I came to Tokyo for the first time in the spring of 2006. My girlfriend Sara had got a job there, and so I decided to move with her to explore the city in which she had grown up. It was a society I had never experienced before, one of which I had little knowledge and to which I had no real sense of relationship.

Initially I felt invisible. Each day I would walk the streets without anyone making eye contact with me. Everyone seemed to be heading somewhere — it was as they had no need of communication. Most mornings I would take the Chuo-line from Nakano to Shinjuko, and even though the train would be packed with salary-men and school girls in uniform, I rarely heard a word being spoken.

Though Tokyo and its people seemed unreachable, I felt drawn to the tight and confined reality of the metropolis. My feeling of isolation and loneliness was overwhelming — it was something I had to find a way to change.

And so I began taking my pocket camera out with me on the streets and in the parks. Rather than focusing on the impressively tall buildings and the eternal swarm of people , I began searching for the narrow paths and the individual human presence in the city that felt both attractive and repulsive at the same time. I wanted to meet the people , to get involved in the city, to make Tokyo mine.

The pictures in this book are a recording of what I saw and the people I met during the following eighteen months.

— Jacob Aue Sobol


I, Tokyo
by Jacob Aue Sobol
Hardcover: 108 pages
32.5 x 23.4 cm
Publisher: Dewi Lewis
ISBN: 978-1904587682