This is what my late grandfather told me about his 30 years of work in Japan. Yakuza members and police officers have an implied agreement. As long as they don’t collide, and as long as the Yakuza keeps their problems to themselves and doesn’t bring them into conflict with the police, the police will leave the Yakuza alone.
This is usually the case. The older, more experienced gang members understand and follow this arrangement. The Chimpira, or low-level punks, and other scum such as Bosozoku are usually the cause of any problems.
They are not to be taken lightly. They are criminals who have henchmen that would kill you at the slightest nod by their bosses. They have a wide range of businesses, from prostitution to protection rackets and extortion, as well as ‘legitimate waste disposal’, government contracts, and more. They don’t care about the details because their earnings are billions.
Yakuza is also known as Boryokudan, Gokudo, or Japanese gangsters. They are members of a criminal organization similar to the Mafia, called Boryokudan (violence groups).
The term yakuza is used in Japan, and in other countries, particularly in the West, to describe gangsters, criminals, organized groups, and Japanese organized crime as a whole. Yakuza often adopt samurai rituals and have elaborate tattoos on their bodies.
They are involved in extortion and blackmail. They also engage in prostitution, drug trafficking, and smuggling. Also, they are involved in criminal activity around the world.
The term yakuza (“good for nothing”) may have come about through its origin in Japanese card games similar to baccarat or blackjack: when playing this form of game using cards called yakuza (“eight-nine-three”) it would result in worthless hands, hence its origin as a term used for this kind of behavior. added up, give the worst possible total.
It is hard to pinpoint the origins of the yakuza, but it’s believed that they descended from either gang formed by ronin (masterless Samurai), who became bandits, or from groups of good-hearted people who protected villages from these same wayward samurai in the early 17th Century. The yakuza’s lineage can also be traced back to grifters and gambling bands in Japan during the feudal era.
Police estimates indicate that gang membership peaked in the 1960s at 184,000. By the beginning of the 21st century, their numbers had decreased to 80,000. This was divided evenly between regular and associate members.
Most of the members of the conglomerate are affiliated with one of 20 conglomerate groups. The Yamaguchi-gumi is the largest conglomerate, founded in 1915 by Yamaguchi Harutchii and fully developed by Taoka Kazuo after World War II.
The yakuza hierarchy resembles a family, similar to the Italian Mafia. The oyabun (boss) is the leader of any conglomerate or gang of yakuza.
A right-wing, ultranationalist ideology is often matched with a rigid hierarchy and discipline. Kobun traditionally takes a blood oath of allegiance, and a member who breaks the yakuza code must show penance–historically through a ritual in which the kobun cuts off his This practice has decreased over the years.
The yakuza call themselves Ninkyodantai, which means “chivalrous organization” in Japanese. Although their methods can be questioned, they are known to perform charitable actions, including donating and delivering aid to the victims of the Kobe Earthquake of 1995, and the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The yakuza has shifted from violent crime to white-collar crimes, relying on bribery instead of violence. In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, they were among the least murderous criminal organizations in the world.
The relationship between the yakuza in Japan and the police is complicated by these activities. Yakuza membership itself does not constitute a crime, and businesses owned by yakuza gangs and their headquarters are usually clearly marked. Japanese police are usually aware of the whereabouts and activity of gangs without taking any action.
Even members have been asked to perform public duties, such as when a yakuza security force was assembled in 1960 to protect U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower during his visit to Japan. Dwight Eisenhower, although the visit did not take place.
Some Japanese view the Yakuza as a necessary evil because of their chivalrous façade. The organizational nature of their crimes is also seen as a way to deter impulsive street crime.
In the 1990s, the Japanese police agency introduced the term Boryokudan as part of an antigang law in order to emphasize the criminal nature of yakuza groups.
In the following years, the Japanese government continued to enforce stricter laws against criminal organizations into the 21st Century.
FAQs About Yakuza
Is the Yakuza really powerful?
The yakuza were described as “a necessary evil”. While their involvement in criminal activity has always been acknowledged, their ability to monopolize the underworld and control it, curbing the excessiveness of less-organized groups and foreign groups was seen as comforting.
Will the Yakuza harm foreigners?
As a tourist, you will never have any contact with the Yakuza. Since they control gambling, nightclubs, and insurance businesses, and two of these three include tourists as clients, any bad publicity will fall on them. Culturally, this is a big no-no.
Why are Japanese so afraid of Yakuza?
Many of them have been in prison for crimes such as murder, assault, racketeering, and extortion. Why do the Yakuza not need to hide? Westerners have a very poor understanding of the Yakuza, as they think of it as a Japanese Mafia.