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May 24, 2022

30 Color Snapshots Capture Everyday Life in Tokyo in 1972

Harrison Forman (1904-1978) was a prominent photojournalist, explorer, author, and fellow of the American Geographical Society. As a foreign correspondent, Forman’s images and articles appeared in the New York Times, Times of London, Life, Look, Collier’s, Harpers, and Reader’s Digest

Forman traveled the world with the eye of an anthropologist.  He was fascinated by the lives, culture, economies, governments and infrastructure of each place he visited.  Known in his heyday as the “Modern Day Marco Polo,” Forman was often the first Westerner to have access to the people and places he visited and seemed to always be in the right place at the right time, witnessing significant moments in history and documenting them with his photography. 

Take a look at life in Tokyo in the 1970s through these 30 gorgeous pictures taken by Forman:

People enjoying the sun


Billboard advertising movie

Billboards outside movie theater

Amusement park

Pedestrians crossing street in Tokyo business district

Department store

Entertainment theater


Pedestrian mall at Ginza shopping district


McDonalds at Ginza pedestrian mall

Boy using telescope on Tokyo Tower


Modern low cost housing

Pedestrians crossing street in Ginza district

San-ai building at the main Ginza Yon-chome crossing

Sidewalk artist

Women with umbrellas walking past small shops

May Day demonstration

Building with a confection store restaurants and coffeehouses


Theater Tokyo

Suzuran Street at Ginza

Small drugstore

Family at pedestrian mall

Girl looking at toys

People watching parade

Men posing for portraits on street

Waiting in line at supermarket

(via University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries)


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