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Odd job

Japan’s reformed gangsters rely on one woman’s prosthetic pinkies

April 25, 2016

Yukako Fukushima is trained in prosthetics, but her specialty is peculiar: the 44-year-old specializes in designing pinky fingers specifically for gangsters. According to a profile by The Guardian, Fukushima has been making life-like versions of the littlest finger for two decades as members of yakuza – Japan’s organized crime rings – seek a normal life without noticeable markers of their participation in the dark world. (The small fingers are often excised in ritual shows of contrition.) She’s won two government awards for her work.

“If you lose a finger in a car accident, people are sympathetic,” said Fukushima, who works in Osaka. “But that’s not the case with the yakuza. Most people can’t get past their tattoos or missing fingers.”

Her work was the cause of a breakup and criticism from the designer’s family members, some of whom suggested that she was “enabling” gangsters, The Guardian reports. Fukushima has the capability to design more than 1,000 shades of skin color.

Read the full story at The Guardian.