A look at the world through 1980s youth counter-culture
The 1982 photobook “We Have No Place to Be: 1980-1982” (originally published by Soshisha) was one of Japanese photographer Joji Hashiguchi’s earliest works and still stands out today as one of his most acclaimed works. The book is finally available again as a newly edited and expanded edition published by Session Press, including more than 30 previously unpublished photographs.
In the 1980s, following his Tokyo-focused series “Shisen”, Hashiguchi arrived in Europe to photograph Liverpool and London in the grip of Thatcher, West Berlin coined by the drug culture portrayed in “Christiane F”, Nuremberg caught between its WW2 history and the ongoing Cold War before moving on to New York and finally Japan, depicting an America exhausted by the Vietnam War and a Japan in the midst of shaping new societal structures that would define the country for decades. Hashiguchi photographed his subjects not as an outsider but in an unmediated, intimate and familiar way, as if part of the groups he portrayed.
Hashiguchi experienced each country, each city, through the lens of its “lost” or “disenfranchised” youth. “Although each country is undoubtedly home to its own unique social and historical context, these youths shared a common discontent and pent-up frustration that knew no outlet. Deviating from the traditional confines of societal norms, perhaps their violent behavior was an inheritance from their parents’ generation, the delayed manifestation of a wrinkle in the social fabric that emerged as an amplified distortion following the turbulent war years. Unable to choose their place of birth, these youths were conscripted to exist within their predestined location in time and history, all the while mouthing their cry, ‘we have no place to be.’” (from Mika Kobayashi’s essay)
Joji Hashiguchi’s photobook “We have no place to be 1980–1982” serves as a vital historical document of the counter- and youth cultures of the 1980s, which appeared almost like a barometer for society’s ills, and reminds present-day readers to examine how we arrived at the today’s world and what might have been lost along the way.
In addition to the essay by Mika Kobayashi quoted above, “We Have No Place to Be: 1980-1982” also includes a foreword by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara (all in Japanese and English translation).