"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 organised crime 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 themselves "ninkyō dantai" (任侠団体 or 仁侠団体), "chivalrous organisations". The yakuza are notoriously kent for thair strict codes o conduct an very organised naitur. Thay are very prevalent in the Japanese media an operate internationally wi an estimatit 102,400 members.
Divisions and origin[eedit | eedit soorce]
Despite uncertainty aboot the single origin o yakuza organisations, maist modren yakuza derive frae twa classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo Period (1603–1868): tekiya, those who primarily peddled illicit, stolen or shoddy goods; an bakuto, those who war involved in or participated in gambling.
Tekiya (peddlers) war considered ane o the lowest social groups in Edo. As thay began tae form organisations o thair ain, thay teuk ower some administrative duties relating tae commerce, sic as staw allocation an pertection o thair commercial activities. During Shinto festivals, thair peddlers opened stalls an some members war hired tae act as security. Each peddler peyed rent in exchange for a staw assignment an pertection during the fair.
The Edo govrenment eventually formally recognised sic tekiya organisations an granted the oyabun (leaders) o tekiya a surname as well as permission tae cairy a swuird — the wakizashi, or short samurai swuird (the right tae cairy the katana, or full-sized samurai swuirds, remained the exclusive right o the nobility an samurai castes). This wis a major step forward for the traders, as anly umwhile samurai an noblemen war allowed tae cairy swuirds.
Bakuto (gamblers) haed a hintle lawer social staundin even than traders, as gambling wis illegal. Mony sma gambling houses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge o towns an villages aw ower Japan. Most o thair gambling houses ran loan sharking businesses for clients, an thay uisually maintained thair ain security personnel.
The places themselves, as well as the bakuto, war regarded wi disdain bi society at lairge, an hintle o the undesirable image o the yakuza oreeginates frae bakuto; this includes the name yakuza itself (ya-ku-za, or 8-9-3, is a losin haund in Oicho-Kabu, a form o blackjack).
Because o the economic situation during the mid-period an the predominance o the merchant class, developin yakuza groups war componed o misfits an delinquents that haed jynt or formed yakuza groups tae extort customers in local markets bi selling fake or shoddy goods.
The rites o the yakuza can still be seen tae this day in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Awtho the modren yakuza haes diversified, some gangs still identify wi ony group or the ither; for ensaumple, a gang whose primary soorce o income is illegal gambling mey refer tae themselves as bakuto.
Organization and activities[eedit | eedit soorce]
Structure[eedit | eedit soorce]
During the formation o the yakuza, thay adoptit the traditional Japanese hierarchical structur o oyabun-kobun whaur kobun (子分; lit. foster bairn) owe thair allegiance tae the oyabun (親分; lit. foster parent). In a hintle later period, the code o jingi (仁義, juistice an duty) wis developed, whaur lealtie an respect are a wey o life.
The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalised bi ceremonial sharin o sake frae a single cup. This ritual is nae exclusive tae the yakuza—it is an aw commonly performed in traditional Japanese Shinto weddings, an mey hae been a pairt o sworn brotherhood relationships.
During the World War II period in Japan, the mair traditional tekiya/bakuto form o organisation declined as the entire population wis mobilised tae pairticipate in the war effort an society came unner strict military govrenment. Efter the war, houiver, the yakuza adoptit it again.
Prospective yakuza come frae aw walks o life. The maist romantic tales tell how yakuza acceptit sons who haed been abandoned or exiled bi thair 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 backgrounds.
Yakuza groups are heidit bi an oyabun or kumichō (組長, faimily heid) who gies orders tae his subordinates, the kobun. In this respect, the organisation is a variation o the traditional Japanese senpai-kōhai (senior-junior) model. Members o yakuza gangs cut thair faimily ties an transfer thair lealtie tae the gang boss. Thay refer tae each ither as faimily members - fathers an elder an younger brothers. The yakuza is populated awmaist entirely bi men, an thare are very few weemen involved, who are cried "nee-san" (姐さん aulder sister). When the third Yamaguchi-gumi boss (Kazuo Taoka) died in the early 1980s, his wife (Fumiko) teuk ower as boss o the Yamaguchi-gumi, albeit for a short time.
The yakuza hae a very complex organisational structur. Thare is an oweraw boss o the syndicate, the kumicho, an directly beneath him are the saiko komon (senior advisor) an so-honbucho (headquarters chief). The seicont in the chain o command is the wakagashira, who governs several gangs in a region wi the help o a fuku-honbucho who is himself responsible for several gangs. The regional gangs themselves are governed bi thair local boss, the shateigashira.
Each members connection is ranked bi the hierarchy o sakazuki (sake sharin). Kumicho are at the tap, an control various saikō-komon (最高顧問, senior advisors). The saikō-komon control thair ain turfs in different auries or ceeties. Thay hae thair ain underlings, includin ither underbosses, advisors, accountants an enforcers.
Those who hae received sake frae the oyabun are pairt o the immediate faimily an ranked in terms o elder or younger brothers. Houiver, each kobun, in turn, can offer sakazuki as oyabun tae his underling tae form an affiliated organisation, which much in turn form lawer ranked organisations. In the Yamaguchi-gumi, which controls some 2,500 businesses an 500 yakuza groups, thare are even 5t rank subsidiary organisations.
