.