Articles, Blog

All About the Yakuza

All About the Yakuza

The Yakuza: Japan’s violent crime syndicate
that operates outside the law. Here we present to you frightening facts about
the largest criminal organization in the world. Number 8: Cutting off pinkies
When entering a terrifying organization like the Yakuza, you should expect to be exposed
to a lot of harm, not just from enemy gangs, but from your own members as well. Failure is often not tolerated, and you should
expect more than just detention. The Yakuza practice plenty of bizarre rituals,
but are most known for Yubisume, or the act of cutting off a section of one’s little finger. This is done as a form of penance, as a means
of apology, or punishment. The transgressor will then present their severed
pinky to their boss. This also serves as a symbol of pledging one’s
loyalty. Sometimes an underboss may even do this in
penance to an upper boss to apologize for the mistakes done by his underlings. The origin of this bloody ritual comes from
the samurai’s traditional way of holding a katana. The Japanese sword is held tightly by the
lower digits, so removal of their little fingers would lead to a much weaker grip. Unable to properly defend themselves, the
warriors would then have to rely more on their leaders, thus reducing individual action. It is also for this reason that anime and
manga characters in Japan are usually drawn having full digits, compared to many Western
cartoons. When Bob the Builder was introduced in Japan,
the character’s hands were almost changed to have 5 fingers each instead of 4, in order
to not give the idea to children that he’s involved with the Yakuza. Number 7: Full body tattoos
Another bizarre and painful Yakuza ritual is full body tattoos. This practice is known as “Irezumi”, and has
a rather long standing in Japan’s history. It evolved from being used for ritual and
status purposes, to becoming a form of punishment in order to brand criminals. Tattooing was eventually outlawed in the Meiji
period as the Japanese government was trying to protect its image and maintain a good impression
on the West. However, the practice continued underground,
and although legalized after World War 2, has continued to retain its image of criminality,
particularly practiced by members of underground organizations like the Yakuza. Tattooing among Yakuza members usually involves
the entire body, including genital regions. Rather than utilizing modern electrical methods,
they usually have their tattoos hand poked with needles of sharpened steel or bamboo. This procedure not only takes years to complete
in order to cover the whole body, but is also painful and expensive, but serves as a necessary
rite of passage in becoming part of the organization. It is also for this reason that most Japanese
citizens avoid getting tattoos for fear of being mistaken as Yakuza members. Another gruesome fact is that these heavily
tattooed skins are sometimes peeled off the corpses of dead Yakuza members to be displayed
in galleries and sold on the black market. Number 6: Corporate Blackmail
The Yakuza are known for all sorts of crimes ranging from human trafficking, rigging sumo
matches, and firearm deals. But one of their biggest fortes is corporate
blackmailing. Compared to Italian mafias who usually extort
small businesses for “protection money”, the Yakuza practices their own unique extortion
method, with a specialized faction known as the sokaiya. The sokaiya would typically blackmail large
corporations and conglomerates, usually focusing on stockholder meetings. They would obtain the rights to attend the
meetings through stock purchases, and then scare other stockholders with their presence. The sokaiya also dig up all matter of dirt
on business leaders; be it secret love affairs, illegal deals, or other scandals. The targets would then have no choice but
to pay up in this position. Executives caught in Sokaiya related scandals
often have their public images and reputations damaged permanently. One of the biggest sokaiya related scandals
ever was the Mitsubishi scandal in the late 90s, where yakuza members gained access to
their shareholder meetings through stock acquisition. Under threat of having compromising information
being leaked, the corporation was forced to pay the yakuza up to 13 million yen. Refusal to bow down to their demands could
lead to death, as what happened to the Vice President of Fujifilm in 1995, who was cut
down with a katana for refusal to pay bribes. Number 5: Heirs to the samurai
Some people actually consider the yakuza as the true heirs to the no longer existing warrior
class of feudal Japan known as the samurai. The reason for this theory is due to some
obvious similarities between the two groups when compared side by side. Both yakuza and samurai are organized into
a strong hierarchical system that is based on honor and subservience. They have a strong sense of tradition and
great pride in what they do, and at the same time regard violence and murder as necessary,
and an often effective way of getting things done. The yakuza also use a katana – the sword once
wielded by the samurai – as their choice of melee weapon. Number 4: Political involvement
The Yakuza have always been involved in Japanese politics, and the two have a long intertwined
history. The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan which
has dominated the country’s politics for over 60 years is said to have received ridiculous
amounts of donation money from the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest yakuza organization. This is due to the organization’s leaders
supporting the nationalist right wing party. It is also said that a number of high profile
politicians have been proven to have had links with the yakuza, including ministers and even
