OYAKO is the Japanese word for parent and child. It is also the title of a series Tokyo-based photographer Bruce Osborn has been working on since 1982. Osborn came up with the idea for OYAKO while on an assignment to photograph punk musicians. “I hit on the idea of photographing them with their parents,” he recalls, “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 were such a surprising insight into family relations that they encouraged Osborn to continue exploring the parent/child portraits as a way of looking at Japanese society and the changes it goes through from one generation to the next. Since the early ’80s, Osborn has made thousands of portraits showing Japanese parents and their children. Osborn recently published a book featuring this life long project. OYAKO: An Ode to Parents and Children, is available on Amazon.
Bruce Osborn began his career in Los Angeles as the photo editor and chief photographer at Photographic Record Magazine before moving to Tokyo in 1980. His clientele has included Brutus, Interview, and National Geographic (Japan). He has shot ad campaigns for Sony, Parco, and Visa, and photographed Etta James, Ron Wood, Bill Gates, Kenzaburo Oe, and Richard Branson, among others. He has held photo exhibitions at Kanazawa’s 21 Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Boston Children’s Museum and the Shizuoka City Museum. In 2003, Bruce and his wife Yoshiko created the Oyako Day social action. They were recently awarded the Higashi-Kuninomiya International Culture Award for their contributions to Japanese society.