"Yakuza" written in katakana
|Presumit oreegin||The Kabuki-mono|
|Actual number||102,400 members|
|Principal clans||1. Yamaguchi-gumi Inagawa-kai|
|Activities||Creeminal activities an/or legitimate businesses|
Yakuza (ヤクザ or やくざ ), kent as gokudō (極道) anaw, are members o traditional organizit creeme syndicates in Japan. The Japanese polis, an media bi request o the polis, caw them bōryokudan (暴力団), literally "violence group", while the yakuza caw thairsels "ninkyō dantai" (任侠団体 or 仁侠団体), "chivalrous organizations". The yakuza are notoriously kent for their strict codes o conduct an vera organizit natur. They are vera prevalent in the Japanese media an operate internaitionally wi an estimatit 102,400 members.
Table o contents
Diveesions o oreegin 
Despite uncertainty aboot the single oreegin o yakuza organizations, maist modren yakuza derive frae twa classifications which emergit in the mid-Edo Period (1603–1868): tekiya, those who primarily peddled illicit, stolen or shoddy guids; an bakuto, those who wur involvit in or pairticipatit in gamblin.
Tekiya (peddlers) wur considered ane o the lawest social groups in Edo. As they began tae form organizations o their awn, they teuk wer some admeenistrative duties relatin tae commerce, such as staw allocation an protection o their commercial activities. Durin Shinto festivals, these peddlers opened stalls an some members wur hired tae act as security. Each peddler paid rent in exchynge for a staw assignment an protection durin the fair.
The Edo govrenment eventually formally recognizit such tekiya organizations an grantit the oyabun (leaders) o tekiya a surname as well as permission tae carry a sword — the wakizashi, or short samurai swuird (the richt tae carry the katana, or full-sized samurai swuirds, remained the exclusive richt o the nobility an samurai castes). This wis a major step forward for the traders, as anerlie umwhile samurai an noblemen wur allouit tae carry swuirds.
Bakuto (gamblers) haed a hintle lawer social staundin even than traders, as gamblin wis illegal. Mony sma gamblin hooses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge o touns an veelages aw ower Japan. Maist o these gamblin hooses ran loan shairkin businesses for clients, an they uisually maintained their awn security personnel.
The places thairsels, as well as the bakuto, wur regardit wi disdain bi society at lairge, an hintle o the undesirable image o the yakuza oreeginates frae bakuto; this includes the name yakuza itsel (ya-ku-za, or 8-9-3, is a luisin haund in Oicho-Kabu, a form o blackjack).
Acause o the economic situation durin the mid-period an the predominance o the merchant class, developin yakuza groups wur composit o misfits an delinquents that haed joined or formit yakuza groups tae extort customers in local mercats bi sellin fake or shoddy guids.
The ruits o the yakuza can still be seen the day in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Although the modren yakuza haes diversifeed, some gangs still identifee wi ane group or the ither; for example, a gang whose primary source o income is illegal gamblin mey refer tae thairsels as bakuto.
Organization an activities 
Durin the formation o the yakuza, they adoptit the traditional Japanese hierarchical structur o oyabun-kobun whaur kobun (子分; lit. foster child) awe their allegiance tae the oyabun (親分; lit. foster parent). In a hintle later period, the code o jingi (仁義, juistice an duty) wis developit whaur lyalty an respect are a wey o life.
The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalizit bi ceremonial sharin o sake frae a single cup. This ritual is no exclusive tae the yakuza—it is an aw commonly performit in traditional Japanese Shinto weddins, an mey hae been a pairt o sworn britherhuid relationships.
Durin the Warld War II period in Japan, the mair traditional tekiya/bakuto form o organization declined as the entire population wis mobilisit tae pairticipate in the war effort an society came unner strict military govrenment. Efter the war, housomeivver, the yakuza adaptit again.
Prospective yakuza come frae aw walks o life. The maist romantic tales tell hou yakuza accept sons who hae been abandoned or exiled bi their parents. Mony yakuza stairt oot in junior heich schuil or heich schuil as common street thugs or members o bōsōzoku gangs. Perhaps acause o its lawer socio-economic status, numerous yakuza members come frae Burakumin an ethnic Korean backgrunds.
