Tokyo in the 1970s, Revisited by Photographer Greg Girard

Kabukicho, Tokyo (1977)

Before eateries had English menus; before selfies were snapped at the Robot Restaurant; before tourists in Mario costumes zipped down the streets of Shibuya in go-karts there was a grittier Tokyo. One that photographer Greg Girard describes as “post-war scruffiness combined with a transitional modernity.”

Keiko, Yoyogi Park (1979)

Girard first arrived in Tokyo in 1977 after hearing about it from others during a stint in Hong Kong. Still in his early 20s, Girard fearlessly made his way through Kabukicho, Shinjuku and the Yokosuka U.S. military base, snapping photographs as he encountered what he now describes as pre-bubble artifacts.

“It was just so obvious that it was a kind of science-fiction place – that word just popped into my head looking out the train window at the city,” he explains in the foreword of his new book Tokyo-Yokosuka: 1976–1983. What Girard saw was a city on the precipice of an economic explosion that would catapult it onto the global stage.

You can see more photos on his website and read more about the project in the British Journal of Photography. You can purchase the book here.

Moviegoers in Tokyo emerge from Pasolini’s 120 Days of Sodom (1977)
Yakuza Greeting, Mr. Donuts in Koenji (1979)
Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing, 1976.
Bus Stop (1977)
American Sailor in Bar (1976)
Club USA, Kabuki-cho, Tokyo (1976)
Platform Conductor, Ikebukuro Station, 1976
Tokyo, Shinjuku, 5 a.m., 1976.

1 Comment

  1. I lived in Nishinomiya 1970-73 and taught at a private junior-senior high school for women. Yes, it was a different time. It seems like it was the end of the post war years. Most amazing experience! But never have assimilated to US again.
    Love your images and perspective.

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