Katumi Watanabe's Shinjuku Guntoden: Story of The Shinjuku Thieves excellently encapsulates Watanabe's love affair with Shinjuku's 2-Chome Kabukicho. Containing a selection of portraits of which Watanabe had been taking during the course that runs a little more than a decade, the images capture the people of Kabukicho then, rough, loud, and exciting, boldly dressed to attract the attention of passers by. These snapshops are a result of Watanabe's wanderings and are a testiment to his life long attachment to the area. Working as a drifting photographer, Watanabe strolled the streets of Shinjuku, walking into bars, cabarets, gay clubs and pleasure hotels offering his services in exchange for a 200 yen fee. Ladies, bar tenders, Yakuzas all take stage within his photographs, posing and peforming for Watanabe's lens. Here these snapshot portraits taken by Watanabe capture an era of Shinjuku almost unrecongnizable to the Shinjuku known today, within his images are frozen moments of a time and place of excitement and struggle, expression and hidden feelings, tenderly preserved within the memory of an image.
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