Tokyo, the Blade Runner City by Thomas Birke


Photo: Thomas Birke

Photographer Thomas Birke went to Japan in 2008 to take photos of "the future" - and he didn't go away disappointed. Thomas' large format photography reveals how much Tokyo resembles the dystopian future city in Blade Runner.

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It's becoming a bit of a cliche to compare Japanese cities to Blade Runner... yes, parts of the city do have lots of neon signs crowding each other out, but having lived in Tokyo and Osaka, I'd have to say they aren't nearly as grimy, dark and dirty as Blade Runner (do not really agree with you K.J.), nor do they have the undergrowth of dilapidated decaying buildings that, to me, is essential to the BR aesthetic... really more of a marriage of NY & Tokyo.
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Speaking as someone who actually lives in Japan, I must say these pictures make the city look about ten million times more beautiful than it actually is. Tokyo is without a doubt one of the most ugly and grim cities you will ever come across. The architecture is generally haphazard and uninspired, the urban planning non-existent, and the advertising garish and boring. There is actually surprisingly little that is modern or futuristic about Tokyo. It's really little more than the urban sprawl, of say, downtown Dayton, Ohio magnified times ten.
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