The art of the Japanese tattoo has fascinated people across the world for decades, but in Japan they are taboo since traditional full body tattoos are associated with the Japanese mafia – the Yakuza.
Few organizations are as feared as the legendary Yakuza. They have an impact well beyond Japan, in real life as well as in popular fiction.
Yakuza Tattoo offers a unique insight into the dragons, fish and gods that form the identity of the Yakuza. While the motifs are inspired by the structure of the organization, Japanese history and mythology, younger members tend to add a contemporary touch to their body art. Andreas Johansson is an academic and one of a small number of persons that have been allowed to photograph and interview members of one of the world’s most secretive organizations.
Yakuza Tattoo includes detailed images of widely different Yakuza tattoos. At one stage, right in the middle of a gang war, Johansson frequented the shady nightclubs, bars, restaurants and back streets of Yokohama in the company of a Yakuza boss. He also visited the homes of members of the Yakuza, documenting Yakuza symbols and body art.
Andreas Johansson did what any first-rate photojournalist does – go into the field and immerse himself in the world of his subjects. Guided by the yakuza’s most famous symbol, the tattoo, Johansson offers a revelatory look inside the culture and mythology of Japan’s extraordinary underworld.
"Essential reading for anyone concerned with Japanese organized crime."
- David E. Kaplan, co-author, Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld
"Yakuza Tattoo combine three of our favourite subjects, by deftly cov- ering the noble art of tattooing, the scary world of organized crime and unique ways of Japanese culture in one superb book."
- Proper Magazine
"Andreas Johansson without a doubt achieved something incredible, giving a most detailed insight into a gang, that is as famous for its infamous brutality as it is for its tattoos. is book is de nitely one to wish for this upcoming Christmas."
- Media Zink
Andreas Johansson has a PhD in the History of Religions. He works at the Lund University and has a special interest in the religions of Asia. He has conducted a number of eld studies in South Asia, analyzing religious terminology and symbols used by non-religious organizations. Johansson is also an avid photographer.