prime ministers. This actually bodes well for both parties,
as the yakuza get to meddle in politics within legal boundaries, while politicians get to
employ yakuza members for any shady and illegal activities without getting their hands dirty. In 2012, Japan’s justice minister, Keishu
Tanaka, was forced to resign his post when it came to light that he had links to the
yakuza. But even without having their people placed
in positions of political power, the Yakuza can still directly use extortion techniques
as they do with business corporations, in order to get their way, and have a direct
influence in the country’s lawmaking. It is also rumored that the yakuza is able
to manipulate outcomes of elections by guaranteeing specified amounts of votes for any candidates
they prefer to win. Number 3: Their true size
One of the most terrifying things about the Yakuza is their true size and extent of influence. After the second world war, it was reported
that the total number of yakuza members had increased exponentially to about 184,000. This equates to about 1 yakuza member for
every 2 police officers. This is the most members to have been in the
organization at any one point, and was perceived as a threat by the American forces following
their occupation of Japan. That number has dwindled down over the years,
but their numbers are still reportedly to be over 100,000. Also, the yakuza has grown from a local Japanese
organization into an international crime syndicate, as their branches have reached other countries
such as China, South Korea, and most notably the United States. They are known to operate mostly in California,
Nevada and New York, where they have put down roots and made alliances and partnership deals
with the Italian mafia, Korean and Vietnamese gangs, as well as Chinese triads. Their activities here are mainly centered
around money laundering, firearm and drug dealings, prostitution, and organized gambling
rings. But their criminal activities on American
soil is mostly centered on Hawaii, as the islands serve as the perfect midway station
between Japan and mainland America. This is helpful for their smuggling operations
between the two countries. In 2012, President Obama froze the assets
of the Yamaguchi-gumi in America in an attempt to stop the Yakuza group from doing business
there. Number 2: They hate being ridiculed
It is quite a well known fact that the greatest mafia film of all time, the Godfather, never
once had the word “mafia” mentioned throughout the entire film. This is mainly as an attempt to not upset
the real mafia, who initially opposed the making of the film. At the Japanese side, the Yakuza also doesn’t
take things lightly when it comes to being depicted badly on film. In 1992, famous Japanese film maker Juzo Itami
released “Minbo”, a satire film which made fun of the yakuza. In it, the gangsters are depicted as dumb
bullies who grunt a lot and hang out in large groups, who at the end would eventually be
outfoxed by an intelligent female lawyer, played by Itami’s own wife. Dissatisfied with the film, the real yakuza
attacked Itami, slashing him on the face and shoulder, leaving the film maker with a large
trademark scar on the face. Apparently that wasn’t the end of it. In 1997, the 64 year old Itami jumped eight
stories down to his death from the roof of the building he lived in. It was publicly ruled as suicide, but strangely
Itami’s wife was put under police protection from the yakuza. An American journalist and crime writer named
Jake Adelstein had a different story. According to a source, he said, the yakuza
Goto-gumi clan were responsible for both the knife attack and Itami’s jump to death. Under the orders of their leader, Tadamasa
Goto, the gangsters had gone to Itami’s house and forced him to the roof at gunpoint. They had then given him a choice between taking
a bullet to the head, or jumping off the building, which the latter had a slightly higher chance
of survival. So Itami jumped, thus creating the perfect
illusion of a suicide. Number 1: Yakuza wars
The yakuza is known for violent rivalries between different gangs, and these rivalries
would sometimes spiral out of control into full-on gang wars. The worst yakuza gang war ever was the Yama-Ichi
war that took place in Japan from 1985 to 1989. It stemmed from a succession dispute in the
Yamaguchi-gumi, which is Japan’s largest and most dominant yakuza clan. A splinter group named Ichiwa-kai was formed
by a disgruntled lieutenant who failed to inherit the Yamaguchi-gumi’s top position. He then ordered the assassination of his former
gang’s leading figures, which was carried out through a shooting inside an elevator. The Yamaguchi-gumi vowed revenge, igniting
a bloody four year war. Things got so terrible that a daily local
newspaper started putting together a score card listing down the deaths and injuries
inflicted upon the 2 gangs on their front page. In the end, the Yamaguchi-gumi won a costly
victory, since too many of their members ended up in police custody. Another more recent yakuza war was the Dojin-Seido
War between 2006 and 2013. This was caused when a group of about 500
men broke off from the Dojin-kai group, forming a new gang called the Seido-kei. The splinter group would then form an alliance
with the Yamaguchi-gumi, the main rival of their previous group. This new affiliation led to a bloody 7 year
war, which involved the use of military machine guns, hand grenades, bombs, and shots exchanged
during high-speed car chases. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, and
one innocent civilian died from gunfire. The war officially ended in 2013, with both
sides issuing a public apology, and the Seido-kei dissolving itself.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “All About the Yakuza

