The Yakuza – Japan’s most notorious criminal organization.
To the Japanese locals, the Yazuka are noted for their intense brutality, tattoos and strict code of honor. To illustrate the point, the Yakuza are known to slice off the ends of fingers to prove the sincerity of an apology – no half measures amongst these guys. If you’re not familiar with their particular brand of crime, it’s based around illegal gambling, drug dealing, extortion and often violent turf wars.
After countless months of intense negotiations Belgian (and brave) photographer Anton Kusters was granted the opportunity to spend 2 years with one of the Yakuza gangs to document and photograph their way of life.
He was given unprecedented access to one of the most inaccessible subcultures in the world – able to photograph business meetings, visits to bath houses, strip clubs and even funerals.
893-YAKUZA IS A PERSONAL VISUAL ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE INSIDE AN INACCESSIBLE SUBCULTURE: A TRADITIONAL JAPANESE CRIME FAMILY THAT CONTROLS THE STREETS OF KABUKICHO, IN THE HEART OF TOKYO, JAPAN.
As you’re about to see, Kusters photography is remarkable at times, below is a just a sample of his work during his 2 year stay in the middle of the crime syndicate.