Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

News from an editorial, corporate, portrait, reportage photographer. Based in Scotland, tel. +44-(0)7831-138817

Shoko Tendo, Yakuza Moon


Another tear sheet has recently popped into my email inbox, showing a woman covered in tattoos. As a photographer in Glasgow, Scotland, it’s no strange sight to see women with tattoos but this one is a little bit different. These photographs, taken on assignment in Japan, of Shoko Tendo, the daughter of a dead Osaka Yakuza chief, take tattooing to the extreme. The portrait photographs first appeared in the Guardian, then I was given a second assignment to spend time with Shoko Tendo by Marie Claire (America) Magazine, a nice two day shoot.

The first photo assignment for the Guardian newspaper took place in an office and was limited in scope for images, the second editorial shoot was much better. For two days I criss-crossed Tokyo with Shoko, visiting the cemetery where she went to pray, visiting her old work areas, her sister’s house. All the while photographing. The image of her holding her daughter, which is published every time a magazine requests this set of images took a little talking to make happen. Shoko obviously wasn’t too keen to take her top off, but in the end, after I’d tried explaining what an interesting image it’d make, she agreed. Thankfully Shoko was happy with the results of the shoot, the images keep appearing in magazines over and over, I get numerous requests via my photographic archive for people who would like the images for their own use ( I decline these requests for this set), and the story and images continue to resonate with people which is great.

The below set comes from the latest magazine to use the images, Skin Deep tattoo magazine in the UK. A very pleasant magazine, editor and picture desk to deal with briefly over this spread.

Shoko Tendo, in Skin Deep Magazine.


Shoko Tendo, and her daughter, in Skin Deep Magazine, UK, 2012.


Shoko Tendo, in Skin Deep Magazine, UK, 2012.

Certainly beats Mum and Love on yer knuckles.


  1. Someone I’ve always wanted to meet. The book was painful reading at times but uplifting in the end. Missed the FCCJ event. Must find an excuse to interview her. Love the pics, of course

    • Thanks Fred. I’m sure you stick round Tokyo long enough the commission will come. There seems to be no end to the interest in Shoko Tendo. Hope you’re well and thriving. -JSH

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