August 25, 2020
JAPAN - Broken Hands
Seventeen years later.
After college I lived in Japan for four years. This would be '90 to '94-ish. I photographed like a madman and envisioned myself as a neo Robert Frank. Except in Japan.
I lived in the Osaka area for three of those years and spent a lot of time photographing a neighborhood there known for its large homeless population and semi-annual riots. At the time I wanted to show the suffering that lived in the shadows of Japan's economic miracle. Viewed today it all seems pretty naive, but I learned a lot in the process. And I saw an aspect of Japanese society most Americans don't.
But then I got on a plane, went back to the states, and began a new life. The photos I shot in Airin-cho never really became anything, and I'm not sure that they should. I'm not the same person who took those photos anymore.
In 2009 I had an opportunity to go back to Japan and added a few days to revisit my old life in Osaka. I went back to the center where unemployed men picked up their government checks and remembered a photo I'd shot nearly 20 years prior:
Some things change. Some don't.