After months of painful negotiations, Belgian photographer Anton Kusters spent two years with one of Japan's most notorious Yakuza gangs. For those unfamiliar with the Yakuza, they are known for their brutality, tattoos and strict code of honor. After gaining exclusive access, Kusters captured never-before-seen moments from their business meetings, bath houses, night clubs, and even funerals.
“893-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,” says Kusters.
In 2009, Japan's National Police Agency estimated that there were 80,900 active Yakuza, whose activities include drug dealing, extortion, illegal gambling and violent turf wars. Bound by a strict and ruthless moral code, the Yakuza are known to cut off the ends of their fingers to prove the sincerity of an apology.
Kusters put all of these incredible experiences into a limited edition book titled Odo Yakuza Tokyo, which quickly sold out. With such a great response, a second edition of the book is set to be released on October 30, 2011. Be sure to check out his website for more information.