Old Tokyo rust and dirty looks from an old Tokyo resident.
On February 11th, which is National Foundation Day, several groups from the far right pay their respects at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine with a parade of sorts and an official Shinto service. By far the most significant gathering, at least in terms of numbers anyway, is the troop pictured below. A ragtag bunch of characters that I’ve been photographing for quite a few years now — some of the results of which can be seen here.
And this Monday, as ever, was no different, with the same flags, and to be fair, the same respectful solemnity. There were several of the same old faces too. The overall number of participants, on the other hand, was very noticeably down. Now whether that is significant or not I really don’t know, but for a date and event that is clearly so important, it seems an odd one to miss.
An outbreak of flu perhaps, or maybe even an outbreak of common sense? A mystery that might be a little clearer next year. But until then, here are just a few photos from an especially cold and grey day.
Outside Japan’s main cities and popular tourist destinations, the country’s well documented low birth rate and rapidly ageing population are there for all to see. In Tokyo, on the other hand, these changes are often only recognisable in one or two older areas, and even then it can depend on the time, or indeed the day of the week.
When they are noticeable, however, it’s sometimes possible to encounter these societal shifts in a single scene. A moment that is suggestive of the past, but very likely says a lot more about the future.