top コラムRecommended photobook25 Shigeru Yamazaki 山崎 茂『Weekend』

Recommended photobook

25 Shigeru Yamazaki 山崎 茂『Weekend』

John Sypal

Published this year by Sokyusha, Shigeru Yamazaki’s latest book Weekend is divided into two eras. 

The first is a set of pictures were taken from 1974 to 1977, presumably on weekends, when Yamazaki was a college student. His backstreet camera wanderings from these three years proved fruitful. He’s made three fine photobooks from them. I've shared two on PCT already: The Station (1974-1977) and Asakusa 1974 ( )


Weekend is mainly comprised of snapshots in and around Tokyo’s unpretentious shitamachi areas, along paths which snake through Asakusa and Ueno and down into Ginza. It sure looks like no matter which street Yamazaki decided to amble down, something worth photographing appeared. Turning the pages, there’s a particular vibrancy which repeatedly caught Yamazaki’s eye. His photographs are populated by Tokyoites found in a sort of blessed idleness. Rather than conveying action or drama, his pictures are evidence of his appreciation for the essence of the city’s people- a feeling of curiosity, respect and admiration that is crisply straightforward- something that never becomes preachy or syrupy.  

Crowds and groups have their own dynamism, and in his pictures most of these people simply be enjoying one another’s company. There are very few people in them seen alone. Or if they are, they don’t seem to be lonely. Societal cohesion? Good vibes? Well, the weekends then were no doubt good times- and a good time to have time to be out taking photos. But for Yamazaki, time was running out.


Note that both The Station and the first part of Weekend end in 1977.  


The book's publisher, Michitaka Ota, told me this was the year Yamazaki graduated college and found employment in a company.  In 1977 this talented and promising photographer put his camera down to begin life as a salaryman. So it goes.



Part two of Weekend picks back up some thirty-eight years later in 2015. 

Yamazaki, having entered/earned his retirement now had the time- and a new digital camera- to slip back into Tokyo’s streets.  


These streets- this post-retirement, pre-pandemic & pre-olympic, smartphone-saturated, international-touristed Tokyo- cleaned up and straightened out, it is near unrecognizable from the warmth and polyester charm of the mid 1970s. Tokyo had changed, and yet, Yamazaki’s appreciation for its people hadn’t.  His pictures from the late 2010s reveal a continued fondness for crowds and smiles- a photographic interest in how people wait alone and how they converse together at a bus stop or pedestrian promenade on a Sunday Ginza afternoon. 


Things are ok, and even if they might not seem like it, well, just hang on till the weekend.   


About the book: While his earlier books had print runs of a mere 25 copies, this humble square hardcover is an edition of 350. It’s an essential part of a Tokyo photobook collection, and I suggest getting a copy while you can.






13 山崎茂『The Station 1974-77』 

23 山崎茂 『浅草1974』











群衆や集団には独自のダイナミズムがあり、彼の写真では、ほとんどの人々がただ互いに楽しんでいるように見えます。誰かが一人でいることはほとんどありません。あるいは、いたとしても孤独には見えないのです。社会の結束力がそう見せるのか? 70年代的な雰囲気か、チャーミングな時代だったのか? 当時の週末は間違いなくいい時間(タイム)だったし、写真を撮りに出かける時間(タイム)もありました。しかし、山崎さんは1977年「タイムアウト」になってしまったのです。



















  • Shigeru Yamazaki "Weekend"
  • Sokyusha, 2023
  • Ed. 350
  • 山崎茂写真集 「Weekend」
  • 発行:蒼穹舎
  • 発行日:2023年4月4日
  • 価格:4,000円+税


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