Family photos in Japan, especially ones taken for formal occasions such as shichi-go-san (seven-five-three) ceremonies, are often as stiffly posed as 19th-century tintypes, with Mom, Dad and Junior never cracking a smile.

When American photographer Bruce Osborn began taking photos of parents and children in 1982 — his first was of an angelically grinning mom and her casually affectionate punk-rocker son — he started a small revolution that continues today, more than three decades later.

The first thing to go in Osborn's "Oyako" ("Parent and Child") series — more than 4,500 entries to date — was the stiffness. Instead, Osborn captured a natural affection and uninhibited playfulness that may look strange to those who think of Japan as the land of the samurai and their stone-faced salaryman descendants, but nonetheless represents something real, as well as universally human.