In 2009, a Belgian photographer was given unprecedented access to one of Japan’s Yakuza crime families. Anton Kusters has now put together some of his images in a short documentary video, in which he tries to showcase this underground world of crime and villainy. Speaking about his film, he exuded the mystery that his subject commands.
Films and television have tried to capture the essence of the legendary yakuza, but not even Hollywood can really get under the skin of this organised crime syndicate. Notorious for their strict codes of conduct and organized nature, they have a large presence in the Japanese media and operate internationally with an estimated 103,000 members.
“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.”
What a unique look at such a closed-off world, Kusters has really managed to shed some light on such a cloistered organisation. As one of the only westerners allowed access to the yakuza, Kusters is really breaking new ground with this documentary. I for one was absolutely hooked.