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15 Apr 2002
This is one of my favorite subjects regarding Japan.

backside culture :: as in what most Japanese wish didn't exist.

We've all heard of Yakuza but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Yakuza like the famous Mafia are the gang leaders of the Japanese underworld. There's probably not much I can explain that you haven't all heard, read, seen some where else but I'd like to expand on some possiblities here.

The lower level Yakuza are basically independent businessmen trying to make a living. Some do it through protection, gambiling, festival stalls, racketiring, stocks, credit fraud, you name it! If they can make a buck they've already done it.

The Yakuza also are heavily tied to the police. They pay the police for protection, so that they can protect their interest in the business market.

The Police do every so often slap some fingers but still their is a partnership here. The police control the general populice while the Yakuza control the back end dirty crimes. ie, drugs, guns, women.

Ever notice with the fall of the Mafia in the States that other crimial organizations came to power? I really believe that it is because of the yakuza that crime is so low in Japan.

Irezumi (japanese tatoo) ... believe or not ... as the story goes. Is based on fishermen. Fisherman would tatoo themselves so that if they fall in the ocean and die, somebody would be able to recognize their remains.

Because of the relationship of irezumi with yakuza, the western type of tatoos also occurs the same stigma. My friends can't go to many pools or onsen because they have tatoos. (some aren't yakuza)

Leaving the family.
With current laws, many young, not so efficent yakuza have been able to leave their families. NO, the finger cutting is not so often. Or at least, haven't seen too many 4 fingers on the street.

Several of my friends, were Yakuza, and were able to leave the family. I haven't asked how much the had to pay. hehe... I should.

making friends.
hmmm ... I leave that choice up to you. I myself prefer not getting involved with them on anything more than a Kampai. Debts and paybacks are still a very large part of their society.
hmmm ... I don't want to think what they would want from me.

benefits of the Yakuza
- Increased credit card transaction protection
- low crime rate (yes, believe it or not)
- safe parking lots (I used to live in an apartment building were several yakuza lived and my car never even once got a scratch while in the lot since if some scratched the wrong car ... look out!)
- interesting drinking places
- gambling areas
- and many more.

current economics
Recently, much like the japanese economy the Yakuza too have been hit hard by the effects. Many Yakuza have had to quit since they can't make a living. Hey, you gotta have money to survive and if your protectees aren't able to pay what are you to do?

hmmm ... this came out much more jumbled than I had planned. sorry
Tatooed four-fingers... I've heard that some surgeons are specialized in finger prothesis, usually it's the little one that's severed if I'm not wrong.

There's an interesting book by Saga Junichi titled "The Confessions of a Yakuza". Saga Junichi was small town doctor who befriended Eiji Ijichi, a local yakuza boss, one of his patients. He narrates Ijichi's mafia career from "apprentice" to "patrone", the entire book is written in interview-style, very impressive.

Here's another link shedding light on the history of the yakuza and their connections to ultranationalist movements

=> japanreference.com/cgi-bin/jump.cgi?ID=2847

Just trying to shed a little more light on this aspect of Japan's culture.

So many things have been written about this topic that diffentely go beyond my knowledge. I just thought I'd try sharing my bit of knowledge on this topic.

Dang long thread though wasn't it 😊
Much obliged for sharing with us, Moyashi! If there's someone who deserves to be called an "Old Japan Hand", it is you.

My first "encounter" with Yakuza was while watching the movie "Black Rain" with Michael Douglas, hehe. Early 80s, I was still a teenager and stunned. The movie portrayed Japan in a way I've never seen it before. I love Takakura Ken. He seems to have acted in a lot of yakuza movies, I remember there's another one he co-starred in with Robert Mitchum (forgot the title, produced in the 70s), lots of sword-fighting in that film.
I didn't know that Japan also had mafia-type gangs,

I always believed that Japan was a quite reserved country and that these gangs only existed in the country with a lot of trouble (mine ect; lol). I also thought for some reason that the Japanese people were extremely against violence and that it simply didn't exist there. Maybe iit isthe t.v or films I watched as a younger me lol, that has had this impression of a very reserved and obedient nation, but that shows you what I know!!!.
I will be looking forward to more info on this yakuza gang.
That's why you have to troll the papers, especially the crime section. Unfortunately, in order to get a well rounded view of a thing, place, or person, you have to ferret out the good, the bad, and the ugly.


