This is an unflinching account of Ian Buruma’s journey into the heart of Tokyo’s underground culture as a young man in the 1970s.
When he arrived in Tokyo in 1975, he found a feverish and surreal metropolis in the midst of an economic boom, where everything seemed new and history only remained in fragments. Through his adventures in the world of avant-garde theatre, his encounters with carnival acts, fashion photographers and moments on-set with Akira Kurosawa, Buruma underwent a radical transformation. For an outsider, unattached to the cultural burdens placed on the Japanese, this was a place to be truly free.
‘A Tokyo Romance’ is a portrait of a young artist and the fantastical city that shaped him, and a timeless story about the desire to transgress boundaries: cultural, artistic and sexual.