TOKYO JAZZ JOINTS

A photography Project documenting a hidden world of Jazz

A documentary photo project by Philip Arneill & James Catchpole chronicling Japan's hidden and rapidly disappearing world of jazz bars and 'kissaten' coffee shops.

jazz pepe, shinjuku

Jazz Pepe closed in November 2016, in sad circumstances. The owner of the building, in which 77 year-old Okuma-san had been running his bar minutes from Shinjuku station since 1969, wanted to 'make it nicer', and as such had served him notice as a tenant.

We arranged to return and say goodbye to mark the end of this enduring, classic old-style Japanese jazz bar, only to find it closed; having finally contacted Okuma-san by phone, it would seem that he had suffered a stroke two weeks before shutting up shop. A week later, assured it would be open for its last few evenings, we returned again only to find a notice on the door explaining it would not be opening again 'due to illness'.

Yet another jazz joint steeped in history was gone from the Tokyo landscape forever; it is preserved here on this page, and in the memories of everyone who ever visited it.