Bennet Faber interviewed photographer Anton Kusters for Steward Magazine about his time spent inside the Japanese Yakuza while living in Tokyo. Kusters spent his time learning how the Yakuza integrate with Japanese society, and it’s a pretty intriguing look at how organized crime plays such a large but almost begrudgingly accepted role in many cities.
One of my favorite quotes from the interview:
Steward: What was it like in the beginning?
Anton Kusters: I was extremely nervous. Since they are gangsters, I thought I should be very careful, in case I shot something I wasn’t supposed to see. But this actually upset the gang. They saw my nervousness as disrespectful. I remember one time early on this guy pulled me aside and said, “You are here to take pictures. Act like a professional.” It turned out they respected me if I was really aggressive about getting a certain shot. To not take photos was a sign of weakness.
At the end of the day, to them, it’s all just a job.