On January 4th, 1965, a confused young sergeant in the US military named Charles Jenkins drank ten beers before setting off on his nightly patrol duty along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, where he had been serving for the past year. Having previously been shuffled back and forth between South Korea and US outposts across Europe, he feared his next deployment would be in war-torn Vietnam. Replaying in his mind the horror stories he’d heard of the battles going on in south-east Asia and afraid of dying in the jungle, in his boozy haze he made a snap decision. Drunkenly he stumbled over the border into North Korea with his hands in the air, giving himself up to his communist enemies. He would remain there for 40 years before escaping.
Japanese office culture is strange. People in business together don't talk, ever, except for a couple times a year when they spend five obligatory days getting absolutely smashed and passing out all over the city because it's expected of them. Afterward, they revert to how things were and don't discuss what happened. In the middle of this wave of festivities, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning headed into Shinjuku, land o' plenty when it comes to hostess bars, love hotels, and nightclubs... and right now drunken salarymen napping in the street with homeless people. If it weren't for the sort of clean clothes I probably couldn't tell them apart. Let's play a game called Holiday or Homeless!
Japan is the place where ridiculous things are easily accepted by everyone. For instance, this ancient penis-worship shrine built out of grave stones. No one knows exactly when it was made, but it clearly came before 1364 since there was a book written about it in that year. We do, however, know it was made "for couples hoping to have the healthy children," which is a great thing to support with our tax money.
You know I've been winding my way through the frontier land of Hokkaido. The next stop on the journey north was Monbetsu, supposedly the most racist town in the whole country. Locals got fed up with the endless influx of drunk Russian sailors docking at its port and wreaking havoc, and for a time banned foreigners from staying there altogether.
I'd heard stories of life on Japan's north island of Hokkaido, a place that stretches as long as Britain and makes up 25 per cent of Japan’s land mass despite holding only 5 percent of its population. With a history of colonization, ethnic repression, threats from Russia, and as the bearer of Japan's own Meiji-era gulags, it seemed to me to be Japan's final frontier. I booked a flight to Hakodate, the port at Hokkaido's southern tip, rented a car, and set off on the long road north. Along the way I encountered power-tool wielding convicts, erotic woodcarving ethnic Ainu potheads, strung-out bikers, and an apocalyptic scattering of abandoned buildings. I also nearly got kidnapped by Russian sailors.
In general, Japanese people like to keep their distance from one another. They are shy. I'm one of them so I know. I've always wondered how they would behave if I turned a camera on them without their permission but with them knowing what was going on. So I put the general workforce to the test, shooting with a flash on purpose so they'd know that I was shooting them. I was especially interested in how the blue-collar folk responded. Their working style is so serious and robotic, it seems they almost don’t have any cardiac output. This is so Japanese. Anyway, let’s see my photos...
Lots of Japanese girls find Kawori Inbe's website and ask her to shoot them. She's like Araki like that. We first told you about in last year's Photo Issue, and she's had lots of new stuff since then. Here's some of it.
My hands were wet when I opened it. They would not remain the only wet things on this certain evening! Japanese sex correspondent Fu Tsueng brought a new toy back from the land of endless possibilities: the Love Cup. It's a small pink can into which I had the honor to have a wank.
The old Watarase Keikoku railroad that runs through the Tochigi Prefecture a few hours north of Tokyo claims to end in the tiny mountain village town of Mato, but that’s a lie. Check things out from outer space and you’ll see that the tracks continue into the mountain wilderness to one final destination no longer acknowledged by the mapmakers.
First it was the Cat Prin t-shirt, and now those madcap Japanese Vice fanatics have outdone themselves once again. Focusing on the trifecta of dicks, jizz, and monsters, some guy who goes by Tarzan Kick (née Fumiaki Morita) sent our Tokyo office the type of stuff we'll make as soon as we can find someone who mass produces puff-paint t-shirts and/or we start an official Vice summer camp. If anyone has a connection, let us know ASAP. Keep reading to see the other shirt.