Rituals[eedit | eedit soorce]
Yubitsume, or the cutting o ane's finger, is a form o penance or apology. Upon a first offence, the transgressor must cut off the tip o his left little finger an gie the severed portion tae his boss. While an underboss mey dae this in penance tae the oyabun if he wants tae spare a member o his ain gang frae faur retaliation.
Its origin stems frae the traditional wey o holding a Japanese swuird. The bottom three fingers o each haund are uised tae grip the swuird tightly, wi the thumb an index fingers slichtly loose. The removal o deegits stairtin wi the little finger muivin up the haund tae the index finger progressively waikens a persons grip on the swuird.
The idea is that a person wi a waik swuird grip then haes tae rely mair on the group for pertection—reducing individual action. In recent years, prosthetic fingertips hae been developed tae disguise this distinctive appearance.
Mony yakuza hae full-body tattoos. Thair tattoos, kent as irezumi in Japan, are still eften "hand-picked", that is, the ink is inserted beneath the skin uisin non-electrical, haund-made an haund held tuils wi needles or sharpened bamboo or steel. The procedure is expensive an painful an can tak years tae complete.
When yakuza members play Oicho-Kabu cards wi each ither, thay eften remove thair shirts or open them up an drape them aroond thair waists. This allows them tae display thair full-body tattoos tae each ither. This is ane o the few times that yakuza members display thair tattoos tae others, as thay normally keep them concealed in public wi lang-sleeves an heich-necked shirts. When new members join, thay are eften required tae remove thair trousers as well an reveal anly lawer body tattoos.
Syndicates[eedit | eedit soorce]
The three largest syndicates[eedit | eedit soorce]
Awtho yakuza membership haes declined follaein an anti-gang law aimed specifically at yakuza an passed bi the Japanese govrenment in 1992, thair are thocht tae be mair nor 103,000 active yakuza members in Japan the day. Awtho thare are mony different yakuza groups, thegither thay form the lairgest organised crime group in the world.
|Principal families||Description||Mon (crest)|
(六代目山口組 Rokudaime Yamaguchi-gumi)
|Creatit in 1915, the Yamaguchi-gumi is the biggest yakuza faimily, accoontin for 50% o aw yakuza in Japan, wi mair nor 55,000 members dividit intae 850 clans. Despite mair nor 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 tradeetionally been the territory o the Yamaguchi-gumi.)
The Yamaguchi faimily is successfu tae the pynt whaur its name haes acome 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 faimily, wi 20,000 members dividit intae 277 clans. The Sumiyoshi-kai, as it is whiles 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 lik a federation. The chain o command is mair lax, an awtho Shigeo Nishiguchi is aaways the supreme oyabun, its leadership is distributit amang several ither fowk.|
|The Inagawa-kaï is the third lairgest yakuza faimily 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.||120px|
Designated bōryokudan[eedit | eedit soorce]
A designated boryokudan (指定暴力団 Shitei Bōryokudan) is a "particularly harmful" yakuza group registered bi the Prefectural Public Safety Commissions unner the Organised Crime Countermeasures Law (暴力団対策法 Bōryokudan Taisaku Hō) enactit in 1991.
Unner the Organised Crime Countermeasures Law, the Prefectural Public Safety Commissions haes registered 22 syndicates as the designated boryokudan groups. Fukuoka Prefectur haes the lairgest nummer o designated boryokudan groups amang ony o the prefectures, at 5; the Kudo-kai, the Taishu-kai, the Fukuhaku-kai, the Dojin-kai an the Kyushu Seido-kai.
Designated boryokudan groups are uisually lairge, auld-established organisations (maistly formed afore Warld War II, some even formed afore the Meiji Revolution o the 19t century), houiver thare are some exceptions sic as the Kyushu Seido-kai which, wi it's blatant armed conflicts wi the Dojin-kai, wis registered anly twa years efter its formation.
The nummers which follae the names o boryokudan groups refer tae the group's leadership. For ensaumple, Yoshinori Watanabe heid the Yamaguchi-gumi fifth; on his retirement, Shinobu Tsukasa became heid o the Yamaguchi-gumi sixth, an "Yamaguchi-gumi VI" is the group's formal name.
|Name||Heidquairters||Reg. in||Name||Heidquairters||Reg. in|
|18px Inagawa-kai||Tokyo||1992||Shinwa-kai II||Kagawa||1992|
|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|
|18px Kozakura-ikka IV||Kagoshima||1992||Fukuhaku-kai III||Fukuoka||2000|
|Asano-gumi IV||Okayama||1992||Kyushu Seido-kai||Fukuoka||2008|
Other notable bōryokudan[eedit | eedit soorce]
Fitmerks[eedit | eedit soorce]
- "Criminal Investigation: Fight Against Organized Crime (1)" (PDF). Overview of Japanese Police. National Police Agency. June 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- 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 Missing or empty
- Bruno, Anthony. "The Yakuza - Oyabun-Kobun, Father-Child". truTV. Retrieved 28 February 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 (in Japanese)
- "Boryokudan Comprehensive Measures — The Condition of the Boryokudan", December 2010, Hokkaido Prefectural Polis (in Japanese)
- "List of Designated Bōryokudan", February 24, 2011, Nagasaki Prefectural Police (in Japanese)
- "Retrospection and Outlook of Crime Measure", p.15, Masahiro Tamura, 2009, National Police Agency (in Japanese)