David Bowie was fascinated by Japan. But he loved Kyoto, to the point where he considered making it his permanent home. Although, as he explained in a radio interview with Andy Peebles in 1980, there was something holding him back.
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“I’m not quite sure where to go next,” he said. “The East beckons me—Japan—but I’m a bit worried that I’ll get too Zen there and my writing will dry up.”
Kyoto was Bowie’s favorite city in Japan, to which he returned several times. During one such trip in 1980, photographer Masayoshi Sukita took the opportunity to photograph him on the subway — images in which Bowie looks both otherworldly and strangely at home.
Sukita explained, “Every time Bowie comes to Japan, he calls me and says, “I am here. Let’s do a photo session.” Bowie has always loved Eastern culture and he loves Kyoto, the traditional town in Japan. Since I was young, I have always been into Western culture and Bowie is so into Eastern culture, so that’s the bond or relationship we have.”