Life style

Yakuza Japanese mafia

Yakuza Japanese mafia
In many respects the yakuza organized activities have been the mirror image of the American Mafia. Yakuza Japanese mafia

Yakuza Japanese mafia
The photographer Anton Kusters managed to take pictures of members of the Japanese mafia. He had visited one family of tattooed criminals for about two years. In addition to photographing, he has learned much about their lifestyle. Anton accompanied Yakuza members to different social events, nightclubs, funerals, etc. Yakuza, also known as gokudo, are members of traditional organized crime syndicates in Japan. The Japanese police, and media, by request of the police, call them boryokudan, literally “violence group”, while the yakuza call themselves “ninkyo dantai”, “chivalrous organizations”. The yakuza are notoriously known for their strict codes of conduct and very organized nature. They are very prevalent in the Japanese media and operate internationally with an estimated 102,400 members.

Yakuza Japanese mafia
Everyday life of Japanese mafia. Photographer Anton Kusters

The yakuza consist of a number of crime families, and its actual criminal activity is very Mafia-like. They are very involved in prostitution, gambling, pornography, loan-sharking, smuggling, extortion and various trucking rackets. Just like the Mafia, they break strikes and other dissenters for corporations especially at stockholders meetings. They are deeply involved in entertainment, where they shake down movie studios, nightclubs and professional sporting clubs. And it has been estimated that half the yakuza profits come from drug trafficking.

Like the American mobs the yakuza are heavy into money laundering and of course infiltrate legitimate business. In this last activity they have little trouble with the authorities as the organizations are frequently accepting in Japanese society. Many wear lapel pins that identify them as yakuza, much like fraternal and business organizations such as the Rotarians.

The police and the mobsters seem to be frequently on a first-name basis. Researchers declare that the Japanese police frequently give warnings to the yakuza gangs before major raids. To allow the police to save face, the mobsters will leave behind a few guns to be confiscated. It is a tactic mafiosi fully understand.

Yakuza Japanese mafia

Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia

In Hawaii the yakuza and the American mobs worked well together, and the mafiosi thrived on providing the yakuza guns and pornography to ship back to Japan. U.S. handguns worth $100 to $200 in the States easily bring $1,000 in Japan. The main cooperation between the two gangs in Hawaii involved gambling and drug trafficking, and for a while it greatly flourished until the early 1980s when several federal task forces of American investigators struck at the yakuza for fear of further encroachment in California and elsewhere stateside. The crackdowns petered out by 1985 because of budgetary cutbacks.

Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Going by car
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Three members of mafia
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Pictures of Japanese mafia
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
In the office
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Tattooed gangster
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Details
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Hands covered with tattoo
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
A member of Japanese mafia
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Night life of criminals
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Wearing strict black costumes
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
From the series “Japanese mafia”
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Watching movie
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Rituals
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Talks
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Present
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Active at night
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Members of Japanese mafia
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Leaders
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Loading
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Money of Yakuza
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Traditional tattoo
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Typical tattoo
Photo by Anton Kusters. Japanese mafia
Patterns of tattoo

The Mafia Encyclopedia, 2005, p.529
www.antonkusters.com

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