Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.

Learn more Got it

29 Unique Photos Of 1970s Tokyo, Pre-Blade Runner City

Published 3 months ago

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer who moved to Tokyo, Japan, in the 1970s to work as a part-time English teacher. During the years he stayed there, the photographer took many pictures of the bustling Blade Runner-esque Japanese capital. The photographs remained unseen for many years and now, over 40 years later they have finally been published by The Magenta Foundation in a book titled Tokyo-Yokosuka 1976-1983.

When Greg first arrived in Tokyo in 1976, he was instantly impressed by the city. “There was nothing at that time, in terms of available information, that could prepare you for your first visit to the world’s biggest, most intense and most unknown city on Earth,” said the photographer in an interview with Bored Panda. “I left my luggage in a coin locker and walked around the streets and alleys of Shinjuku all night and by morning decided I was going to try and figure out how to stay there.”

More info: greggirardpictures.com | Instagram

Read more

#1 Two School Girls, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#2 Ikebukuro Subway Station, 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

The photographer said that the first days in Japan were rather overwhelming. “Tokyo felt further away than it does now, but that’s true of everywhere, of course. In a way, Tokyo today seems to be the new Paris by comparison: foreign enough and yet familiar enough for North American visitors to not really have to struggle too much,” Greg shared his experiences. “There weren’t too many foreign faces in the streets or on the traits at that time, no English menus in restaurants. One of the first things you had to do in those days was to learn katakana and hiragana in order to read a menu (pointing at plastic food replicas in a cafe window displays gets old fast).”

#3 Keiko, Yoyogi Park, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#4 Shinjuku, Cinema For Men, 1983

Image source: Greg Girard

“But, apart from the many foreign faces in the Tokyo streets today, in other ways the place doesn’t feel terribly different. I’m not sure if that’s because I want it to be so, or if the essential tone is actually relatively unchanged. The mix of small and intimate with the massive and anonymous,” pondered the photographer. “The refuge and adventure of nightlife. The possibility of human connection, friendship, intimacy like something almost breathable in the air. Human electricity. And it’s opposite, as much quiet and isolation as you want as well. Those essential things still feel like they’re there.”

#5 Shinjuku 5:09am, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#6 Shinjuku, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

Even though Greg only lived in Tokyo for three years in the late 70s, he frequently visited from Shanghai and Hong Kong throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. He still visits Tokyo 2 to 3 times per year and says he wishes he could visit it more.

#7 Lobby, Keio Plaza Hotel, 1980

Image source: Greg Girard

#8 Jakuza Greeting, Mr. Donuts, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#9 Kabukicho Neon, 1977

Image source: greg girard

#10 Bus Stop, 1977

Image source: Greg Girard

#11 Shinjuku, 05:00 Am, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#12 Woman Kneeling In Street. 1980

Image source: Greg Girard

#13 American Sailor In Bar, 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#14 Well Dressed Young Man, 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#15 Juli, Tokyo Bay. 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#16 Man In Suit, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#17 Department Store Elevator Operator, 1977

Image source: greg girard

#18 Pasolini In Tokyo, 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#19 Shinjuku, Kabuki-Cho (USA Club), 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#20 Judy Ong, Parco TV Commercial, 1980

Image source: Greg Girard

#21 Near Haneda Airport, Tokyo, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#22 Shibuya Crossing, 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#23 Man In Kabuki-Cho. 1976

Image source: Greg Girard

#24 Shin-Okubo, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#25 Haneda Airport, Tokyo, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#26 Tokyo Bay, Ferry To Okinawa, 1982

Image source: Greg Girard

#27 Canal Near Haneda Airport, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#28 ‘lorena’, 11pm Show, 1979

Image source: Greg Girard

#29 Man In Cinema Lobby, 1982

Image source: Greg Girard

Aušrys Uptas

One day this guy just kind of figured "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending around the web. Something that always peeks his interests is old technology, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness so if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

Got wisdom to pour?

500-

Tags

Greg Girard, pictures of tokyo, tokyo in the 1970s, unseen tokyo
Tweet
8
Like deMilked on Facebook
Want more milk?
Hit like for a daily artshake!
Don't show this - I already like Demilked