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Anton Kusters October 20, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.
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The Bath House. Narita, Japan 2009

Anton Kusters (b. 1974, Belgium) has lived in Saudi Arabia, Australia and Japan and currently divides his time between Brussels, Tokyo and New York City. Anton obtained a Master’s degree in Political Philosophy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and studied Photography at the Student Art Centre (STUK), and then continued in-depth in the Academy of Fine Arts in Hasselt. In 2001, he started a web and graphic design company and in December 2008, he and David Alan Harvey started BURN Magazine, an online magazine for emerging photographers. In regards to his own photography, he specializes in long term projects, delivering immersive experiences with images, film and words.

About the Photograph:

“I’m exhausted, waiting at the entrance of the tiny bath house at the golf course near Narita. A couple of hours earlier, while we were teeing off, Soichiro told me that playing golf is a good way to really really get to know someone. It’s also one of the first things that Japanese businessmen do, and many business deals in japan are started, and finished, during a game of golf. I feel ever so slightly uneasy knowing that I am, in part, being “measured up” here… but the beauty is that this is a double edged sword: I can do my own measuring too. Tanamoto Kaicho has just finished his round, and arrives at the bath house. He gestures me to follow him in. I enter the first room, where I undress, put my clothes in one of the many little baskets, grab a small towel to scrub and proceed to the bath and shower area. I didn’t win the game of golf… not by a long shot. But somehow I felt that being able to hold my own, and at the same time talk about anything else but business, was way more important that being to focused on winning. It’s almost like the game in and of itself seemed irrelevant… and at the same time very relevant on a different level.”

About the project Odo: “In 2009 I started to tell a story in images, video and words about the hidden world of Japanese crime families: the Yakuza. Together with my brother, I contact with the family that controls the heart of Shinjuku, Tokyo. After long and intense negotiations, which lasted over 10 months, unique access was granted to document the family. The story ‘Odo’ is my vision of an inaccessible subculture which I will never fully understand. Odo is the Japanese word for ‘the flight of the cherry blossom’, and is the unofficial name of the Yakuza family that I am portraying.”

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