For his Yakuza project, photographer Anton Kusters spent two years documenting some members of the Japanese mafia.
A limited edition of a book containing the photos is available. Steward Mag recently did an interview with Kusters:
The values were almost comparable to general Japanese workplace values, actually. Most yakuza gangs actually have neighborhood offices, and the plaques they have on the door state core values like "respect your superiors," "keep the office clean," and so on.
One thing I noticed early on with gang life was how subtle everything was. Everything was unspoken, and will was expressed through group pressure. A pressure was constantly there. There was this innate understanding of form-if someone did something wrong, no one would say anything; he would simply be expected to apologize. And the fact everyone would be so silent about it made the pressure really intense.
Yakuza 3 is a video game about the Japanese gangsters (known as Yakuza). Boing Boing sent someone to put the game in front of three actual yakuza to see what they thought of it.
Of the three reviewers, only Kuroishi manages to play it all the way to the end. Two of the three are missing their pinkies -- in the old days, when a yakuza or his subordinates screwed up, they chopped off pinkies as an act of atonement -- and this seems to affect their gameplay.
The game got high marks overall.
M: The corporate yakuza guys get a thumbs up for realism. Nice suit. Smart. Financially savvy. Obsessed with money. Sneaky and conniving. Ruthless.
S: There are a lot of guys whom I feel like I know. The dialogue is right too. They sound like yakuza.
K: Braggarts, bullies, and sweet-talkers. I agree -- it feels like I know the guys on the screen.
M: Kiryu is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn't bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games.
S: I don't know any ex-yakuza running orphanages.
K: There was one a few years ago. A good guy.
M: You sure it wasn't just a tax shelter?
K: Sure it was a tax shelter but he ran it like a legitimate thing. You know.
I am a sucker for this stuff...it reminds me of Chicago gang members reviewing The Wire.