An Exploration of Self and Solitude in Japan

All images ©  GILI BENITA

All images © GILI BENITA

Israeli photographer GILI BENITA traveled through Japan for two months in an effort to explore the misconceptions of solitude and to understand its inherent difference from loneliness. HIS EXPERIENCE RESULTED IN A series THAT HE CALLed “KODOKU.”

In a country where thousands of people die alone each year without anyone noticing, loneliness reaches its most extreme form. While on his journey, Gili was able to find the difference between loneliness and solitude; and the positive presence of the existence of personal individualism.

As a result, his series of photographs convey this loneliness through other people – those just passing by.

In a busy reality of never-ending work, when personal life seems to be pushed aside; loneliness takes on a more significant role. The physical distance, the fear of being hurt and the fear of intimacy only perpetuates this feeling of loneliness. At one point, it seemed that some Japanese were using the symptoms of loneliness as a defense mechanism that, while working, immortalize their sense of loneliness.

In spite of all this, the sense of loneliness in Japanese culture has become fogged in my consciousness with a sense of solitude, which is perceived as more positive. Among all those Japanese that assimilated into each other, it was very noticeable to see the uniqueness that blossoms from everyone. The color, the minimalist aesthetics, and the beauty of simplicity were visible with each encounter.

The characters he chose to photograph served as a mirror for self-reflection. They helped Gili discover and explore the thin line between solitude and loneliness. Looking at complete strangers and finding a sense of identification from a distant place. Inspiring him to express this sense of feeling alone in a place where it’s not taboo. In fact, he no longer felt alone.

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