top コラムTokyo Photobook Tour大西みつぐ『路上の温度計 1997-2004』

Tokyo Photobook Tour

大西みつぐ『路上の温度計 1997-2004』

John Sypal

On my shelves I counted no fewer than thirty-six books with “Tokyo" in the title. Granted, well over twenty were by Nobuyoshi Araki alone- but there’s something about “Tokyo" and photobook titles…  I can think of several dozen more-  surely there are countless others out there.  When it comes to Tokyo books I always wonder if there are as half as many books with Paris or London or Omaha or any other city’s name in the title. (I know there’s at least one Omaha one.)


With this in mind, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books of the city in this column. 

Here are the first two.







1.  Mitsugu Ohnishi, Tokyo Heat Map 1997-2004,(Zen Foto Gallery, 2021)

大西みつぐ『路上の温度計 1997-2004』


Ohnishi, a photographer well known in Japan for his Tokyo "shitamachi" (downtown) snaps, went to work in the late 1990s with his Fuji GA645 & rolls and rolls of slide film to capture the city as it entered a new phase- and new millennium. Ohnishi often photographs at festivals and cultural gatherings- but the subject is never quite the “event” itself. Nor is it especially the particular individual in the frame- his subject, to me, is a sort of sometimes improbable phenomena of the place and moment. The subject of the picture is, well, the picture. His photographs are always of good humor and respect- he understands that the best pictures are ones where the subject exists vividly in the frame. He deeply loves that which he photographs. 


The cover of the book states that these were taken between 1997-2004. Interestingly this period exactly overlaps with my graduation from high school to my moving to Japan. 

Now that I think about it, this series shows the end of the (pre-smartphone) world- one where people engaged with the event and each other-  a last golden age of street photography- a time not yet dulled by people with their heads down engrossed in phones while the world goes on around them.






Mitsugu Ohnishi, Tokyo Heat Map 1997-2004,(Zen Foto Gallery, 2021)

大西みつぐ『路上の温度計 1997-2004』

Zen Foto Gallery刊・2021年・4,500円(税込)


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