Photographs by Masayo Ito.
Tosei-Sha, 2013. 48 pp., 32 duotone illustrations, 10x10".
“Miss, do you know the word Mujo Jinsoku*”
It was a conversation I had in a room of Dojunkai Apartment in Omotesando. “Not exactly,” I answered. The 82-year-old man who had been living there for half a century, then alone, opened the door and invited a stranger in as if it was nothing unusual. Quietly and thoroughly, he explained the meaning of the word. No element disturbed the simple commune, and while listening to every word of the old man, I thought about the ages he had seen go by and the time remaining for him, which filled my heart with an indescribable sentiment.
He told me somewhat merrily that it was his nightly custom to drink a glass of shochu with hot water and some fruit as relish. On that night, his snack was a grapefruit. When he emptied the glass, it was time for me to take a photo in the adjoining room near the family Buddhist altar... but the photo lacked something.
Once on the way back home after visiting the old man a couple of times, I stepped out of his room and passed a family of four while descending the stairs of the apartment. Seeing the middle-aged couple and their two adult children gave me an insight. As expected, they were his family. Thrilled by the moment, I returned to his room with them... His photo didn’t lack anything anymore.