The Japanese mafia, known globally as The Yakuza, is made up of approximately 50,000 members, forming one of the largest criminal networks in the world. In 2009 Anton Kusters, a Belgian photographer was allowed entry into one of Japan’s Yakuza families. Over two years, he captured the lives of those living in the underworld. Kusters made a short documentary for The Economisttitled Inside the Syndicate. Very well documented but a bit short for my tatse, feels more like an introduction. I wish they were a longer version! (lucky enough Anton did a Ted talk about it, watch it here)
“In the hotel bar in Niigata, I’m only slowly starting to understand the extremely subtle social interaction that is continuously happening, the micro-expressions on the faces, the gestures, the voices and intonations, the body language.
As the bar is evacuated to make room for the godfather having a coffee, everything seems to be strictly organized but at the same time seems to come naturally: strangely, I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do, where to sit, when to talk or when to shut up.
It’s like I literally feel the boundaries, the implicit expectations, and I am slowly learning when I can move forward, and when to best hold back. Sitting at the table with a bodyguard looking straight through me, I drink from my iced coffee. I’m feeling the acute sensation of walking on eggshells.”