Photographed: Tokyo’s 1970’s Park Voyeur Subculture.

Caution: Some of the following images may not be safe for work.

Photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki of the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York spent some six months or so as an undercover voyeur during the early 70’s in various public parks of Tokyo, Japan. Armed with Kodak infrared flash bulbs and film, Kohei silently documented the voyeuristic underworld taking place under the veil of night.

Young couples lacking the privacy behind closed doors resorted to the darkness of nightfall for their romantic trysts, only to be observed, and in the most extreme cases, fondled by creatures of the night.

Yoshiyuki tells Slate, “The voyeurs always approached the couples from behind because they had to be out of the man’s line of vision. … there was a kind of community in which the voyeurs lived. ‘To touch up a woman’s body’ was a kind of a competitive game for them in the society. It was risky, but it was something very thrilling for them to do, just like an exciting game to play. So when a voyeur was able to touch the woman’s body, it was a success story among them and the guy could be a hero of the night as a voyeur.”

I have to say, there’s a part of me that’s left with a greasy and uneasy feeling in my stomach when I look at these but at the same time I’m drawn in, the very act of voyeurism lives through the images and holds my gaze. And while these acts may not be socially acceptable, there’s really nothing that a camera can’t capture to document the world, our history, and our deepest desires, whatever they may be.

Images Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery

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