'Dangerous Poisonous Flowers' by Toyoko Tokiwa


The name of Toyoko Tokiwa's 1957 photobook 'Kiken no Adabana' translates to 'Dangerous Poisonous Flowers' - a traditional euphemism for sex workers. It documents women at the fringes of Japanese society - notably sex workers, but also performers, nurses, and shop workers. In Tokiwa’s hometown, the port of Yokohama, the influx of American troops after World War II led to the port becoming a hub for sex work. In the late 1950s, the Japanese government began to take action, criminalising the occupation. This book attempts to demystify sex work and present it as a valid career.

Source: “What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women 1843 - 1999” edited by Russet Lederman and Olga Yatskevich. New York, 10x10 Photobooks, inc., 2021

“‘Dangerous Poisonous Flowers’ by Toyoko Tokiwa, a very unusual first printing with the obi, is an interesting documentation of a woman photographer in the 1950s, taking photos of Japanese prostitutes with American soldiers.” - Diana Stone

Size: 18.5 x 13cm
No. of Pages: 224
Cover Type: Hardcover with original photo-illustrated dust jacket obi, and original clear outer cover.
Edition: 1st Edition, 1st Printing
Condition: Very good. Wear, creasing, slight chipping to cover, obi at edges, corners.
Publisher: Mikasa Shobo, Tokyo, 1957