Cherry blossoms | the YAKUZA book vs. 893 magazine

Cherry Blossoms

In Tokyo now photographing cherry blossoms... For some reason, the past 3 years, somehow, in my ever infinite wisdom, I've always managed to miss this huge event. But not this year.

This is going to be the closing image of what I think is the first major step in the Yakuza project: the photo book "ODO YAKUZA TOKYO".

Why cherry blossoms? Well, that's another one of the many enigmas surrounding the Yakuza: "ODO" or 桜道, is literally translated as "the way of the cherry blossom", and is the credo of the particular family that I'm following. An image of cherry blossoms seems crucial to the book.


But first things first: yes, the book is finally coming... I've found a printer, I'm finishing the design, I've narrowed down the paper choice, and I've been recommended an incredible binding. More on the book coming very very soon: the design, the model, what's in it, how I am going about publishing it, seeking support from you guys, how I'm going to try to sell it, etc....

People ask me what the difference is between the book and the magazine (893 Magazine). At first, I'd just keep saying, "well the book is like a book, and the magazine is like a magazine", but as more and more people started giving me that blank stare, I realized that explanation didn't quite cut it :-)

I think it's more along the lines of this: 893 Magazine allows me to bridge the gap between the project and talking about the project. 893 Magazine effectively has given me the much needed ability, the platform to talk about my personal experiences along the way. In fact, one could compare the magazine to an abbreviated, condensed, more permanent printed version of a blog or a personal diary.


Contrary to the above, the book "ODO YAKUZA TOKYO" is the actual project. The images, all reproduced in the best possible way I can afford, as a perfectly sized tangible book object, a quality package that represents the first two years of photographing the Yakuza.

If the book is the story in pictures, the magazine is talking about the story in pictures. Two different things, but both equally necessary.

So why not combine into one book? For the simple reason that it is time for the book, but the rest of the Yakuza project is not over yet.... there are still many things to come after this first book, and upcoming 893 Magazine issues give me that ongoing platform to talk about this: issue #2 will talk about the process of preparing the documentary film, designing the book, sketching the exhibition, going deeper into the personal life of our fixer Taka, new images along the way, and more...

So there you have it. A sneak peek into what's cut out for me for the rest of this year. Plus starting several new projects. Gulp. What a workload. But I'm looking at it from the bright side... I'm really, really, really lucky to be doing what I love.

Hugs to all,