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Question about Taking Pics 2009/7/7 19:40
I am a foreigner who will go to Japan soon. I think I will walk around alone in some places, and I wonder whether a lonely foreigner taking pictures is regarded as bad in Japan. I mean, do Japanese get uncomfortable when they see a foreigner taking picture of the place where they are sitting perhaps...

I visited Japan last year and I was walking around lonely. And for some reason, I hesitated to take out my camera and take photos of the buildings etc. I saw, since I thought that Japanese people wouldn't like it. (I see that in photos uploaded on Japanese blogs, they often cover faces of other people)

Do you think I do the right thing? or I am just exaggerating it?
by Maiku (guest)  

Tact... 2009/7/8 09:48
I've never had a problem, but if in doubt I always raise my camera (without looking through it) toward the person as if asking permission - often you will get giggles or smiles or nods then go right ahead. But if you get a look of horror or covering of faces then obviously don't take it.

I've even taken pics of kids in playgrounds (generally a no-no for a single adult male to do - for obvious reasons) but I always involve the parents first. Don't be secretive about it.

Religious places, and workmen/gardeners/cleaners of such places don't generally like it though.
by John (guest) rate this post as useful

No problem here 2009/7/8 11:54
Don't hesitate at all to take photos of buildings, scenery etc, there is absolutely nothing unusual about doing that, and I do it all the time- the Japanese are big photographers themselves, if you hadn't noticed! Why do you think people would think you odd for taking photos of buildings? I would have thought it was quite an ordinary thing to do.

It's probably best to ask permission to take photos of people unless it's a crowd scene.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

pics of buildings 2009/7/8 12:02
Why do you think people would think you odd for taking photos of buildings?

Taking pictures of buildings, especially government buildings, has become problematic since 9/11 in many countries.

Japan it is not so much the case, and you won't likely have any trouble taking pictures of buildings from the outside. Taking pictures inside of buildings is generally less acceptable. Shopping centers and businesses usually prohibit it and may have posted signs. And many religious buildings prohibit photography of their interiors and alters.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Big privacy issues 2009/7/8 15:38
Long story short, in the very recent years, the Japanese in general have become very aware of privacy issues such as having their portrait uploaded or having their names and addresses printed. People believe that these kind of information can be abused.

For this reason, schools don't print students' address lists any more, and many send complaints to Google Street View requesting to have their homes or figures deleted. That is the reason you are seeing more faces on the internet blurred than they were ever before.

But generally speaking, most people are okay with tourists trying to take photos of you. However, sometimes I would let friends take photos of me and find them uploaded on the internet without notice, and I'd be taken aback a bit. Having my face pasted inside someone's paper album is one thing, but having it open to public on the World Wide Web is another. I don't have a big problem with it, but I'd think, "Okay, the people who uploaded them aren't Japanese."

So what I do is I try to smile myself as I'm taking photographs, because people tend to feel safer when facing those who are smiling. If I want to take a close up of a person, I ask in advance. I also won't upload photos in which people's faces are obvious, unless a password is required to view them. But I mostly take analog pictures anyway.
by Uco, Japanese resident (guest) rate this post as useful

Japanese do it too 2009/7/9 08:21
Uco san, I have gone on the internet before and found that Japanese friends of mine have uploaded pictures with me in them from hanami parties for example without asking me first- I don't object, but I don't think you can say that it's something that Japanese people don't do, which you seem to be suggesting in your post.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Sira 2009/7/9 11:42

I'm not suggesting that it's something "Japanese people" don't do. But according to my experience, it's only the non-Japanese friends and the Japanese friends who have non-Japanese friends who do it. The other Japanese friends send portraits by either attached email or use passwords. Also, nowadays kids learn about internet publishing rights at school.

Again I have no problem with these customs. I was just trying to inform what I know through my mere experiences.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

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