Japan is a country with centuries-old habits and a reputation for clinging to hierarchy. Most photographic and artistic works developed here put the capital, Tokyo, under the spotlight, but I took a different path.
I chose to showcase an often unexplored aspect of Japanese culture by documenting young people celebrating and expressing their identities in a society strongly connected to tradition.
Osaka, the third most populated city in Japan, has an extremely active nightlife, with bars, restaurants and nightclubs frequented by both locals and foreigners.
One night, a friend of mine invited me to photograph the party he was working as a DJ. At the time, I didn't fully realize that I was documenting the alternative nightlife of Japan – I was just registering people around me and the way they were expressing themselves.
But as I spent more time in Osaka, I realized these weren’t just images of people having fun – they were daring to be themselves in a society that threatens to exclude or segregate them.
The dualism of society is shown through their defiance of cultural norms and taboos such as tattoos, piercings, gender issues, and sexual orientation.
Lucas Gibson was a finalist in the 2016 World Nomads Travel Photography Scholarship.
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From ancient culture, visiting temples, and castles, to the best places to grab Osakan grub – we count down the top 5 things you have to do to see the real Osaka.