Like A Cat From Japan

These photographs of Bowie in Kyoto were taken by Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita in 1980. Born in Kyushu in 1938, Sukita worked with Bowie up until his death and is best known for the photograph on the cover of the iconic album Heroes.

Sukita took the opportunity of Bowie’s stay in Kyoto to photograph him on the subway — images in which Bowie looks both otherworldly and strangely at home. Kyoto being Bowie’s favorite city in Japan — he loved to return to the Tawaraya Ryokan, there was a now-vanished 'Cafe David' on Sanjo-dori, just opposite the Museum of Kyoto named in his honour.

Masayoshi Sukita says “Bowie had come to Japan to film a commercial for a drink called Crystal Jun Rock Sunita and I received a call from Kyoto, where Bowie was staying for 10 days. Bowie had already made himself a local and drove them everywhere himself. We went to a local shopping area, rode the local trains and went out to a disco at night. Most of the people around him were unaware of who he was, which perhaps gave him more freedom than usual.”