Tokyo Pop Up Jazz Cafe and Photography Exhibition


Slip into the mellow underworld of Japan’s jazz scene at a new pop up jazz cafe and photo exhibition themed on Japan’s ‘jazz joints’ in Liverpool this November.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit one of Tokyo’s famous jazz cafes then now’s your chance! Head on down to Anti Social Jazz Club (ASJC)’s inaugural pop up jazz cafe in Liverpool this 2nd-5th November. While you’re there, take a virtual trip down the rabbit hole into the nostalgic world of Tokyo’s jazz bars and cafes with a photography display of Tokyo’s secretive jazz cafes.

The KINKAJOU Pop Up Jazz Cafe is a temporary jazz space that aims to celebrate jazz and its connected music genres through music, art and culture. As part of achieving that mission, the pop up will play host to a display of a selection of images from the Tokyo Jazz Joints photography project.

Tokyo Jazz Joints Photography Exhibition

Minton House

Inspired by postwar jazz cafes in Japan’s cities, ASJC presents Tokyo Jazz Joints, a Tokyo-based documentary photography project chronicling Japan’s hidden and rapidly disappearing world of jazz bars and ‘kissaten’ coffee shops.

Japanese jazz bars and cafes are often invisible, insular spaces where time ceases to exist, refuges at once part of and somehow removed from the speed and chaos of the modern urban landscape. In the years of recovery after WWII, imported records - let alone turntables and speakers - were a luxury that few could afford. Yet urban fans of jazz still wanted to listen to the latest records imported from the USA and Europe.

Japan’s jazz cafes sprung up as venues where people could gather together and do just that. As Japan’s jazz cafe culture grew organically after the war, the number of such cafes and bars mushroomed, and going to a cafe and listening to new releases in a social situation became the norm for a generation of city dwellers.


At the height of the jazz boom in the 1970s, the Tokyo metropolitan area was home to over 250 jazz establishments. Neighbourhoods in central Tokyo such as Shinjuku and Shibuya each sported dozens of jazz bars and cafes scattered around the main station plazas. However, as both the economy and technology advanced and people started listening to music at home the number of venues inevitably started to decline. 

As of 2015, around 130 jazz bars and cafes survive throughout Tokyo, but they face an uncertain future. There are fewer and fewer people who are able or willing to spend a leisurely afternoon immersed in the comforting world of jazz, books and coffee. Year by year, more of the old jazz joints around town shut up shop, as their owners retire and their children fail to take them on, preferring to pursue other, more modern or lucrative occupations. 

Tokyo’s jazz cafes are small, sometimes tiny, intimate locations where you can lose yourself in the world’s greatest music. The Tokyo Jazz Joints project is a visual chronicle of this unseen world, an attempt to capture and preserve the transient beauty of these spaces, if only from one perspective, and introduce outsiders to this slowly vanishing part of Japanese postwar culture.


Founded in 2015 by photographer Philip Arneill and writer/DJ James Catchpole, who has run the Tokyo Jazz Site since 2007, it aims to document the vanishing world of Japanese jazz culture. Over two and a half years later, the project has photographs from 118 jazz bars in Tokyo and beyond, with many more still to capture before they disappear forever from everywhere except the memories of those who once frequented them.

A selection of images from the project will be on display at the pop up jazz cafe in Liverpool, so you can take a peek into the world of Japanese jazz cafe culture while you tune out and listen to the melodious sounds of the jazz music washing around you. Find out more about the photography project at

Kinkajou Pop Up Jazz Cafe


The KINKAJOU Pop Up Jazz Cafe event aims to highlight and champion local musicians, bands and DJs of the city by showcasing them to a like-minded audience both local and from afar. The four-day pop up offers opportunities aplenty for listening to live jazz and vinyl only DJ sets, and a spot of crate-digging for those who fancy it. The full lineup is as follows:


Thursday 2nd November

ASJC presents Tokyo Jazz Joints (press night)
Tokyo Jazz Joints photography exhibition launch, live jazz (Fishprint) vinyl only DJ sets (Black Lodge Brewery, AI English, ASJC residents)

Friday 3rd November

ASJC x Ritchie Barton
ASJC x Ritchie Barton plus vinyl only DJ sets (Keith Marley, Grooveyard, Dig Vinyl, UPTIPUP Records, ASJC residents)

ASJC after party at The Magent with Wide Open and Dharm Collective

Saturday 4th November

ASJC Jazz Showcase
Live jazz from selected bands including Blind Monk Trio Anti Social Jazz Band and Harambe Manoi plus vinyl only DJ sets (Tuff Love Soul Club, Madnice, Melodic Distraction, Dig Vinyl, Monotone and ASJC residents)

Sunday 5th November

Jazz on Sundays
Buyers Roast Club, crate digging, live jazz (Skeltr) and vinyl only DJ sets (Alfred Lion Appreciation Society, Melodic Distraction, Sisbis and Wide Open)

For performance times see the Anti Social Jazz Club website.

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