The Losing Hand

Here’s a piece I did for a show at Floating World Comics in Portland, OR. The show is called Battles Without Honor and Humanity, and features pieces inspired by a film of the same name.

The film is about the Japanese gang, the Yakuza. I decided to do a piece showing their somewhat more humble beginnings. The Yakuza were first known as gamblers. The name YA-KU-ZA is literally a losing hand in a traditional card game, (8-9-3).

Another thing I found interesting, is when a member of the Yakuza wrongs the group in some way, the punishment is to sever one’s own fingers, starting with the small finger, and working up through the sets of fingers as needed. This is because, the traditional Japanese grip on a sword is the thumb and index finger loose with the rest of the fingers tight on the hilt. As a Yakuza continues to get punished, his sword grip is weakened more and more with each severed set of fingers, and as a result he has to depend on his brothers’ protection more and more.

Pretty cool. -Andrew

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