  1. I live in japan and my mom got a flat tire
    My mother also happens to have a lot of tattoos so no one really wanted to stop to help and after a few hours a man with a mesh shirt on with tattoos all the way up his arms and all the way down his back came to help us 🙂 he was really nice
    This story isn’t necessarily related to the video but I wanted to share it

  2. I hate them they totured junko futura how can someone be so monster in human flesh I m lucky to not born there

  3. The tattoo part of this video is incredibly inaccurate. The old lady they show tattooing is actually Philippine 🤦🏾‍♂️


  5. I'm still stuck on the pinky thing. I know it's for offenses tho. What could you have done to get your entire pinky cut off?🧐

  6. they always do gay fight and full body tattoe with nonsense hahahaha and dont know how to write or work hard hahahaha,feeling boss with katana bwahahaha!!!!

  7. That is not how they tattoo, it's called tebori and the instrument is way different than the one shown.

  8. Also: real katanas are illegal in Japan. Only display models, which cannot be sharpened. Thought you would like to know.


  10. Call me crazy ie psycho or however you want, but they need to die with traditional trick. If they are samurais then group of highly trained ninjas with Ninjutsu can eliminate a lot of them 1 by 1. Noone can beat a ninja plan. They are fast, strong, smart and deadly. But the only problem is… They are 100.000+ members…..

  11. Play Yakuza This shit is awesome! Where do I sign up
    Actually researches real Yakuza NopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNopeNope

  12. Gone are the days of the Samurai… Gone are the days of the Shinobi… Now! Enter the days of the YaKuZa!

  13. The reason they get full bodied tattoos is because being 5 foot 2 inches and 120 pounds is not very scary. Most don't look like they could fight their way out of a wet paper bag I guess that's why they use weapons.

  14. I have to say……. Those are some beautiful tattoos. OK, and why is dude who's supposed to be dead blinking? 😂😂😂😂

  15. Around 2:25 is Philippines Tattoo tradition, not the japanese one, although it is a very similar system and technique of tattooing as well

  16. Another atomic bomb might lower the Yakuza numbers… 😀 (this is a joke as realistically it probably would cause a third World War)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *