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Takeshi Tokitsu Photo Exhibition CELL

In his 1953 film “Tokyo Story”, Japanese film director Yasujiro Ozu portrays how family relationships change and the distance grows between an elderly couple living in the countryside and their children who have built their own families in the city, alongside the urbanization that took place from Japan’s postwar reconstruction to its years of rapid economic growth. Thirty years later, in 1983, yet another Japanese film director by the name of Yoshimitsu Morita comically depicted family life around the dinner table in Tokyo, in his “The Family Game”.

Fast-track some 30 years forward from that and, affront societal and lifestyle changes -- changing workplace environments and women stepping out into the world, widening social immobility and poverty gap, 24-hour convenient stores and a growing food-service industry that make living alone easier, expanding and penetrating online shopping, etc. -- the buzzwords ohitorisama and soroju (both meaning “to live alone”) have been coined because of the rising number of people who put off marriage or forego it entirely to lead a single life,

Twenty years from now, more than half of the people living in Tokyo, where the population continues to overconcentrate, will hail from single-person households, as the number of persons living alone will reach 40% after factoring in the death by old age of one spouse and divorces with all of the unwed persons and those putting off marriage. Amidst a decline in blood-tied families, there will be an increase in “pseudo-families” formed by rooming with others and group living arrangements. How did these two directors portray the “family” in a world where the “age of the nuclear family” has passed and the “age of the ohitorisama” has come?

Opposite to the depopulation trend that is afflicting rural areas, the megalopolis that is Tokyo continues to swell and transform like an organism as it swallows up more and more people like a blackhole. As time goes by, the homes that once housed “parents and children” will be vacated and single-people will congregate in communal housing as if assigned to individual units.
This exhibition captures Tokyo today where more and more people are choosing to forgo or put off marriage in order to live alone, through the single-persons and their dwellings that, behind the cold concrete façade, continue to grow like cells that form a city.

Takeshi Tokitsu Profile

Born in Nagasaki City in 1976. Went to work for The Asahi Shimbun Company after graduating from the Faculty of Law at Tokyo Metropolitan University. After stints in the Publishing & Photography departments, Editorial office for Asahi Shimbun Weekly AERA, was assigned to his current post in the Image News department. Received the Japan Magazine Photographers Association Award in 2011.
Staged his “Days Fukushima” exhibition in 2012 at the Ginza and Osaka Nikon Salons.