WATANABE KATSUMI

2015年04月11日

THE WEEK - Tokyo demimonde

THE WEEK
Tokyo demimonde

The Japanese street photographer Watanabe Katsumi probably never heard of Twitter, which debuted the year he died, in 2006. He probably never imagined that his portraits from the 1960s and 70s of the denizens of Kabukicho, the red-light district in Tokyo's Shinjuku neighborhood, would be floating around the digital ether long after his death. But a few weeks ago three Yakuza gangsters landed in my Twitter feed, swaggering and grinning like ghostly visitors from another world, and I went about searching for more of Watanabe's ghosts.

Kasutori culture
The heyday of what was known as kasutori culture − named after an eye-watering moonshine made from the dregs of sake − was as fleeting as it was revolutionary. But its essence lived on in Watanabe's Kabukicho, where the low life was the expression of a fallen kind of freedom.  <Ryu Spaeth>

THE WEEK



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