“Each summer for over a decade, I returned to my childhood home in Japan. With every visit, the town faded away, slowly being replaced by a new infrastructure of bullet trains and fast-speed freeways.”

In Nadachi, Seiya Bowen examines the socio-economic transformation of rural Japan by bearing witness to the changes, both grand and small, in the area of Nadachi where his grandparents lived. As resources and employment flow into Japan’s metropolitan centers, the countryside is quietly being abandoned, leaving its remaining residents to make do with what’s left behind. The overgrown yards, rusted tools, and dilapidated buildings, like the flotsam and jetsam of a discarded world, attest to the ravages of an economic tide that has left a community bereft in its wake. In the background, massive new transportation structures, the exoskeleton of a bustling economy happening elsewhere, provide a literal example of how this area is being passed over.

Bowen’s photographs capture the ways these two worlds, seemingly oblivious of each other, uncomfortably exist in the same landscape. As a Japanese American, Bowen imbues these scenes with a personal grief as well, a sadness heard in the silence of an empty classroom and abandoned playground. As his grandparents’ world gradually disappears in front of his camera lens, so does the photographer's ability to reclaim his own identity in the rituals and culture of the area.


Catalogue featuring nadachi, published by blue sky gallery, is now available at: