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Tomoyuki Sakaguchi Photo Exhibition Midnight Logistics

You see the rows of trucks parked in the rest areas along the expressways in the dead of night, their drivers trying to get some shuteye. They slowly file in, one behind the other, to get some much-needed sleep while they can. Come 9:00 in the morning, they’ll begin lining up at the distribution centers off the expressway interchanges, probably so they can transport parts to some factory somewhere. They sleep under the mercury vapor lights so that they can carry something somewhere the next day.

The Ken-O Expressway opened not long ago, heading west out the center of Tokyo some 50 km. Where the Tama Hills abruptly rise to the Kanto Mountains, all of the civil engineering stops were pulled out to build a complicated interchange and junction. One after another, gigantic distribution centers popped up nearby.

The internet and highway network are the wheels of the economy and, as key infrastructure, made it possible for society to transition from an “era when people moved” to an “era where goods move”. The E-commerce market in 2021 has grown to 13 trillion JPY. As you are reading this, the millions of products that people clicked on are being picked by robots in warehouses somewhere and loaded onto trucks so that they can be transported over the highways in the dead of night. This is what goes on behind the scenes every day.

Tomoyuki Sakaguchi Profile

Born in Kagawa Prefecture in 1969. Won the 2008 Society of Photography Award. Has spent his entire career capturing the night time social landscape of Tokyo and Tama with the virtual space-like presence of a video game. Has held numerous solo exhibitions and partaken in many photographic festivals overseas where presenting digital works that he updated online since well before the advent of social media. His photobooks include “Home” (2007 Sokyusha) and “Itasha Z” (2012 Enterbrain), this former having been selected by Martin Parr amongst his 30 most influential photobooks in 2011. Since creating the works of itasha *, has taken part in Comiket and Comitia, ultimately producing and releasing a small number of photo booklets. Works of his are part of the public collection at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts. Currently serves as a part-time instructor at Tokyo Zokei University, Musashino Art University and the Nippon Photography Institute.

* An itasha is a car decorated with fictional characters from anime, manga or video games.