Tokyo is a city of contrasts, a kaleidoscope of images, where the futuristic present thrives alongside the traditional past. This exhibition presents these multiple faces of Tokyo: student protests, political intrigues, the birth of ‘salarymen’ and their endless workdays, geishas, prostitutes, street orphans, writers, artists, designers and fashionistas. . . all of these characters collide to create this city of layers and contrasts.

Hiroshi Hamaya: Tokyo in the 1930s

The first part of the exhibition will focus on Tokyo in the 1930s through the work of Hiroshi Hamaya. Born in Tokyo, Hamaya began photography in his teens, naturally turning his camera towards the city that surrounded him. He focused particularly on downtown Tokyo and the buzzing entertainment district of Ginza. His photographs of geisha girls, theatres, cafés and street life, capture the energy and spirit of the city in these vibrant years.

Tadahiko Hayashi: Tokyo after the war

The second section of the exhibition deals with Tokyo in the years following the war. Hayashi's images documented the events of the immediate aftermath of the war. While these photographs document the immense physical destruction of the Japanese capital they also capture a sense of optimism and of liberation after years of deprivation and of censorship. Taken from the series Kasutori Jidai (Days in the dregs) these photographs illustrate the hedonism and sense of exhilaration that grew from amongst the rubble.

Shigeichi Nagano: A new Tokyo

The final section of the exhibition presents the modern face of Tokyo, from the 1960s until the end of the century. Less than two decades after the end of the Pacific War, Tokyo had become the capital of an economic superpower and the city saw itself being radically transformed. More than any photographer, Nagano has captured the changing face of Tokyo over the past 50 years. His images are a fascinating collection of urban fragments that contain the essence of their time.

— Marc Feustel


The exhibition will include approximately 100 original vintage and early prints. In addition to these prints, it will include historic materials from the different periods treated within the exhibition including exhibition catalogues, layouts, photographic magazines and other publications. The exhibition is curated by Marc Feustel of Studio Equis, in Paris.

Tokyo Stories

Artcurial
7 rue du Rond-Point des Champs Elysées
75008 Paris
8–15 November 2008