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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 28 April 2017 > Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Geography, meet memory

THE PLACE TO BE

TOKYO IS A CITY to drive a cartographer mad. Each of its 23 wards is a city unto itself, and they all have their own mayors and councils. Only the most major streets actually bear names, and the postal address system is incomprehensible even to many locals. When I lived in Tokyo in 2006 and 2007, I depended on a mental map that bore no relation to the city as it was—only how I lived it.

So I recognize Sohei Nishino’s Diorama Map Tokyo, as one might recognize a shared dream. The work is part of Nishino’s “Diorama Map” project, a series of photographic portraits of capital cities that will be shown as part of this year’s Prix Pictet photography-award exhibition, beginning in May. Once at his destination—Amsterdam or London or Tokyo—Nishino walks the streets, taking photograph after photograph. Later, in recollection, he assembles a map of the city that corresponds not to geography but to his memory. “I felt that by looking through the lens, I could truly measure and capture the size of the city and the distance between the object and me,” he tells me.

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