Mizuwari – Bruno Labarbère


How do you tell the story of a country, and even more so of a city as fantasised as Tokyo, if not by getting up close and personal with the people who live there? Following in the footsteps of the masters of Japanese photography from Provok and the French humanist photographers, Bruno Labarbère takes us on a deep-black wander through the streets and alleys of Japan’s capital, following the rhythm of the mizuwari as he meets them.

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By photographing street scenes and episodes of everyday life, he has captured the extraordinary banality and ordinary singularity of a country that does not hesitate to mix genres and its alcohols with water. Whisky, sake, shochû and umeshu can all be served as mizuwari. This is a typically Japanese way of prolonging the intoxication and diluting the often burdensome daily routine, by increasing the number of nomikai, ‘drinking get-togethers’ organised between colleagues from the same company, the emblematic salarymen of the Archipelago.

As a participant in these meetings in the bars of Golden Gai, Yurakusho and Shibuya, Bruno Labarbère got up close to the faces, tracked down the glances, observed the sleeping bodies until the early hours of the morning, and let himself be bewitched by the blurred shadows. A true immersion in Japanese society, this work offers a snapshot of its most typical features. All lovers of Japan will recognise it, and all others, whether or not they are fascinated by this elusive culture, will be able to discover it, unvarnished and unpretentious, to be consumed without moderation.

Weight 1 kg


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