Yakuza [Japan] ?? : Inside the syndicate by Anton Kusters
In 2011 a Belgian photographer was allowed entry into one of Japan’s Yakuza families. Over two years, he captured the lives of those living in the underworld.
His name is Anton Kusters.
Anton was born in Belgium (1974), and obtained a master’s degree in Political Science at K.U.Leuven (Belgium).
He studied photography at STUK Leuven (Belgium) and Academy of Fine Arts, Hasselt (Belgium).
Currently he lives & works in Belgium and Tokyo (Japan).
Together with friend and mentor David Alan Harvey he founded BURN Magazine, an award-winning online platform dedicated to emerging photographers. Together with Diego Orlando and Harvey he runs the yearly Emerging Photographer Fund, which awards $10,000 + $5,000 to emerging photographers to continue or complete a photographic project.
His work has been featured in The Sunday Times Magazine, New York Times, l’Espresso, GEO magazine, TEDx, El Pais, BBC, The Economist, BBC Radio 4, Leica M Magazine, dS Weekblad (De Standaard), Dagens Næringsliv, Cobra.be, De Laatste Show, VOP Taiwan, The Japan Times, ELLE Men, Marie Claire, BURN Magazine, Status Brazil and City to City China, amongst others.
His work has been exhibited in Maastricht (NL), Genk (BE), Rome (IT), Barcelona (ES), Sydney (AUS), Hong Kong (HK), Liège (BE), Montpellier (FR), Genève (CH), Antwerp (BE), Aalst (BE) and Hasselt (BE).
He has taught workshops in Berlin, Venice and New York.
He is currently working on several projects and collaborations: The Blue Skies Project, Caduta Massi, Weight/Carry, and On Your Shoulders We Stand. The online epistolary #image_by_image with fellow photographer Ivan Sigal is an experimental public dialogue that aims to enliven the consideration of photos in social media, and to rebut the assertion that they are necessarily one-dimensional pictograms. It is a way of exploring meaning in dialogue with concepts and our shifting understanding of them across time and history.
Article cover photo by Anton Kusters.