The Japanese city is inhabited by animals, some real and well alive (cats and dogs, carps, crows, crayfishes, herons…) but also representations of animals (logos, mascots, signs, wall paintings, stickers, posters, origamis, sculptures, statues, plush toys, cartoons, keyrings…). Only in Japan is there such an overwhelming animal presence. However, that country is not a paradise for animals, because their meaning is mainly symbolic. It is above all a bestiary which has been domesticated, tamed, immortalized, and one which fits Japan’s modernity.

My intention was to deal with that theme in a playful and cheerful manner, by taking part to a treasure hunt which goal was to uncover that real and imaginary fauna. Like children trying to catch butterflies, I rediscovered that simple and childish pleasure when I was photographing obvious or hidden signs of that animal presence. That Ariadne’s thread, that I invented, allowed me to (re)discover Japan from a different perspective, that way revealing a particular sensibility which the fondness for animals is a prominent feature of. Why do Japanese give such importance to animals ? I have no answer to that question, but I really like to think that their presence makes the japanese cities and society less hostile and inhumane.