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Asakusa

OUT OF STOCK

Chantal Pattyn’s selection for her storefront.

I was drawn to the work of de Goede by an invitation to an exhibition at Ibasho Gallery in Antwerp. Ibasho specializes in Japanese photographers and people from elsewhere who have a fascination for Japan, such as Ronin de Goede (pseudonym). Asakusa is a superbly published book (since I literally put my nose in every book, I even found the smell of the ink intoxicating) with truly exceptional photos of the Yakusa or Japanese mafia. It is a miracle that a white and 2 meters tall Dutchman could get so close to his subject. For nearly a decade, de Goede traveled to Tokyo several times a year to visit the popular Asakusa district where the Senso Ji temple is located. The story started with his fascination for the full body tattoos of Horikazu, a tattoo sensei with the fine fleur of Yakusa as a clientele. Through the master’s son, de Goede got into the heart of the Yakusa. His patience and discretion were appreciated and rewarded. He  photographs Yakusa members during long and painful tattoo sessions, attends their parties, hangs out with their wives. 

I had de Goede as a guest in Pompidou on Klara. And really, what nobody could see on the radio: the photographer himself now also has a full body tattoo. But that doesn’t matter. His pictures are an ode to Japanese photography of the 1970s. Without a single tattoo, I was deeply impressed.
Chantal Pattyn

I was drawn to the work of de Goede by an invitation to an exhibition at Ibasho Gallery in Antwerp. Ibasho specializes in Japanese photographers and people from elsewhere who have a fascination for Japan, such as Ronin de Goede (pseudonym). Asakusa is a superbly published book (since I literally put my nose in every book, I even found the smell of the ink intoxicating) with truly exceptional photos of the Yakusa or Japanese mafia. It is a miracle that a white and 2 meters tall Dutchman could get so close to his subject. For nearly a decade, de Goede traveled to Tokyo several times a year to visit the popular Asakusa district where the Senso Ji temple is located. The story started with his fascination for the full body tattoos of Horikazu, a tattoo sensei with the fine fleur of Yakusa as a clientele. Through the master’s son, de Goede got into the heart of the Yakusa. His patience and discretion were appreciated and rewarded. He  photographs Yakusa members during long and painful tattoo sessions, attends their parties, hangs out with their wives.

I had de Goede as a guest in Pompidou on Klara. And really, what nobody could see on the radio: the photographer himself now also has a full body tattoo. But that doesn’t matter. His pictures are an ode to Japanese photography of the 1970s. Without a single tattoo, I was deeply impressed.

Asakusa” by Dutch photographer Ronin de Goede is a photographic diary of the days he spent photographing the work of Japanese master tattoo artist Horikazu and the clients who hire him. As Japan has historically been and continues to be a country where tattoos remain closely associated with the criminal underworld, following Horikazu’s work – his specialty being the full-body tattoo – slowly allowed de Goede entry to the world of the yakuza…

“Yakuza thrive on their image as honourable outlaws, perpetuated in Japanese novels, magazines, plays, films and manga. But nothing could be further from the truth – while they may make very public displays of their rare acts of public generosity, ultimately their power is based on fear. Like criminal syndicates around the world, in Japan the yakuza run protection rackets and drugs, they trade in human flesh, they extort, bribe, bully, maim and kill, and because of their nationalist, usually right-wing ethos, became enmeshed with the government due to their long and complicated history serving as the government’s enforcers, most prominently after the Second World War (…)” (from Mark Poysden’s afterword)

This book is not available on our website. If you are interested, please visit the Ibasho Gallery website.
Photo : Copyright © 2021 IBASHO

  • ZEN Foto Gallery
  • Language English

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