These articles are mostly direct translations from Japanese tabloids, a bit sensationalist, yet infotaining.
Yes, tosh I totally agree with you, it's never easy summing anything up with all the aspects and issues that surround it.

but we must admit that these gangs and mafia-type stories are at times fascinating (in my opinion of course) because they do things that we never would.
I think the term is um, "larger than life" ...Remindes me of the story about Tom Mix, Hollywood actor from the silent twenties. According to a story i came across, Mix had something like a fifty foot rotating neon sign over his house, flashing the words, "Tom Mix". -Hmmm, i must be in spaghetti western mode.
hehe ... Mafia, yakuza, Triad, Russian mafia, they're every where.

I don't want to spoil Japan's image for folks here but ... there's lot's of interesting underground culture in Japan that they don't want you as an outsider to know about.

No, not all Japanese are obedient and subserviant ... heheh ... just chat with my wife.
Originally posted by moyashi
No, not all Japanese are obedient and subserviant ... heheh ... just chat with my wife.
I can confirm that re. my wife too.
lol ... great ...

forgot to post but that movies name was "yakuza" Robert Mitchum was in love with Takura Ken's wife and he didn't know that she was married. Time frame was dated back to the Korean Conflict I believe or was it WWII?
I'm glad the wives have you on your toes, lol,lol,

And do you mean you are not going to tell us about the underground of Japan??? come on you just have to tell us the rest,

those tabloids,lol

hhhh? the rest? lol.... just hang on I'll be posting more over the next few weeks. Just keep on eye on my culture::backside::XXX series!
@ moyashi
"What they dont want you as an outsider to find out about"

I should have let you know as to what I was refering to moyashi sorry and i will be looking forward to your posts
No problem!

Ahhh, the Japanese like to keep things in the family and/or ignore aspects which aren't very palatable, which is very understandable.
And quite right too,

But this is facinating stuff and I'm a little nosey,lolol. (as you've noticed).
I should have been a detective or even a P.I. I love to piece crimes together just like a jigsaw, and if theres one piece missing I just keep on looking,haha,

Thanks Moyashi you are very patient.
more than helpfull moyashi, between thomas and yourself I'v learned so much and I really appreciate the effort and speed that you both use in your replys🙂

I must add you have to get your scanner working because I dont like to keep asking for a picture but here it goes any way, It has been mentioned in another thread that an image of a yakuza could have been used, if there is an image handy and its not to much bother (thomas I'm sorry lol) could and would it be posted,


I'd do anything to keep my few regulars happy!

Below I posted an image showing two yakuza guys with their typical tattoos.

Disclaimer: I, erm, borrowed this image from our friends at Japanforever.net, I don't know where they borrowed it from...

wooooowww now that's a picture,lolol😌 😌

It's scary looking and tough, not what I imagined, but now I can almost see a mafia-type connection, and they must mean business. They must be dedicated to their cause, allow themselves to be tattooed like that, a cult almost.
hmmm half tattoos ... missing the sleeves....

yeah, most yakuza sport attitude. Fun to watch em when they bump into Gaijin though :) .... well, just on the street not in business :)
For one, I would really not want to bump into those guys at times, not in the street, not even in a cafe, but don't stop there, tell us more about their antics, lol.

Have you any stories that they are famous for? Something that everybody knows about them (except me).
ahh they're not that bad :)

hmmm besides racketering. hmmm.... they donated relief goods during the Kobe Earthquake. Make good material for movies. hehe ... both porn and action.

ummm ... wouldn't want to know about their implants would you? ;) apparently quite interesting. Getting into what the Scottsman has under his kilt if you know what I mean. ;)
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