Shomei Tomatsu: Shinjuku

An image that captures the complexity of an entire decade

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We are able to say that the sixties was a very turbulent decade for Japan. The presence of American bases provoked all manner of protests and rapid economic growth went hand-in-hand with student unrest to do with both university conditions and opposition to the war in Vietnam. In 1968, students clashed with police and the station of Shinjuku was looted.

Through the image considered in this video by the exhibition’s curator, Juan Vicente Aliaga, Tomatsu’s intention was to capture the full intensity of the moment. The artist depicts the tension within society, exaggerated consumerism reflected in the illuminated adverts for different brands, and the flags of the demonstrators set against the helmets of the police.

Tomatsu, using his own cinematographic resources, captures the reality and the complexity of the times, sympathizing with the uprisings and counterculture.

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