Portraits of Japanese Parents and Their Children

OYAKO is a project by photographer Bruce Osborn that consists of portraits of Japanese parents and their children. The images show differences in things like occupation and fashion between generations.

Note: There’s slight nudity below.

“OYAKO is the Japanese word for parent and child and is the title of a series I have been taking since 1982,” Osborn tells PetaPixel. “It all started with a magazine assignment to photograph punk musicians when I hit on the idea of photographing them with their parents.

“I thought it would be an amusing way to bring out the differences in lifestyles and fashions between the two generations, but what came back was infinitely more. The pictures revealed so much about family relations that it made me want to continue exploring this theme as a way of looking at Japanese society and the changes it goes through from one generation to the next.”

Parent: Sogetsu Watanabe, tea ceremony instructor. Child: Keiko Mitsui, tea ceremony instructor
Parent: Mitsunari Kida, former sumo wrestler and restaurant owner. Child: Tsuyoshi Kida, preschool student and sumo wrestler. 1984 on left and 2000 on right.
Parent: Jisaku Yamada, sushi chef. Child: Eiichi Yamada, sushi chef
Parent: Yae Nakano, housewife. Child: Shigeru Nakano, musician. Taken over a period of 30 years (1982, 1993, 2002, and 2012)
Parent: Katsuji Suzuki, carpenter. Child: Katsuo Suzuki, jr. high school student
Parent: Sheena, rock musician. Child: Junko Ayukawa, high school student
Parent: Yujiro Nakamura, theater group leader. Child: Rika Matsumoto, acting school student
Parents: Mitsuaki Ohwada, tattooist and Akie Ohwada, housewife. Child: Keiko Ohwada, elementary school student
Parent: Takeshi Koike, farmer. Child: Yoshihisa Koike, policeman
Parent: Masanari Henmi, businessman and retired. Child: Yasunari Henmi, musician. 1982 on left and 2006 on right.
Parent: Taijun Kagenaka, Buddhist monk. Child: Akira Kagenaka, Buddhist monk

Osborn shot his first photos for the project in 1982, and it has since been an ongoing life-long series. He has done over 7,000 photo shoots thus far.

OYAKO was recently published as a book. Oyako: An Ode to Parents and Children is a 144-page paperback book featuring portraits Osborn has shot over three-and-a-half decades.

Image credits: Photographs by Bruce Osborn and used with permission