Andreas Johansson │Yakuza Tattoo
Text(s) by Andreas Johansson
25 x 20 cm
Publisher: Dokument Press
“Watching movies about the Yakuza before meeting them is nothing I recommend. Before I left I was worried that I would be threatened, shot, stabbed, beaten up, blackmailed, a witness to crimes or arrested; the list is long when you are working with a project like this one. There was an ongoing war between the clan I describe in my book and a rivalling family during the weeks I spend with the Yakuza; it was a dangerous situation, but I knew that despite the movies, the yakuza are not known for their wild shooting sprees”, says Andreas. He met them in Yokohama nightclubs, bars, back alleys and in their homes. Yakuza Tattoo offers a unique insight into the dragons, carp and gods that are associated with yakuza identity.
“There seems to be a stereotypical image of yakuza symbols and tattoos. In my book, I show there is great variation”, says Andreas Johansson. The motifs are inspired by the structure of the organization, Japanese history and mythology, but younger members today choose to add modern elements. Tattoos are still not socially acceptable in Japan, however. “Getting an irezumi is to dirty your body, the body that your parents gave you. But doing it as a yakuza is saying that you are never going to return to a normal life.”