Charles Cowling

 

Posted by Charles

 

Belgian photographer Anton Kusters has just finished a project following a yakuza family. Yakuza? Japanese organized criminals. More here.

A magazine journalist asked Kusters this question:

Photographically, what was the most powerful situation that you encountered during this project?

He replied:

The funeral, which was mind-blowing. I got a phone call that Miyamoto-san, a high ranking boss of the clan, had a stroke and was dying, and I flew over to pay him my last respects. The family appreciated that gesture, and they allowed me to photograph the funeral.

It was incredible not only because it was a traditional Japanese funeral — the body was cremated in a special manner, there were flowers filling the coffin and other cultural specifics — but on top of that, it was a yakuza funeral, so there were 250 or perhaps even more standing in line to be greeted. Every time someone came to pay their respects, they would all bow. It was impressive to watch, and at the same time, it was a very touching moment.

Read the whole article here