Perhaps one of the most famous women of the Yakuza is Shoko Tendo, daughter of a yakuza boss and author of the hit book Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter. The book depicts her chaotic life of drug-addiction, miscarriage, deaths, poverty and psychological & sexual abuse through her heart-breaking memoir. She is known as the first Japanese female ever to break the code of silence and speak about life for women in the seedy Japanese underworld.
Tattooing or Irezumi in modern Japan is not as common as you would think due to the political pressure being put onto tattoo artists. It is estimated that there is around 300 registered tattoo artists in Japan today.
The problem with tattooing is that for years it has been closely linked to criminal gangs such as the Yakuza who would tattoo their entire bodies with elaborate traditional designs often cutting these off around the neck, wrist and ankles. This was one way to avoid being singled out as a member in normal day to day clothing.
Full body tattooing was not only for the male members of the Yakuza and it was not uncommon for females associated with these members to be tattooed also. Although these tattoos can seem beautiful in there own right you also have to realise the history behind the wearer as can be read in the book Yakuza Moon mentioned at the beginning of this article.