Jenny + Antoinette: Female Yakuza's
My grandma does not know that I have tattoos. For the past five years she has not seen my bare arms. During the hot summer months, she'd tell me, "take off your jacket! It's too hot!" I'd always refuse, "Grandma, I'm not wearing a bra." Her husband's family, my grandfather's family were said to be descendants of samurai, naturally we are hot blooded, fearless and dutiful. The Yakuza were no samurai but were the only ones allowed to carry swords other than Japan's revered warriors. The yakuza were marked with tattoos that often covered their whole body and culturally had to cover them up when in public. Their identities were not hidden out of fear but because they would be met with hostility and heads that would shake with disgust, fear and a lack of understanding. These walking pieces of art needed to blend with the homogeneity but their underlying essences manifested in other ways. This shoot pays homage to the women of the Yakuza, the wives, the stronghold, the face and blame of the family. Bosses of the underground, they stood for another way of doing things. In these images you will find that pantsuits conceal the cultural disunity shoddily, for underneath Western, accepted dress, Asian elements prevail. I'm not sure my grandma will ever see my tattoos but perhaps she'll be able to look at these photos and find but a glimmer of beauty.