A Belgian photographer was allowed to photograph the inner circle of Japan's yakuza


#1

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#2

Next he should photograph the inner circle of Ninjutsu, all of whom happen to be 12-year-old American boys.


#3

One of the interesting things about the Yakuza is that for the most part they’re ridiculously open, compared to how most organized crime groups operate.

They have office buildings as headquarters, with their group names clearly labeled on the front. The police stop by regularly for tea, and to discuss any recent issues that may have come to their attention. Often, if a police member shows up and says “somebody in your group did this” the yakuza would hand somebody over. (The guy gets paid for going to jail, the cops get a photo op and the yakuza get to keep doing what they do.) They’ve even been known to give the police a heads-up when something big’s gone down, so that the police can keep things from getting out of hand. Most members won’t actually hide their membership, so much as play it down a bit in public. They’re also known for charitable work, in particular things like emergency response. They have extensive connections to big business and politics, though that’s generally kept a bit lower-key. Most groups require that every member have a legitimate job of some sort, so they’re all actually somehow part of normal society. They also go to great lengths to keep their shit from effecting those not involved. Troubling normal citizens is usually heavily frowned upon, unless that citizen is the one who started it (by owing them money, for example…) They even own a large number of entirely legitimate businesses that may or may not be aware of who’s running the show. They’ve been known issue press releases.

Long story short, they work very hard to maintain a part-of-the-community, robinhood sort of vibe. I’d be very surprised if Yakuza money wasn’t behind at least some of the Yakuza-hero action movies. Basically, all the effort other organized crime groups devote to secrecy, the yakuza devote to being seen as not quite bad enough to be worth the trouble it’d take to mount a more serious effort to do something about them.

Which isn’t to say that image is /accurate/, they do pretty much all the same things as other groups, they just have better PR.


#4

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