Tokyo streets look just like Blade Runner in this stunning photography

Japan’s capital looks at its otherworldly best in photographer Masashi Wakui's incredible images.

Masashi Wakui Tokyo photography
Tokyo by night Rains-soaked residents make their way through the streets of Japan's capital. Image Picture Masashi Wakui

Japan’s capital Tokyo is a bustling mix of gleaming neon-lit skyscrapers, on-trend fashion districts, incredible public gardens and a population ranging from workers to students.

It’s a modern city in every sense of the word, and one that boasts some pretty spectacular visual landscapes when shot by the right photographer.

Step forward local resident Masashi Wakui, whose Flickr profile features more than a hundred incredible photos of its vibrant neighbourhood.

Wakui’s speciality is the backstreets of Tokyo, capturing rain-soaked streets, glowing signs and hanging lanterns. The faces of residents are largely in the background or obscured from view; instead Wakui focuses his eye on the environment surrounding them. Everything from subway transit to towering skyscrapers and stray cats feature in Wakui’s photography.

Masashi Wakui Tokyo photography
Dark alley Wakui mixes images of wide-open spaces with claustrophobic pathways. Image Picture Masashi Wakui

It‘s often said that Tokyo is a city best viewed at night. Consider these pictures all the proof you could ever need.

The images could easily pass for stills from Blade Runner, a Studio Ghibli film or trailblazing anime classic Akira.

Wakui’s real hard work happens after his camera whirs into action. To create the surreal, stylised effect he gives each picture a digital makeover, playing with contrast, saturation and colour grading.

Masashi Wakui Tokyo photography
Twisted Tokyo Wakui distorts his images to striking effect. Image Picture Masashi Wakui

He’s even gaining a cult following among online shutterbugs. Tutorials explaining how to create the ‘Masashi Wakui Look’ are springing up online – there’s a relatively straightforward four-step walkthrough for users of Adobe Lightbox that even the most novice photographer can get to grips with.

Wakui admits that the effect is a close approximation of his own method, but the chances of him revealing all seem pretty remote. Why give away the magic?

For more of Wakui’s striking Tokyo photos, see the assembled gallery below. Or hunt him down on social media – as well as Flickr you can see his work on Twitter and Tumblr.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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