Photographing the redevelopment of Tokyo’s Shibuya train station

Satoshi Hirano’s award-winning series documents the redevelopment of the labyrinthine train station in Tokyo’s Shibuya district

Satoshi Hirano’s Reconstruction photo series was named as one of the eight winners of the Steidl Book Award Japan, an annual prize that has been running since 2016. Satoshi’s series takes a look at the redevelopment of the Shibuya train station in Tokyo, bringing together images taken at both day and night under a distinctive black and white aesthetic.

The train station is located at the heart of Tokyo’s popular Shibuya district, a thriving business, shopping and nightlife hub situated in the west of the city, and home to the Shibuya Crossing – one of the world’s busiest (and most famous) intersections.

Satoshi Hirano Reconstruction Steidl
All images © Satoshi Hirano

Yet despite its lively reputation, the photographs feel dark and intense, offering a glimpse of the industrial underbelly buried beneath many of our cities.

Satoshi enhances the immensity of the operation with his high contrast images of dense mechanical and engineering structures, which sit alongside images of people filtering through the station and surrounding area. The aesthetic evolves in the book’s final section, where the photographs sit somewhere between Daguerreotypes and space mission images.

The images were taken between 2014 and 2018, during which time the train lines continued to run. The redevelopment was carried out in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and are now set to go ahead in 2021.

Satoshi Hirano previously presented the series at the Nikon Salon in Tokyo and Osaka, and it has recently been published in a photo book alongside the seven other winners of this year’s award as part of Steidl’s Japan 8 book series.

Satoshi Hirano Reconstruction Steidl

Reconstruction by Satoshi Hirano is published by