Yukichi Watabe: A Criminal Investigation (Editions Xavier Barral & LE BAL, 2011)



Born in 1924 in the north of Japan, Yukichi Watabe learned photography in 1943 at a well-known publishing house, Tokyo Koga-sha. Yukichi Watabe is mainly known in the West for A Criminal Investigation, a photo report that retraces the investigation into the terrible “case of the severed body”. His work is strongly marked by the aesthetic of film noir, through his framing and the narrative aspect of his images. In 1989, he obtained the Higashikawa Prize, the most prestigious Japanese award for a photographer. He died in 1993.







On 14 January 1958, the disfigured and amputated body of a man was discovered near Lake Sembako in Japan. Two investigators from Tokyo came to help out the local police in order to resolve what at first appeared to be a banal case, but which proved to be more complex. For the first time, a photographer was authorised to accompany the police to document the investigation. Watabe followed the inspector as he questioned witnesses (workers in a tannery factory, local police officers etc.) and pounded the streets of the most insalubrious neighbourhoods in Tokyo – its bars, bridges, alleyways and hospitals – in search of the killer. Watabe’s images record much more than simply a police investigation, they reveal Tokyo in the 1950s in a way that has rarely been shown. Publisher`s Info










Japanese binding | Canvas with elastic strap | 210 × 290 mm | 100 pages | Black and white photographs.


Publisher: http://exb.fr/en/catalogue/11-a-criminal-investigation.html