Weavers Door are proud to announce we’re presenting the Tokyo Jazz Joints (www.tokyojazzjoints.com) photography project in collaboration with EDWIN and Anti Social Jazz Club. Following the success of our ‘Experimental Jazz Series’ in the Summer we’re joining forces with Liverpool-based Anti Social Jazz Club and their temporary jazz space the KINKAJOU: Pop Up Jazz Cafe’ at the Buyers Club between Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th November 2017. On the Thursday we’ll be revealing the Tokyo Jazz Joints photography exhibition which will be on show for the month of November. Expect various DJ sets and live jazz on the night.
Founded in 2015 by photographer Philip Arneill and writer/DJ James Catchpole who has run the Tokyo Jazz Site since 2007, Tokyo Jazz Joints is a documentary photo project chronicling Japan’s hidden and rapidly disappearing world of jazz bars and ‘kissaten’ coffee shops:
“Japanese jazz cafes and bars are often hidden, insular worlds where time ceases to exist, spaces removed from the speed and chaos of the modern urban landscape. Tokyo Jazz Joints is a visual chronicle of this world; an attempt to capture and preserve,the transient beauty of these spaces.
Jazz cafe culture in Japan grew organically in the years after WWII, as venues where fans could gather and listen to the latest records from the United States and Europe. Imported records – let alone turntables and speakers – were a luxury few could afford in those days of recovery from the war. Going to a cafe and listening to a new release in a social setting became the norm for a generation of urban Japanese. At its height, areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku in central Tokyo had dozens of these cafes and bars scattered around the main station plazas.
Slowly, the cafes began to disappear as economic development continued and listening to music at home became the norm. Some establishments transformed into night-time only bars when it was no longer profitable to open for coffee-time. Fewer and fewer customers would spend leisurely afternoons immersed in jazz, books and coffee. As of 2015, there are approximately 130 jazz cafes and bars spread throughout the Tokyo Metropolitan area alone, a huge number compared to most cities, but down from the peak of more than 250 in the early 1970s.
Year by year, the old jazz joints around town close their doors as the men and women who own them age and their children move on to other more ‘legitimate’ or lucrative occupations. Tokyo Jazz Joints is an attempt to let people into this slowly vanishing part of Japanese culture. These are small, sometimes tiny, intimate locations where you can lose yourself in the world’s greatest music.”
None of these establishments were contacted about the project before visiting and Arneill’s photographs are a window into this jazz community, showing the shops and their owners just as you would find them, if you were to visit yourself.
Tokyo Jazz Joints has visited over 115 joints to date, spread throughout Japan, with at least another 75 to be documented.”