“Scenes of Last Tokyo" is advertised as an exercise in nostalgia, but is there more to it? It struck me as an odd and slightly unsettling mix of tradition and modernity emerging at an odd and unsettling time (1945) in the history of Japan – something that is as much about the future as the past.
When we look for images of London before the devastation of the Blitz, we invariably look to the photographer's art, but in this collection Tokyo Station and even “The Factory Streets of Haijo" are memorialised in wood block print alongside the more traditional bridges and palaces. It's rather as if artist-craftsmen of the Creative Print movement are lovingly laying out the body and meditating on the features of their dead city for one last time before turning their faces to the future.
This is a lovely, poignant collection that speaks of loss, memory and pain and well worth a visit to view and reflect.