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 explains how the Yakuza operate, giving an insight to their secretive world.
He explains the project on his website:
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.
Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organised crime.
I share their complex relationship to Japanese society, and show the personal struggle 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 shades of grey.
You can check out more of the photos here.