Kjeld Duits

Kjeld Duits

Residing in Japan for over 30 years, Dutch photojournalist Kjeld Duits is Tokyo Journal's Street Editor. In addition to managing one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the first to cover Japanese street fashion in English, he owns a vast collection of vintage photographs, illustrations and maps of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s (Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods) and covers news stories and natural disasters for media organizations worldwide.

Thursday, 12 September 2013 10:29

The Tokyo Fish Market

The Tokyo Fish Market

If you ask anybody in Tokyo about the city’s Nihonbashi district, they’ll most probably call it a staid business area. The Bank of Japan and the Tokyo Stock Exchange are located there, so too the headquarters of many financial companies. Even the Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya department stores there are thought conservative.

This hasn’t always been the case. Until 1923, Nihonbashi housed a colorful and busy fish market right next to the famous Nihonbashi bridge, the point from which even today all distances to the capital are measured. For hundreds of years at the empire’s navel, the smell of fish and the shouts of fishermen, brokers and peddlers penetrated the air. Some 300 fish wholesalers were located at the market. From fishing villages as far away as Hokkaido, fish arrived early in the morning every day of the year. “Piscine types almost as varied and as beautiful as those at the marvelous Naples Aquarium may be seen,” gushed Terry’s Guide to the Japanese Empire in its 1920 edition.

Monday, 10 June 2013 12:34

Tokyo Street Editorial

IT’S spring and there’s a scent of change in the air. For the first time in history, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor welcomed the incumbent president of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. For the first time in over 20 years, the Emperor and the Empress danced in public, and one of Japan’s most acclaimed architects, Toyo Ito, is being celebrated by the world through the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The media worldwide are heralding Japan’s economic awakening. Japan’s stock market is roaring, its overvalued yen finally falling, and the Bank of Japan is spending many trillions of yen. So far, Japan’s rally is based on politics. The economic reality is yet to be proven.

Cautious Optimism
Still, many of Japan’s business people are cautiously expressing optimism “with a large question mark,” as an official in Tokyo’s heavily industrialized Ota ward said to me this week. “Companies have high expectations, but it is unclear when they will feel the effects of Abenomics. Or whether they will experience it at all. There is still much skepticism and uncertainty.”
On the streets of Tokyo few people feel any change yet. Many are apprehensive. “I don’t notice any difference,” a small business owner in Tokyo told me while walking his dogs. “It is just the stock market and large companies. Small companies are struggling. I have no expectations that things will get better. They are just creating another bubble.”
Naturally, Tokyo Journal hopes the skeptics will be proven wrong and Prime Minister Abe’s risky economic experiment will bear fruit.

North Korean War Threats
One experiment we don’t want to bear fruit comes courtesy of our neighbor North Korea. It has once again explored the limits of overly aggressive negotiation techniques. Many foreign media seem to take the reclusive regime’s bellicose rhetoric at face value.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 06:23

Harajuku

Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

The complete article is available in Issue #272. Click here to order from Amazon

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 10:28

Tsukiji in Tokyo

The world’s largest fish market thrills the senses

WHEN the new facilities for Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market were opened in 1935, the architects probably never imagined it would become such a popular tourist attraction. People from all over the world come in vast numbers to see the globe’s largest fish market, employing more than 60,000 people.

Especially popular is the early morning tuna auction. Men clad in blue and wearing black rain boots yank steel hooks into the exposed rear ends of hundreds of frozen tunas laid out on the concrete floor of one section of the market. With small flashlights, they quickly check the quality of the tuna. Few words are uttered. Most men walk quietly from fish to fish, careful not to let competitors know which tuna they like best.

As the auction starts, a man standing on a wooden stool shouts identification numbers and prices. Brokers place their bids, almost unnoticeably. It’s quiet, restrained, organized. You wouldn’t know that enormous amounts of money change hands. In January, a single bluefin tuna fetched a record price of 155 million yen ($1.7 million or £1.05 million).

The complete article is available in Issue #271. Click here to order from Amazon

Saturday, 12 January 2013 11:26

Tokyo Street Fashion

Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

Saturday, 12 January 2013 11:22

Ginza

Show this image to any Tokyoite and few will be able to tell you where this place is. They’ll guess it is somewhere abroad. But this is Ginza, Tokyo’s celebrated high-class shopping avenue as it looked in the 1880s.

A horse-drawn streetcar casually runs along an almost empty sandy road flanked with magnificent willow trees and Western-style brick buildings. How immensely different from today’s noisy and crowded Ginza.

Pointing his camera toward Kyobashi, photographer Kimbei Kusakabe stood near what we now know as Ginza Wako, a shop famous for its expensive watches, jewelry and other luxuries.

Saturday, 12 January 2013 11:19

Tokyo Anti-Nuclear Demonstrations

Japan's anti-nuclear demonstrations march on. Japan's residents take to the streets. Friday protests in front of the Prime Minister's residence have become the norm.

Friday, 11 January 2013 09:56

Tokyo Street Fashion

Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

Thursday, 10 January 2013 08:57

Tokyo Street Editorial

AS we near the end of 2012 and prepare for 2013, the Tokyo Journal Winter Edition Issue #270 is about to hit the shelves. Storefronts are decorated in Christmas cheer and year-end parties are certainly near. Although the year’s end is usually a time for closure, there is much astir in Tokyo this winter.

In Politics
On December 16, elections will be held for Japan’s lower house of parliament. Pundits predict a comeback for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by conservative Shinzo Abe, Japan’s 90th prime minister who stepped down in 2007 after only one year in office.

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