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This contact sheet features Members of the Yakuza, Japan’s mafia, in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, 1998. The Yakuza’s 23 gangs are Japan’s top corporate earners. The gangs modelled themselves on American gangsters from the 1950s. Skilled at putting his subjects at ease, Bruce Gilden is able to capture rare portraits of the gang members, pictured here flashing their traditional gang tattoos. The Yakuza is said to be the largest organized crime phenomenon in the world.
From his collection Go, Gilden presents another side to the traditional, often stereotypical, view of Japanese society, digging deeper to find people who in one way or another, stood out from the others.
Gilden joined Magnum Photos in June 1998.