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Japanese Walls, by 'The Wall'

Words:

Edd Norval

Photos:

ザ壁
November 30, 2018

Japanese society straddles tradition and modernity in a way that few other countries do. It manifests in the country's art, cuisine and culture. Walking through the streets can be a jarring experience, simultaneous pushing and pulling factors complicate the way everyday life is perceived. For one photographer, we can understand the place through its walls.

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Anonymous apart from ザ壁 (The Wall) and the hashtag ザ壁部 (The Wall Club) this photographer grants us an insiders look at life from ground-level, the optimal position to understand a foreign human experience.


At some points the cultures clash, at other points they coalesce and intertwine into something not modern, nor traditional, but distinctly Japanese. These walls, covered with vaguely Westernised advertising, or with posters of Western products or people, nestle in amongst a maze-like plumbing portrait of the path a household's water follows and the windows that gaze out onto the world.


It's at once calm and quiet as it can be hectic and loud. The country has given us unique entries into various fields, photography included, however it is with this unique and interesting Instagram account that we are best situated to understand the place as if we are there, getting lost and finding these gems amongst the streets. At first, understanding a country through its walls might sound strange, but on further thought, this is a vast architectural creation of faceless metal and brick baring its soul.


Alongside the ancient architecture of the country's temples, we are likewise granted an insight into the place through the vaguely dystopian aesthetic of the streets. It's poetry in motion and it's this urban rhyme that 'The Wall' composes a beautiful song played out as a visual experience of the mundane and everyday.

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