Home helper Takanori Kato

| Jun 24, 2010

Home helper Takanori Kato

Takanori Kato, at age 68, is in his first year as a home helper in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward. Last December, he graduated from a 4-month nursing course and immediately got a job at a nursing home. Since then, he’s been learning the ropes of ...

Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani

| Jun 10, 2010

Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani

Toru Iwatani, 55, is the designer of Pac-Man, the classic video game that virtually kick-started the world market for the video-gaming industry. Released by Namco in Tokyo on May 22, 1980, Pac-Man made history as the first video game that appealed to both genders ...

Geisha Chikako Pari

| May 27, 2010

Geisha Chikako Pari

Chikako Pari, whose stage name is Ichizuru, is the last geisha, also known as geiko, of a small town in Kyoto Prefecture. Her unusual last name, Pari — written in kanji — refers to the city of Paris and her French ancestry, although the ...

Antique dealer Kunihiro Iida

| May 13, 2010

Antique dealer Kunihiro Iida

Antique dealer Kunihiro Iida, 66, specializes in tea ceremony utensils. His tiny corner shop, Iidakojitsudo, is just 500 meters from Tokyo Station’s Yaesu side, in the historical district of Kyobashi. Built in 1971 by the famed carpenter Kisaburo Fujii — who studied under Ogi ...

Meiji delivery people Masayoshi and Haruko Yoshikawa

| Apr 22, 2010

Meiji delivery people Masayoshi and Haruko Yoshikawa

Masayoshi and Haruko Yoshikawa (79 and 73) deliver milk and yogurt to homes in Tokyo’s shitamachi (downtown). Every morning, except Sundays, the two make their rounds carrying dozens of old-fashioned, small glass bottles of Meiji milk to their faithful customers, many of whom have ...

Taxi driver Shahidul Islam Khan

| Apr 8, 2010

Taxi driver Shahidul Islam Khan

Shahidul Islam Khan, 40, is a cab driver at Royal Limousine in Tokyo. Born in Bangladesh, Khan moved to Japan in 1994 and ran a successful import business until 2008 when the economic downturn forced him to close shop and start driving instead. In ...

Nail artist Chieko Ishijima

| Mar 25, 2010

Nail artist Chieko Ishijima

Chieko Ishijima, 25, is the manager of Brilliant Nail Shibuya, a salon next door to the Marui and Seibu department stores, smack in the middle of one of Tokyo’s hubs of young fashion. She quickly painted and sculpted her way to the top of ...

Albion Art President Kazumi Arikawa

| Feb 25, 2010

Albion Art President Kazumi Arikawa

Kazumi Arikawa, 57, is the president of the Albion Art Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. Arikawa is one of the world’s top dealers and collectors of historical jewelry, from the Greco-Roman era to the Art Deco period. He specializes in tiaras and cameos of European ...

Rights activist Chiyoko Tanaka

| Feb 11, 2010

Rights activist Chiyoko Tanaka

Chiyoko Tanaka, 81, is a volunteer lobbyist for the rights of disabled people in Japan. For the past 49 years, together with her daughter, Mariko, she has been working tirelessly to ensure that all people — regardless of the nature of their disabilities — ...

Fruit vendor Takahiko Takahashi

| Jan 28, 2010

Fruit vendor Takahiko Takahashi

Come rain or shine, Takahiko Takahashi, 69, is outdoors joking with customers and packing delicious peaches, mikan (mandarins), nashi (Japanese pears), apples and melons into their shopping baskets. Though he’s a Tokyo fruit vendor, he knows and loves his vegetables, too. He even grows ...