Photographer Oleg Tolstoy captures Tokyo’s silent cabbies

Garbed in white gloves and suits, an army of taciturn taxi drivers ferry Tokyo’s inhabitants across the city. Here, photographer Oleg Tolstoy discusses why he was drawn to the “old-world charm” of the capital’s cabbies.

Tolstoy first visited the city ten years ago, and says he was fascinated by the unique hierarchy that the taxis follow – with drivers arranged by rank, marked out by stripes across the car. Having finished his Who’s Driving You series documenting London cabbies, Tolstoy turned to Tokyo’s rather less ebullient drivers as the “perfect companion series”.

The photographer – who has also shot portraits of Elton John and Cara Delevingne – concentrated on the city’s Shibuya and Shinjuku districts, where the majority of cabs can be found. The city’s abundance of neon signs offered ready-made lighting, creating brightly coloured blurry reflections in the cab windows – a far cry from the drab surrounds of Tolstoy’s London series. The photographer spent several hours each night shooting, hidden amongst the crowds of people on the street.

Why do I need to register?

Every month, hundreds of thousands of people visit us here on our website. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. We just ask you to provide a few details about yourself and what you do. Don't worry, we won't share your information with anyone, unless you give us permission to do so. In return you can:

Submit your work

Send us your latest projects, which we will review and consider to be featured on our website or in the print magazine.

Receive our newsletter

Get the latest creative insight and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, in a newsletter curated by the CR editorial team.

Subscribe for more from CR

Subscribe to Creative Review to access all our premium online content, the digital archive which includes over 400 issues of the magazine and much more.




Maidenhead, Berkshire