Yoshinori Mizutani: Tokyo Parrots (Amana, 2014)

Yoshinori Mizutani (1987) graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 2012. Mizutani has won a number of prestigious awards including Japan Photo Award in 2013 as well as Foam Talent Call and Lens Culture Emerging Talents Top 50 in 2014. He lives and works in Tokyo.

He has so far published 6 books: Tokyo Parrots (2014), Colors (2015),  YUSURIKA (2015), HANON (2016), HDR_nature (2018) and Des oiseaux (2019).

Artist: https://www.yoshinori-mizutani.com)

When I saw hundreds of parakeets swarming the sky, I was struck by fear. I felt as if I’d walked into the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds.

Every morning, flocks of several parakeets each would fly to the elm tree near my home in Tokyo’s Setagaya ward. I watched these flocks arrive daily. Eventually, more and more flocks showed until finally, this strange scene of hundreds of parakeets appeared. 

The parakeets had overly bright, lime green wings. These tropical birds were incongruous with the Tokyo environment and I found their appearance disturbing.  

I did some research and found out that these parakeets were brought to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s from tropical regions in India and Sri Lanka to be sold as pets.

They had since gone wild and made Tokyo their home. Today, they’ve multiplied to thousands.  

Shocked by my encounter of the parakeets, I chased them for about a year afterwards.

They broke up into groups and flew back to their respective nests. I discovered that the biggest nest was in a ginkgo tree on the Tokyo institute of Technology campus in Ookayama, Meguro. I used strobes to photograph the parakeets in the evenings, when they went home.  

These parakeets aren’t supposed to exist in Tokyo, but they do. And it’s the intensely uncanny feeling I felt when I first saw the swarm, which I’ve captured in these photographs.

 Yoshinori Mizutani