Stakeout Diary

Stakeout Diary

Yukichi WATABE

Publisher: roshin books

3rd Edition

Yukichi Watabe’s “Stakeout Diary” is a close-up documentation of two Japanese police detectives investigating a grisly murder in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, in 1958. With the mutilated body of the victim confirmed as a Tokyo resident (and a hand towel of a Tokyo-based hotel was found with the corpse), the investigation led the two detectives—one from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the other a Mito local—to hold stakeouts in various downtown areas of Tokyo.

Watabe’s photographs of the detectives slowly solving the case and finding the murderer ooze with so atmosphere and character that the series almost seems unreal. In photographs that would not seem out of place in an early Kurosawa film, we see the detectives interview witnesses, ride around the city in busses and trains, think things over in cafes and offices, and converse over cigarettes and food.

While some of Watabe’s photographs were published in a magazine at the time, the series itself was not published until 2011, five years after the photographs were rediscovered by chance in a Tokyo bookshop. The version by Japanese publisher roshin books features prints especially made for this book using negatives borrowed from Yukichi Watabe’s son. This third edition features a new text by Yoji Kako (only available in Japanese) and a postcard in addition to an extensive afterword about the series by publisher Atsushi Saito (included in Japanese and in English translation).


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Book Size
305 × 230 mm
104 pages, 70 images
Publication Year
English, Japanese
Limited Edition

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