JAPAN. Tokyo. Kaeda. 1996. Business man at lunchtime outside JR station.


Bruce Gilden first set foot in Japan in 1995. On this trip, the first of several, he explored a hidden side of a country that had long fascinated him; from Tokyo to Osaka, he uncovered a Japan that is little-known to Westerners and captured it in his own inimitable photographic style.

In Bruce Gilden: Cherry Blossom, Gilden tells the story of these travels and the ties he maintains with Japan in a rare introductory text. Every photograph portrays a close and powerful encounter. There are no cherry blossom trees or geishas on these pages; Gilden’s camera points toward the darker sides of Japanese life—the gangsters, the dispossessed, and people experiencing homelessness. As ever, the Magnum photographer’s work is tough and unflinching, his portrait of Japanese society unconventional and compelling.

The stories told alongside these photographs—thirty-four of which are published here for the first time—create a book that’s hard to forget.


Cherry Blossom

Bruce Gilden

Thames & Hudson

Hardback, 2021

27.5 x 19.0 cm, 144 pages


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JAPAN. Tokyo. Asakasa. 1996. Man on the weekend smoking. © Bruce Gilden / Magnum Photos



JAPAN. Asakusa. George ABE, right, an ex-Yakuza member and celebrity writer. Yakuza model themselves on American gangster fashion from 1950s. 1998. © Bruce Gilden / Magnum Photos