For this article, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dairou Koga, who is a photographer and a bookmaker who recently put together the Tokyo-Ga Charity Book. The Tokyo-Ga Charity book is a collection of some of the finest Japanese street photography which is currently being sold help the victims of Japan in the March disaster. Keep reading to hear about this noble cause from Koga-san’s own mouth, and also see the inspirational images included in this book.
When you are putting together books, do you have an idea of what the book is going to look like before-hand or do you figure it along the way?
I know all contributors personally, and also know they are great photographer. Therefore, I knew that this book became very cool.
and this is the “Charity” photo book. but I don’t want make this book a noncommittal content. I wanted to make this book a photograph collection of REAL Tokyo. so unique, artistic, ironic, personal Tokyo picture is contained in this book.
Regarding the design, we have a good designer. Toshiya Watanabe is contributor of this book, and also art director of big ad company. He designed all of the book.
What makes Japan such a special place for street photography when compared to other places in the world?
I don’t know so much about other countries, and I also don’t know about Japan. But I do know that Tokyo is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. As you may know, William Klein made a great photo book of four cities. It is “New York”, “Moscow”, “Rome”, and “Tokyo”. I change the question. “What makes Tokyo such a special place for street photography?” The answer might be clearly shown in our photo book “Tokyo-Ga”.
What does “Tokyo-Ga” mean, and what is its mission?
“Tokyo-Ga 東京画” means “Tokyo picture” and derives from Wim Wenders’ great movie. It is also the name of an international collective of photographers that shoot in Tokyo. http://www.tokyogaga.com/
Tokyo is a very unique, strange, Galapagos like island. A lot of wonderful photographers are taking photographs in Tokyo. It is not only Japanese. I want everyone to know their activities. And that’s our mission.
What gave you the inspiration to put together the Tokyo-Ga book?
I made the group of Tokyo-Ga on Flickr four years ago. http://www.flickr.com/groups/tokyo-ga/
I have wanted to make a Tokyo-Ga book before. After the big earthquake in Japan in March, I seriously thought about what I can do now. Making “Tokyo-Ga Charity Photo Book” was the answer.
How did you find the photographers to feature their work in the book?
They are all members of Tokyo-Ga group. There are 600 photographers in this group now. I chose 39 “serious” photographers from that. You can see the full list of contributors here: http://www.tokyogaga.com/contributors
What was the most challenging part of putting this book together?
I knew that the book would have great images, so the most challenging part was the logistics – speaking to the photographers, the book design etc.
I want to say this book is a handmade Charity photo book that the photographer made by themselves. And, it is possible now.
Why did you decide to publish this book via Blurb when compared to the traditional book-printing process?
We made it in Blurb as don’t need to pay a production cost when the book is made. However, I do not give up making it from the traditional publisher. So if you interested in this, please contact
What is one of the most memorable images in the Tokyo-Ga Charity book that come to mind?
You know I can’t say this. But I am Japanese so, the photos taken by the foreigners in Tokyo is always very interesting.
How is the state of Japan after the March 11th disaster? Are the people starting to recover, or is there still a ton of work to be done?
On the surface most of Japan has regained everyday life. But the impact of this disaster is wide and deep. So hereafter, Japan will be changed politically, economically and mentally. please see “images of 3.11” of our website
Where will the proceeds of the charity be going to, and how did you decide which charity to donate to?
Apart from the commission that we need to pay to Blurb, all proceeds will go to Japanese Red Cross.
What are some other projects you are currently working on?
I am taking the “Japanese Bookseller” series for magazine. http://www.dairoukoga.com/
I wanna publish it someday.
Are there any special thanks or shout-outs that you would like to give?
I want to thank all of the parties concerned and the photographers in the book that gave up their time and have not asked for payment for their images. Especially thank you for the staff of this book, Charlie Kirk, Toshiya Watanabe and Fabrizio Quagliuso. I couldn’t have made this book by myself.
If you would like to support the victims of Japan, please support this noble cause and purchase a book on http://www.tokyogaga.com/. Got any questions for Koga-san or would like to show support? Leave a comment below!