Belgian photographer Anton Kusters delves into the seedy underbelly of Japanese organized crime with his photo series “YAKUZA.” Shot primarily in the heart of Tokyo, Japan, Kusters creates a visual account of a traditional Japanese crime family as they work to retain control over the streets of Kabukicho. A characteristically inaccessible subculture in Japan, Kusters and his brother, Malik, spent ten long months of negotiation prior to being granted access to the Shinseikai’s fiercely guarded family business.
Over the course of the next two years, Kusters attempted to capture the family and their complex relationship to mainstream Japanese society. The photographer discovered that many members are paralyzed by the conflicting morals and values of the two worlds, eventually forced to choose which social principles they must compromise.
An overwhelmingly positive public response led to the publication of an accompanying photography book titled ODO YAKUZA TOKYO. In anticipation of the book’s release, the two brothers returned to Tokyo with ten books as a gift to the family bosses, their questionable activities now immortalized in print. To purchase the book, or for more information on Kusters, head on over to the photographer’s website.