Yakuza groups are heidit by an oyabun or kumichō (組長, family head) who gives orders tae his subordinates, the kobun. In this respect, the organization is a variation o the traditional Japanese senpai-kōhai (senior-junior) model. Members o yakuza gangs cut their family tees an transfer their lyalty tae the gang boss. They refer tae each ither as family members - faithers an elder an younger brithers. The yakuza is populatit amaist entirely bi men, an there are vera few weemen involvit who are cried "nee-san" (姐さん aulder sister). When the 3rd Yamaguchi-gumi boss (Kazuo Taoka) dee'd in the early 1980s, his wife (Fumiko) teuk ower as boss o Yamaguchi-gumi, albeit for a short time.
The yakuza hae a vera complex organizational structur. There is an oeeraw boss o the syndicate, the kumicho, an directly beneath him are the saiko komon (senior advisor) an so-honbucho (heidquairters chief). The seicont in the chain o command is the wakagashira, who govrens several gangs in a region wi the help o a fuku-honbucho who is hissel responsible for several gangs. The regional gangs thairsels are govrened bi their local boss, the shateigashira.
Each member's connection is rankit bi the hierarchy o sakazuki (sake sharin). Kumicho are at the top, an control various saikō-komon (最高顧問, senior advisors). The saikō-komon control their awn turfs in different auries or ceeties. They hae their awn unnerlins, includin ither unnerbosses, advisors, accoontants an enforcers.
Those who hae received sake frae oyabun are pairt o the immediate family an rankit in terms o elder or younger brithers. Housomeivver, each kobun, in turn, can affer sakazuki as oyabun tae his unnerlin tae form an affiliatit organisation, which micht in turn form lawer rankit organizations. In the Yamaguchi-gumi, which controls some 2,500 businesses an 500 yakuza groups, there are even 5t rank subsidiary organizations.
Yubitsume, or the cuttin o ane's finger, is a form o penance or apology. Upon a first offence, the transgressor must cut aff the tip o his left little finger an give the severed portion tae his boss. Sometimes an unnerboss mey dae this in penance tae the oyabun if he wants tae spare a member o his awn gang frae further retaliation.
Its oreegin stems frae the traditional wey o hauldin a Japanese swuird. The bottom three fingers o each haund are uised tae grip the swuird tichtly, wi the thumb an index fingers slichtly loose. The removal o digits stairtin wi the little finger muivin up the haund tae the index finger progressively weakens a person's swuird grip.
The idea is that a person wi a weak swuird grip then haes tae rely mair on the group for protection—reducin individual action. In recent years, prosthetic fingertips hae been developit tae disguise this distinctive appearance.
Mony yakuza hae full-body tattoos. These tattoos, kent as irezumi in Japan, are still aften "haund-pokit", that is, the ink is insertit beneath the skin uisin nan-electrical, haund-made an haund held teuls wi needles o sharpened bamboo or steel. The procedur is expensive an painful an can take years tae complete.
When yakuza members play Oicho-Kabu caurds wi each ither, they aften remuive their shirts or open them up an drape them aroond their waists. This allous them tae display their full-body tattoos tae each ither. This is ane o the few times that yakuza members display their tattoos tae others, as they normally keep them concealed in public wi lang-sleevit an high-neckit shirts. When new members join, they are aften required tae remuive their trousers as well an reveal ony lawer body tattoos.
The three lairgest syndicates 
Although yakuza membership haes declined follaein an antigang law aimit specifically at yakuza an passed bi the Japanese govrenment in 1992, there are thought tae be mair than 103,000 active yakuza members in Japan the day. Although there are mony different yakuza groups, thegither they form the lairgest organizit creeme group in the warld.
|Principal families||Description||Mon (crest)|
(六代目山口組 Rokudaime Yamaguchi-gumi )
|Creatit in 1915, the Yamaguchi-gumi is the biggest yakuza family, accoontin for 50% o aw yakuza in Japan, wi mair than 55,000 members dividit intae 850 clans. Despite mair than ane decade o polis repression, the Yamaguchi-gumi haes continued tae grow. Frae its heidquairters in Kobe, it directs creeminal activities throughoot Japan. It is involvit in operations in Asie an the Unitit States an aw. Kenichi Shinoda is the Yamaguchi-gumi's current oyabun. He follaes an expansionist policy, an haes increased operations in Tokyo (which haes no traditionally been the territory o the Yamaguchi-gumi.)
The Yamaguchi family is successful tae the point whaur its name haes become synonymous wh Japanese organizit creeme in mony pairts o Asie ootside o Japan. Mony Cheenese or Korean persons who dae no ken the name "Yakuza" wad ken the name "Yamaguchi-gumi", which is frequently portrayed in gangster movies.
