This is a series of articles featuring photographs taken across several trips to Japan spanning 2008-2018.
Japan is a fascinating country with a unique culture, language, history and people. Geographically, it is a set of islands located to the east of the Asian continent, separated by the Sea of Japan. Its closest neighbours are Korea (North and South), China and Russia. The culture was initially influenced by Chinese traditions but over time has evolved to be a unique culture unlike any other and the country has had many periods of self imposed isolation from the rest of the world.
In the 20th century, Japan embarked on a program of military conquest and colonisation in an effort to exert control and influence and to create an empire over much of Asia and the Pacific, before being defeated in World War II through the use of atomic bombs. Since then, the country has undergone a period of remarkable growth, modernisation and transformation. Today, Japan is a tantalising blend between old and new, traditional and modern.
I studied Japanese for 3 years and loved the Studio Ghibli movies. I’ve wanted to visit Japan for a long time, and we ended up making 3 trips across 10 years, all around early spring. This series of articles will attempt to show different aspects of Japan, and in some cases how they have changed over 10 years.
Japan’s economy grew rapidly from post World War II and peaked in the 1990s. Since then, Japan’s economy has stagnated, and its population is rapidly ageing (due to low birth rates) and starting to decline. Even so, Japan remains a fascinating place to visit and has many interesting and unique facets that are worth photographing.
Shibuya is a major commercial and retail hub, but also famous for 3 things: Shibuya crossing (the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing), Hachiko the loyal dog, and Shibuya 109 (a fashion mecca for young girls).
Kamakura is a small town popular with tourists because of attractions such as the Hasedera temple located on a hill with great views of the town, the Great Buddha bronze statue and other temples and shrines.
We discovered the Sasuke Inari Shrine by accident while walking around in Kamakura. A set of bright red torii gates lead up a hill into a shrine full of statues of foxes and fox dwellings with families.
Huis Ten Bosch is a gigantic theme park in Sasebo (near Nagasaki) that is intended to be a mini version of Netherlands, including famous buildings such as the Huis Ten Bosch palace, Stadhuis and the Domtoren.
Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period, when the city served as an important rice distribution center. In fact, “Kurashiki” roughly translates to “town of storehouses” in reference to the rice storehouses.
Chris Tham is a co-founder of Visual Voyager Pty Ltd, the Principal Voigtländer Ambassador for Mainline Photographics and a Workshop Instructor for Mainline Photo Academy.
She brings over 35 years of experience as a photographer to her role, starting with a Yashica rangefinder belonging to her dad, joining the Photography Club in school, and developing her own photos.
More recently, Chris has been taking photos during her travels, and as a result has experienced some of the most interesting places in the world.
Chris focuses on nature, street, and urban architecture subjects in her photography.