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Despite public sentiment showing disapproval of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics taking place as planned this July, Japan has held its position of ruling out further delay.

In the wake of this reality, photographer Kisara Okada’s ©TOKYO Please close softly and gently may render as a crucial pre-pandemic artifact that takes on a tremendously new meaning with the stakes of Tokyo’s post-Olympics well-being remarkably higher than ever.

The book’s titular wish refers to Okada’s desire for Tokyo to come out on the other side of the Olympic Games as a stronger and more optimistic city.

Taken from 2018 until the Summer of 2019, Okada captured a Tokyo abuzz with energy and excitement, but also somewhat running out of steam. “Still, the countdown does not stop”, as she writes in her foreword.

In her photographs, Okada demonstrates an almost magical, seemingly effortless instinct for the “decisive moment” in which life unfolds just the right way in front of Okada’s lens to create perfectly framed (often humorous) scenes in her photographs. “©TOKYO Please close gently and softly” opens with a simple shot of a cat’s head staring at Okada’s camera, its body hidden by a staircase, but continues with much more complex scenes and situations.

“I wish these photos will make you think ‘Things were not all bad at that time’ someday.”

Okada provided more recent comments, noting that “These photos show the cityscape and people in Tokyo from 2015 to 2019 in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. I feel nostalgic about this landscape now. Yes, the scenery has been completely turned upside down by the spread of COVID-19. The title “Please close softly and gently” contains the hope that a good beginning will follow after these nightmarish days. I wish these photos will make you think “Things were not all bad at that time” someday.”

While each image is able to stand on its own and tell a short tale, the photographs add up to a greater picture. These photos could not be taken anywhere else but Tokyo, as it reluctantly embraces its excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games.


©TOKYO Please close softly and gently

Kisara OKADA (Self-published, EN & JP)

¥4,730 Signed Edition available at shashasha 写々者