In Ashikaga, near my home town © Toru Ukai, 2020
I’ve been engaged in photographing the suburbs of Tokyo in the past two years, though I started my photography as a street photographer clinging to the center of Tokyo. Now I feel a strong sense of ‘centrifugal force’ working in myself. I almost lost interest in urban consumption society. It might be caused partly by my aging. I’m 60.
I feel that Tokyo has already been beyond the permissible range of humanity in every sense of the word. It’s nothing other than a monster circulating goods, services, capital and labor limitlessly without thinking. I found it prosperity when I was young. Now I find it just a chaos. You can enjoy the chaos only if you have enough money to please the monster. Yes, money is a pass to the fantastic world.
Besides, the ‘centrifugal force’ has been stronger by the pandemic recently. At present I hardly go to downtown. Instead, I try to approach the edge of the metropolitan area. Sometimes I take a picture around my hometown which is 80km away from Tokyo. Pictures there can be Chapter 2 of my ongoing project “Whispering in the Suburbs”.
The center to the suburbs. The suburbs to the edge… But it doesn’t mean that eventually I can find a paradise anywhere. It may be just a getaway. In fact, I left my hometown for Tokyo to have a bright future when I was 18. And now I try to escape from Tokyo to my hometown that looks more desolate than ever. In short, my life is kind of like repeated getaways.