Candid Portraits Capture the Strong Work Ethic and Human Spirit of the Elderly in Tokyo

By 2060, it's projected that 40% of Japan's population will be over 65. Tokyo-based photographer Lee Chapman, who arrived in the late 90s to spend a few years in the city and then wound up staying, spends his days capturing a nuanced side to the Japanese capital. His series of images depict the aging population of Japan, showing the strong work ethic and human spirit of the elderly as they continue on their daily routines.

While many think of Tokyo in its stereotypical form—flashing neon, bustling sidewalks, Harajuku girls—Chapman spends his time documenting the city from a different perspective for his blog, Tokyo Times. “The clichés, needless to say, are all here: the busy crossing, the cosplayers, and the incredibly high-tech toilets. Yes, there are even robots. Well, a few anyway.” Chapman shares. “But dig just a little below the surface, and it's a very different world indeed. A world I attempt to capture on a daily basis….”

Chapman's images catch candid moments, whether relaxing with a beer after a hard day's work or laughing with friends in a bath. With his portraits he draws out the wisdom and joy from behind their knowing eyes.

Lee Chapman: Website | Facebook | Instagram
via [Ignant]

All images via Lee Chapman.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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