Tokyo’s vibrant street graphics combine ancient tradition, twentieth-century mass production, and a twenty-first-century urban vision that is uniquely Japanese. A colorful clash of imagery renders the familiar strange and the strange bizarre. Cartoon characters can signify the police or pornography. Fashion statements are derived from diverse sources—ancient Egypt or even a hospital operating room. Slot machines vend erotica; pets and cops are robots; tempting dishes of sushi turn out to be inedible plastic representations. Ridley Scott’s futuristic film Blade Runner was inspired by Tokyo’s neon nightscape, where a fashionable department store doubles as a giant digital TV screen featuring lifesize dinosaurs in Godzilla’s hometown.
Barry Dawson’s photographic vision of Tokyo forms a creative reference for students and designers, as well as an imaginative, offbeat pictorial guide for visitors and armchair travelers.