Tokyo Stories

︎ Buy the book

“Tokyo Stories” is a two part project that explores intimacy and the possibi­lities of new encounters in Japan. During the several months she spent in Tokyo, Elodie Grethen was confronted with a new system of rules and social norms. In a society where every interaction is defined by etiquette, is there room for intimacy? Which form does it take? And what role does Tokyo play in it?

The starting point of this project was thus a sociological principle and a need to investigate. Through social media, dating apps and personal recommendations, Grethen was able to encounter Japanese people and foreigners living in Japan. She photographed them in their home, in their neighborhood, and sometimes in hidden love hotels. These familiar environments allowed her to capture confidential and personal moments while also letting her create her own unique map of the city. Why did these strangers accept this encounter? How was the connection between photographer and subject created? By entering their home and therefore their world, she was able to abolish this distance and create a short but intense bond with them — a bond that became part of the project itself. As she gained their trust and became the witness of their intimacy, she started gathering stories. Stories about love, about family, about sex, about the city. Tokyo Stories.

The series is an ode to self-discovery. It is about a journey through a city with its culture and its people, captured in their most personal moments. The photographs are accompanied by stories and secrets that show the immediacy of a new environment and the freedom of new encounters.

The book “Tokyo Stories” has been designed by the graphic design studio solo ohne and has been short-listed by the Vienna Photo Book Award 2017, and Fotobookfestival Kassel 2017. It has been exhibited in Europe, lately at Photobook Exhibition of Athens Photo Festival 2018 and has been awarded as one of the 15 most beautiful books in Austria for 2017.

Installation view: Tokyo Stories, Raum 39, Young Design Floor, stillwerk, Vienna 2016

© All rights reserved, Elodie Grethen, 2024