Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Now That's An Author Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - With her dyed-brown long hair and tight designer jeans, Shoko Tendo looks like any other stylish young Japanese woman — until she removes her shirt to reveal the vivid tattoos covering her back and most of her body.

The author of “Yakuza Moon,” a best-selling memoir just out in English, the 39-year-old Tendo says that police efforts to eradicate the gangsters have merely made them harder to track.

“The more the police push, the more the yakuza are simply going underground, making their activities harder to follow than they ever were before,” she told Reuters in a recent interview.

Police say full-fledged membership in yakuza groups fell to 41,500 last year, down from 43,000 in 2005, a decline they attribute to tighter laws against organized crime.

“They’re being forced into a corner, their humanity taken away,” she said. “All the things they used to do for a living have been made illegal, so life has become very hard.”

Being a gang member is not illegal in Japan, and until recently the gangs were known for openness. Their offices even posted signs with their names and membership lists inside.

Gangs cooperated with police, handing over suspects in return for police turning a blind eye to yakuza misdemeanors, but this broke down after organized crime laws were toughened in 1992.
Has anyone read this book? I think I'm going to have to look for it now. Talk about ink! Wow, that's a major tattoo. How cool is it that she wrote the book and posed for the cover?


  1. Wow. Looks kinda painful. I'm wondering whatever possessed her to do that. This isn't just a tattoo, she's using her body as a canvas.

  2. I agree. I look at her and think, "Owww!"

  3. Interesting stuff. She's tougher than I am.

  4. Anonymous10:00 AM

    That's an impressive tattoo! :)

  5. I have nine tattoos and plan on a few more before I'm done, so to me, this author looks amazing. :)