The big picture: a giraffe in Tokyo

This arresting image reflects Japanese street photographer Shin Noguchi’s impulse to capture cultures thrown together

Walking past Tokyo’s Zojoji temple in March 2016, the Japanese photographer Shin Noguchi noticed what he describes as a “world cultural exchange event” taking place in the grounds. He wandered in and found himself drawn to the Namibia tent, where an irresistibly bizarre contrast with the venerable Buddhist temple and the Tokyo Tower in the background was provided by one impassive-looking giraffe.

It’s easy to see why the scene caught his attention. An award-winning street photographer based in Kamakura, outside Tokyo, who has been observing everyday (yet quietly extraordinary) Japanese life for the past 20 years, Noguchi views his work as a way of deepening understanding between cultures. “Even if it is difficult to completely erase the boundaries between cultures, races and colours,” he says, “I strongly believe that, through the steady activity of photography, we can lower the boundaries to a height where children can easily jump over them like a skipping rope.”

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