An insider photography series on the Yakuza

Anton Kusters is famously known as the first western photographer to ever have access inside the world’s largest mafia, the Yakuza. His photo series, which is compiled in a book and is currently on exhibit in Hong Kong, gives us a peek at the notorious and dangerous world of gangsters, tattoos, severed fingers, organized crime, and secret training camps.

The series took him 10 months of negotiations with the Yakuza to let him in their circle and capture their daily lives. Once he was given access, he spent two years living under the gang’s protection.

‘In the first moments, you’re like “they are criminals, they are criminals, they kill people, they kill people”, and there’s nothing that can distract you from thinking that all the time’, Anton tells Localiiz. ‘They have a very strange and eerie sense of self confidence, and to be honest that’s much more frightening than somebody walking around with a gun’.

You can read more about Kusters’ tale over at Localiiz. If you want to catch his exhibit, Exploring life and rituals of Japan’s notorious crime syndicate by Anotn Kusters, head on over to AO Vertical Art Space in Chai Wan, Hong Kong. The exhibit runs from 6 December 2013 to 25 January 2014.

Via Localiiz

man wearing suit waits in car
men in suits wait
yakuza men in suits wait
mafia men meeting
photography book
Members of different families paying their respects at the funeral service for Miyamoto

About the author

Inigo is a writer and graphic designer from Manila, Philippines. He is a soldier of love who will carry you on his strong back of awesomeness when the zombie apocalypse arrives.