"The meanin o the samurai swuird is in the warrior an the swuird as ane it coud be a dangerous opponent" Yamabishi (山菱)
|The Sumiyoshi-rengo is the seicont lairgest yakuza family, wi 20,000 members dividit intae 277 clans. The Sumiyoshi-kai, as it is sometimes cried, is a confederation o smawer yakuza groups. Its current oyabun is Shigeo Nishiguchi. Structurally, Sumiyoshi-kai differs frae its principal rival, the Yamaguchi-gumi, in that it functions like a federation. The chain o command is mair lax, an although Shigeo Nishiguchi is aaways the supreme oyabun, its leadership is distributit amang several ither fowk.|
|The Inagawa-kaï is the third lairgest yakuza family in Japan, wi roughly 15,000 members dividit intae 313 clans. It is based in the Tokyo-Yokohama aurie an wis ane o the first yakuza families tae expand its operations tae ootside o Japan. Its current oyabun is Yoshio Tsunoda.|
Designatit boryokudan 
A designated boryokudan (指定暴力団 Shitei Bōryokudan ) is a "particularly harmful" yakuza group registered by the Prefectural Public Safety Commissions unner the Organizit Creeme Coontermeasurs Law (暴力団対策法 Bōryokudan Taisaku Hō ) enactit in 1991.
Unner the Organizit Creeme Coontermeasurs Law, the Prefectural Public Safety Commissions hae registered 22 syndicates as the designatit boryokudan groups. Fukuoka Prefectur haes the lairgest number o designatit boryokudan groups amang aw o the prefecturs, at 5; the Kudo-kai, the Taishu-kai, the Fukuhaku-kai, the Dojin-kai an the Kyushu Seido-kai.
Designatit boryokudan groups are uisually lairge, auld-established organizations (maistly formit afore the Warld War II, some even formit afore the Meiji Revolution o the 19t century), housomeivver there are some exceptions such as the Kyushu Seido-kai which, wi its blatant airmit conflicts wi the Dojin-kai, wis registered anerlie twa years efter its formation.
The numbers which follae the names o boryokudan groups refer tae the group's leadership. For example, Yoshinori Watanabe heidit the Yamaguchi-gumi fift; on his retirement, Shinobu Tsukasa became heid o the Yamaguchi-gumi sixt, an "Yamaguchi-gumi VI" is the group's formal name.
|Name||Heidquairters||Reg. in||Name||Heidquairters||Reg. in|
|Kudo-kai IV||Fukuoka||1992||Kyodo-kai III||Hiroshima||1993|
|Okinawa Kyokuryu-kai||Okinawa||1992||Sakaume-gumi VIII||Osaka||1993|
|Kyosei-kai V||Hiroshima||1992||Azuma-gumi II||Osaka||1993|
|Kozakura-ikka IV||Kagoshima||1992||Fukuhaku-kai III||Fukuoka||2000|
|Asano-gumi IV||Okayama||1992||Kyushu Seido-kai||Fukuoka||2008|
Ither notable bōryokudan 
- Criminal Investigation: Fight Against Organized Crime (1). Overview of Japanese Police. National Police Agency (June 2007). Retrieved on 23 Juin 2008. .
- Corkill, Edan, "Ex-Tokyo cop speaks out on a life fighting gangs — and what you can do", Japan Times, 6 November 2011, p. 7.
- Kaplan, David; Dubro, Alec (2004), pp. 18–21 .
- Bruno, Anthony. The Yakuza - Oyabun-Kobun, Father-Child. truTV. Retrieved on 28 Februar 2012. .
- The Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia - The Crime Library - Crime Library on truTV.com
- Japanorama, BBC Three, Series 2, Episode 3, first aired 21 September 2006
- Johnston, Eric, "From rackets to real estate, yakuza multifaceted", Japan Times, 14 February 2007, p. 3.
- "Police of Japan 2011, Criminal Investigation : 2. Fight Against Organized Crime", December 2009, National Police Agency
- "The Organized Crime Countermeasures Law", The Fukuoka Prefectural Center for the Elimination of Boryokudan (Japanese)
- "Boryokudan Comprehensive Measures — The Condition of the Boryokudan", December 2010, Hokkaido Prefectural Polis (Japanese)
- "List of Designated Bōryokudan", February 24, 2011, Nagasaki Prefectural Police (Japanese)
- "Retrospection and Outlook of Crime Measure", p.15, Masahiro Tamura, 2009, National Police Agency (Japanese)