Series: Japan 2008-2018 Retrospective

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.

nakajima no ochaya (中島の御茶屋)

Japan: Hamarikyu Garden

Chris ThamAug 12, 20211 min read
Hamarikyu Gardens is a special garden with a tidal pond and a chequered history, located at the mouth of the Sumida River as it enters Tokyo Bay.
carvings on the encircling verandah (廻廊)

Japan: Nikko

Chris ThamAug 14, 20211 min read
Nikko is a small town about 2 hours from Tokyo that is famous for the UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of a complex of shrines, temples and shogun mausoleums.

Japan: Akihabara

Chris ThamAug 16, 20211 min read
In recent years, Akihabara has become infamous not only as a place where you can buy cheap electronic goods but an epicentre for Japanese otaku culture.
shibuya crossing

Japan: Shibuya

Chris ThamAug 18, 20211 min read
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).

Posted by Chris Tham

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.