• by Dan Abbe
  • Special To The Japan Times

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The year 1968 saw a wide range of actions directed against the Japanese government: Universities were occupied, protesters demonstrated en masse against Japan’s complicity in the Vietnam War and students mobilized to stop the transportation of Vietnam-bound jet fuel through Shinjuku Station. A quieter, though equally radical, event could be added to this list: the publication of a slim, independent magazine of photography and essays called Provoke.

Streetlights burn white holes into one of the images inside; the unlit pavement in the foreground is a nearly even tone of black. This photograph, by Takuma Nakahira, of a city at night stands out among the collection. It is a study in harsh contrast. Nondescript men in suits linger to the right of the frame, and a couple of cars are visible on the left. There is practically nothing else in the image — except for a placard above the cars that spells out a single word: “Empire.”

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PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)