The yakuza members wanted custom-made
pinkies to replace the ones they’d cut off.
The prosthetic replacements are better then always trying to keep your hand in a fist.
Shintaro Hayashi never expected his job to lead him to the underworld.
The prosthetics maker built a career making silicone body parts for patients with breast cancer, or legs and arms for those injured in serious accidents.
But a decade ago, he started to notice a change in the clientele at his Tokyo-based company, Aiwa Gishi.
"I started to see a gradual increase in people who were asking for prosthetic pinkies," Hayashi, 39, said. "They weren’t the standard small, medium or large, but custom-made pinkies."
In Japan, a stunted pinkie signifies membership in the yakuza, or Japanese mafia. In a ritual known as "yubitsume," yakuza members are required to chop off their own digits to atone for serious offenses. The left pinkie is usually the first to go, though repeated offenses call for further severing. As a result, those who get out, have a hard time finding work because of the stigma attached to those missing fingers.
That’s where Hayashi comes in.
The doctor molds silicone prosthetic pinkies, made to seamlessly mask the amputation, making for a smoother transition to the outside world. Priced at nearly $3,000 each, the fingers are carefully painted, to match the exact skin color of the client. Former yakuza members, who make up 5 percent of Hayashi’s business, often keep several sets of fingers for different seasons – the light skinned version for winter, and a tanned look for summer.
Read more and watch video (autoplays): Prosthetic Fingers Help Reform Japan’s Feared Yakuza Gangsters, ABC News>>
Via: Prosthetics maker does a roaring trade in replacement pinkies for ex-yakuza, Boing Boing>>