With a history that dates back hundreds of years and a business empire that stretches into many areas of modern Japan, the Yakuza are both a feared and respected part of Japanese society.
On this episode of Tokyo Podcast Anthony Joh talks to Belgian photographer Anton Kusters who spent two years photographing the Japanese Yakuza and has produced a fascinating photo book detailing his journey into the heart of the Japanese criminal world. Anton talks about the delicate negotiation the six months of cultural training that he had to go through before he was allowed to start photographing.
Very few westerners have ever been allowed into the inner sanctum of the Yakuza and on this show Anton discusses many of the personal struggles the Yakuza families face of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple ‘black’ versus ‘white’ relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.