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Picture ©mika ninagawa

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Picture ©Shinya Arimoto

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Picture ©Nobuyoshi Araki / Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery

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Picture ©Natsumi Hayashi

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Picture ©Kenta Cobayashi

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but “Tokyo” is a word that arguably conjures up just as many images. And if you’re intrigued by this vibrant urban centre with its rich history and ever-evolving nature, you’re going to want to visit the Tokyo BEFORE/ AFTER photography exhibition.

Hosted in Toronto by the Japan Foundation, this touring exhibition features 80 pieces of photography arranged into two distinct groups: before and after. The changing face of Japan’s eclectic capital city is on display, contrasting historic work from photographers of the 1930s and 1940s with contemporary postwar pieces of the 20th century.

Tokyo in the years leading up to World War II is shown through the eye of the lens as a growing metropolis, buzzing with activity and development. Old and new architecture existed side by side and traditional and modern styles clashed beautifully. Photographs from visionaries of the time—Yasuzo Nojima, Ihei Kimura, Yotsuo Kono and Kineo Kuwabara, to name a few—will swiftly transport you back in time to a complicated but fascinating era.

On the flip side, vibrant colours and modern esthetics steal the show in the second set of photographs, featuring work from 2010 onward. As Tokyo continues to transform itself and hold its place as an artistic, cultural and digital leader on the world stage, photographers like Nobuyoshi Araki, Mika Ninagawa, Natsumi Hayashi and Daido Moriyama attempt to capture its fluid socio-economic nature and showcase it for us to enjoy in Toronto.

Tokyo BEFORE/AFTER is a free exhibit running from April 11 to July 11. Visit the Japan Foundation at jftor.org for more information.

Featured picture  ©SATO Shintaro


Tokyo BEFORE/AFTER film screenings

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Riding Metro (2006)

A Tokyo salesman steps off the subway and travels back in time to confront various family members, realizing his own destiny in the process.

Saturday, July 7, 3 pm–5:15 pm, and Monday, July 9, 6:30 pm–8:45 pm
Admission: FREE Reservations required jftor.org/event/riding-metro

東京日和柳川

Tokyo Biyori (1997)

An affectionate couple explores Tokyo on foot and the sunny, urban backdrop takes on a character of its own.

Friday, June 29, 6:30 pm–8:45 pm, and Thursday, July 5, 6:30 pm–8:45 pm
Admission: FREE Reservations required jftor.org/event/tokyo-biyori