Gulliver Slide in Mie & Bow-wow Park in Osaka. Kito Fujio’s “Park Play Equipment” Photos


WRITERKito Fujio

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(c)木藤富士夫/kito fujio

“Gulliver Slide” Shimin-no-mori Park, Toba City, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Address: 1 Oaki Higashimachi, Toba City, Mie Prefecture , Japan
15 minute walk from Shima-Akasaki Station on the Kintestu Shima Line.
The Gulliver Slide is found in a corner of the spacious park. This playground structure was once installed on an immigration ship that connected South America and Japan, the “Brazil Maru.” Stumbling on this slide at night can give you quite a shock.

Why I Started Photographing Park Play Equipment

More than 10 years before I started photographing park play equipment, I travelled around Japan photographing rooftop amusement parks.

I had visited almost 100 rooftops from Kitami City in Hokkaido Prefecture in the north, to Kagoshima City in the south. However, they started closing down at an alarming rate as I did, and had halved in number by 2010. By 2014, rooftop amusement parks in major locations like Shibuya’s Toyoko Tokyu Department Store, Osaka’s Hanshin Department Store, and Ueno’s Matsuzakaya had shut down. My spirits fell as they continued to close.

It was around that time that I remembered I had been attempting to record captivating views of interesting play equipment on film through trial and error since 2008. After that, I decided to give it a serious try.

As with the decline in rooftop amusement parks, unchanging scenery does not exist in this world.

Part of the reason I continue to take photographs is in the hope that at least one picture of that changing scenery will remain.
When I was a student, I used to play in the old open-air shopping arcade known as Tonan Department Store in front of Machida Station in Tokyo. I often ate ramen in the Kinoshita Shokkudo(Kinoshita Cafeteria) there. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photographs as a student, at all; I only started as an adult. I regret that I didn’t take lots of photographs of the scenery back then, and it’s too late now.

Never wanting to feel that way again, I started to photograph places and things that I like.

I want places like that to become well-known. If people go there then surely they’ll reconsider the value of these places. That’s my aim in posting locations of park play equipment in social media and self-published zines.

That’s pretty much my reason for moving on to photographing park play equipment after rooftop amusement parks.
People who have actually played at these parks look very happy when they see the park photographs in exhibitions.
In a sense, the local park play equipment is the ultimate memory from childhood.

I plan to introduce photographs which I haven’t yet published in the zine “Park Play Equipment” on Zing!

(c)木藤富士夫/kito fujio

Shinkanaoka Apartment Bow-wow Park , Kita Ward, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture , Japan
adress:1-7 Shinkanaokacho, Kita Ward, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture , Japan

1 minute walk from Shinkanaoka Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line. A park on the corner by the apartments in front of the station. This dogsled installation is so close to the fence in the corner of the park that it makes me wonder if there are residents who haven’t ever seen it. It’s easy to miss. There is also a curious concrete structure shaped like a teru-teru bozu or simple ghost doll in the park. It is a mystery how children would play with either of these.

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    Kito Fujio 

    Born in 1976 in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Hosei University, he worked for a company for 3 years and started freelance work in 2005. He published the photo-books “Rooftop Amusement Parks” and “Park Play Equipment” with pictures of rooftop amusement parks and park play equipment all around Japan, respectively. His work has a unique perspective and texture which has drawn interest both within Japan and overseas.