A few days ago in the evening, I suddenly felt the urge to take a train to Yokosuka. It was already after 8 PM when I arrived in the ”Wakamatsu Market” entertainment district behind Yokosuka Chuo Station on the Keihin Line, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the lights of the normally crowded shops were all switched off. The streets at night had turned into a bleak, dimly lit place, with the usual drunken crowd nowhere in sight. I eventually held my camera into the darkness and shot a dozen or so pictures, while walking quite naturally down the main street toward the “Dobuita-dori” district. However, most of the shops here were closed as well, and only a few people passed by. It was a truly sad and lonely sight.
“Little wonder,” I muttered to myself, considering that more than half a century had passed since the time I wandered with the camera in my hand around Yokosuka, right in the middle of the Vietnam War.
It was here in Yokosuka that I decided to devote myself to the street snap style, so the way I captured the Yokosuka cityscape defined the future direction of my photographic work altogether. I was 25 at the time, and was still in my first year as an independent photographer. I remember how determined and ambitious I was when I started shooting, eager to carry my pictures into the Camera Mainichi office and get them published in the magazine. It was a time when I spent my days just clicking away while walking around with the camera in my hand, from Yokosuka out into the suburbs, from the main streets into the back alleys.
I had been familiar with the fact that Yokosuka was a US military base since I was a kid, and it also somehow seemed to suit my own constitution, so I think my dedication helped me overcome the fearfulness that came on the flip side of the fun that was taking photos in Yokosuka.
These are the results of a mere two days of shooting, but somewhere between the changing faces of Yokosuka, and my own response from the position of a somewhat cold and distant observer in the present, I think they are reflecting the passage of time, and the transformations of the times.
– Afterword by Daido Moriyama