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Sun Sep 18, 2016, 07:32 AM

Yakuza: Odd Facts About Japan's Organized Crime [View all]

1. I say potato, they say chivalrous.
The Yakuza refer to themselves as Ninkyo Dantai which means chivalrous organization

2. They're on my sight seeing map?
The Yazuka see themselves as a social organization. They have signs outside their headquarters. They're not hard to miss

3. I wonder what's 'In' with the Yakuza this season?
The Yakuza have their own magazine.Yamaguchi-gumi distributed a newsletter to its almost 28,000 members. Named Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, the magazine included haikus and articles on angling. An editorial from the gang’s leader talks about difficult times for the organization. Yakuza numbers have been falling, and the magazine was seen as a way to boost morale.

4. And you thought your tattoos rocked.
The Yakuza sport numerous tattoos. They use the traditional method of manually inserting ink under the skin, known as irezumi. They are seen as a mark of a person’s bravery due to the pain the method inflicts. In recent years, the number of non-yakuza getting this style of tattoo has increased significantly. Popular designs include dragons, mountains, and women. They also get their genital area tattooed as well.
In Osaka, you may not work for the city government in any capacity of you have any tattoos at all

5. You threw a Halloween Party and no kids came? Why are you surprised?
The best Halloween parties are thrown by the Yakuza. The origins date back to the 1980's. A group of Japanese children who lived near a school for foreign children learned about Halloween and went Trick-or-Treating. They went to the local Yakuza HQ in costume with their bags and wanted candy. The man at the HQ tried to shoo them away, they refused to leave. Perturbed and perplexed he finally gave them money and the kids left. The clan researched what Halloween was and in a short time almost every Yakuza gang was hosting a Halloween party, complete with haunted house, candy and so on

6. And you thought the US was litigious.

A Japanese restaurant owner began the process of suing Kenichi Shinoda, the extremely dangerous head of Yamaguchi-gumi we mentioned earlier. She claims that Shinoda has “employer’s liability” for gangsters that demanded protection money and threatened to burn down her bar if she didn’t cough up. She is claiming damages of 17 million yen, around $2.8 million.
In 2008, a group of residents sued to evict the Dojinkai gang from their headquarters in the city of Kurume. The group had split following an argument over leadership, leading to a violent war between the two sides. The residents argued they deserved to be able to live in peace, and so wanted the gangs gone from the city.
At the start of this year, the Kudo-kai, a yakuza syndicate in the south of Japan, were labeled “dangerous” by law enforcement. They had been linked to a series of grenade attacks on rival gangs. Their lawyer argued the label infringed on the group unfairly (they were the only one of the area’s five gangs to receive it) and that it was a violation of the Japanese constitution.

7. That guy that went by with aid packages, probably wasn't from the Red Cross or They have something in common with Hezbollah

Yakuza groups have been sending trucks from the Tokyo and Kobe regions to deliver food, water, blankets and toiletries to evacuation centers in northeast Japan, the area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which have left at least 27,000 dead and missing.
As with the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake, government workers were slow in reaching afflicted areas, and the 300,000 or so survivors, so yakuza groups stepped in quickly, and in many cases, were first on the ground. The yakuza used scooters, boats, and a helicopter to deliver supplies around the clogged streets.

8. Not sure you want to be a member, join the part timers club
Not all the 120,000 or so members are fulltime. About half are considered part-time members

9. They're rather integrated.
While most Yakuza members are Japanese they have some ethnic Koreans and people of other nationalities as well.

10. Do they sport Confederate flags on their pick ups?
Looking at a map of the Yakuza gangs, they are almost exclusively found in the southern parts of Japan. There are a few in Tokyo, but there don't seem to be any really active gangs in the north

11. They'd probably vote for Il Douche Trumpf

Yakuza members are closely tied with conservative political parties. In 2012 Japan’s justice minister, Keishu Tanaka, was forced to resign his post when it came to light that he had links to yakuza.
Like the machine politics of the US, the Yakuza turn out and vote for the LDP and help with campaigns
Yoshio Kodama united the Yakuza factions and became the first “godfather”. He was extremely right-wing and funneled money into the Liberal Democratic Party — an anti-communist right-wing political party.

12. Oh great another test!

Yes, they Yakuza have tests. In 2009, the Yamaguchi-gumi created a 12-page exam for its members. The move came after the government passed harsher laws against organized crime. The test was the group’s attempt to keep its members from getting into trouble by making sure they were clued up on the law. It covered topics from dumping industrial waste to vehicle theft.

13. And don't call him fingers
Yubitsume. Yakuza members who do something they shouldn’t are forced to atone in a brutal way—by chopping off part of their own finger. They start with the tip of their pinkie, but further transgressions require further mutilation.
This dates back to the period when they carried swords. The pinky helped steady the sword. Forcing members to cut off fingers made them more indebted to the Master or Lord. This 'tradition' did not begin with the Yakuza.

14. Their names change so often, how foes anyone keep up.
Crime organizations are named for the leader. The Yamaguchi-gumi is named for their leader Yamaguchi (gumi means group). When he dies, if someone with a different surname takes over the group, the name will change

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