I went to Tokyo in February of 2020 for a trip that had been planned the previous summer around an exhibition of my photographs. I thought it would be interesting to document the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics while I was there. But when I arrived on February 7th, things were changing.
Covid-19 had arrived on the global stage. The Diamond Princess, a cruise ship carrying around 3700 passengers and crew, was sitting in Yokohama harbor, Covid-19 having infected those aboard.
In Tokyo, however, things seemed relatively normal. People went about the daily business, and bars and restaurants will still crowded at night. People talked about Covid, and how masks were becoming hard to find, with rumors they were being horded, or people were selling them to China.
Just a few weeks after I left, the world would shut down as lockdowns were put in place in the hopes that it would stop the spread of the disease and save lives. What many thought would be just a couple of weeks turned into years. And only now, in 2023, are things starting to fully reopen again.
But in Tokyo in February 2020 no one knew what was coming.