Following photobooks like “Monsieur Spleen de Tokyo” or “Tokyo a Raies”, in which the city of Tokyo was the stage for Papa-chat Yokokawa’s walking snapshots, the Japanese photographer returns to his hometown in Nagano Prefecture for his 2021 book “L’escargot de Kita-Iiyama”.
“The sound of the railway crossing next to the station takes me back to my childhood.”, he writes in his afterword (included in Japanese and French). Having traveled between Kita-Iiyama and Tokyo for more than 50 years, the mountain town still takes him back to intimate memories of his grand-parents and parents. His photography, however, is more interested in the town’s reality than his own nostalgia. Wandering through the town’s nooks and crannies like a stray cat, Yokokawa captures vivid but unpeopled scenes of an almost picturesque Japanese mountain town which, like many rural towns like it, experience a phase of depopulation.