“During my time working as a photographer after the devastating tsunami in 2011 in Japan, I became completely fascinated by this country, especially Tokyo. Despite the devastation, the Japanese were calm and collected and they showed almost none of their private sorrow.
As a city, Tokyo seemed practically untouched. I couldn’t help wondering what was behind the façade. How do the Japanese handle sorrow, loneliness and the demands of society? Above all, I wondered how my generation lived their daily lives there. I knew I would go back and look for a more intimate Tokyo.
Later, after a long period of working on news reports and multiple-year projects, I began longing for that artistic trance that can only be experienced during really intense, short periods of unreserved photographing, and I knew right away that it was Tokyo I needed to go to. I contacted my friend Jay, who I got to know during the tsunami, and, with his help, I met some young Japanese people who dream about breaking the traditional Japanese pattern of getting a degree, then getting a job at a big company and staying there for the rest of their lives without the desire or ability to get to know the rest of the world.
These people, who became my friends, have, in contrast to previous generations, close contacts with other parts of the world; they have travelled and they are looking for a life beyond the typical. But they are fighting against their own society and its norms.
During seven intensive days, I chose to photograph seven of these friends. They opened doors to a Tokyo that I just barely guessed existed. Intimate, loving and honest. »
– Pieter Ten Hoopen