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Thread: The most dreaded word...(not ninja)...YAKUZA!!!

  1. #16
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    Dropped by one friend's house, and was introduced to a tekiya - another type of gangster who traditionally control the concessions of street vendors, etc. He was on the run from the gang. It seems that he was ordered to cut off his finger due to some infraction, and he had a doctor inject it with novocaine a few minutes before he dropped by for the ceremony. He was admired for his guts - we had him go in minute detail of the chop, the crunching sound, etc. - but then someone later turned up who saw him emerging from the doctor's office. It was unclear if the gang now wanted another finger or his life, so he was on the lam, considering suicide. He eventually returned, and lost another finger, unmedicated.

  2. #17
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    Default My experience working with the Yakuza

    For Yakuza stories...

    Lived in Akita for a few years. While I was there, a new hostess club called "American" opened up. The selling point was all the hostesses were American (pretty catchy). I needed some extra money, and wasn't doing anything evenings, so I went in and asked if they might need some help. They hired me to be interpreter/bus boy/bottle drainer.

    The owner of the bar had previously had Fillipino hostesess, and wanted a change. The manager was a suave Japanese guy, he knew how to work the women. The owner wasn't happy with his performance though, so he brought in a second manager. This guy had worked in money collecting for the company. He was sterotypical middle management. Punch perm, drove a big American car. A real hard !!!. I got along with him fine and he was a nice guy to me, but not the best person to motivate 19 and 20 year old American women.

    One time I had a student who was a little late on a payment, and wasn't careful and mentioned in front of him. He offered to collect the money for me. I turned him down.

    The owner would usually spend the evening on the top floor of the building, where there was a Mahjong parlor. Also, a really nice guy.

    Spent one night drinking with one of the hostesses, and employee and a manager from the local soap land. Ended up having to carry the girl to a host club. The manager also offered that if I ever had any problems, he would do what he could to help me.

    I think the most interesting was one of the customers one night was this huge guy. The 2nd manager called me over and introduced me to him. The manager said "show him", and he asked if it was ok. The manager's reply, "it's only ken". Dud took off his shirt and was full upper body Yakuza tatoo. After he heard I was ok, he was extremely friendly to me and we talked some.

    I only worked for them for a little over a month. I do have more stories, but I'm sure I've gone on long enough. The club was closed, they did their small jail time for hiring workers without the proper documentation (the hostesses, not me). Then, I visited them when they opened a new club staffed by Japanese hostesses, did a simple translation job for them and got to drink for a night for free.

    All in all, I found that the Yakuza that I had contact with were nice men. I think with them, as long as you don't have any problems with them, they have no problems with you. I worked hard at my job, and when I left I had no obligations to them. I learned a little about the behind the scenes of bar life in Japan. It was a great learning experience.

    I am a little concerned that if I ever move back to Akita, which I might because my wife if from there, that I might a knock on the door some day with someone asking me for a favor, but I figure it won't be anything too big.
    Ken Rabenstein

  3. #18
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    I've got no yakuza, but a number of HK Triad stories...
    Joost van Schijndel

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jest
    I've got no yakuza, but a number of HK Triad stories...

    Yeah, go on then.

    In the final analysis, the yakuza are a bunch of crims. Plain and simple. But generally speaking, they don't appear to be too much bother if left alone. That sounds a bit naive but you know what I mean...

    I don't know why but the triads strike me as being very different - utterly coldhearted and extremely ruthless, like they'd think about chopping someone up with a butcher's knife the same way we'd think about walking the dog...

    Also, I get the impression that the socio-economic make-up of triad members is different to the yakuza. Again, it just seems that half of their shooters, I mean the young killers who do the real dirty work, are just that - street kids at heart who've been given a gun. Again, life just seems to be REAL cheap for them...
    Omar Rashid

    "Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts" - Jack Arthur Johnson

  5. #20
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    On a different note, I find it incredibly interesting that there is a very close historical relationship between Japanese organized crime and Japanese espionage. I would be very curious indeed to follow current and future developments along these lines, seeing as the administration here has already taken some pretty ballsy strides in both intelligence and special operations capabilities for Japan.

    Black Dragon Society, anyone?
    Matthew Snowden
    -The only way to learn is be aware and hold on tight.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarr
    chopping someone up with a butcher's knife the same way

    street kids at heart who've been given a gun.
    Those are pretty much the stories I could tell (obviously not having partaken in them, but knowing people who did). The idea of chopper attacks especially are pretty unnerving.

    Seeing guys at the beach at Repulse bay with huge tats on their backs.
    Going through estates at night which you know are triad controlled.
    Hearing a guy tell you: "Doesn't matter where you'll hide, we'll find you.".

    Guess he forgot about it the next morning.
    Joost van Schijndel

  7. #22
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    This is from today's Sydney Morning Herald:

    Revealed: Shoko's dragon days with the yakuza

    With her dyed-brown long hair and tight designer jeans, Shoko Tendo looks like any other stylish young Japanese woman -- until she removes her shirt to reveal the vivid tattoos covering her back and most of her body.

    The elaborate dragons, phoenixes and a medieval courtesan with one breast bared and a knife between her teeth are a symbol of Tendo's childhood as the daughter of a "yakuza" gangster and her youth as a drug-using gang member.

    The author of Yakuza Moon, a best-selling memoir just out in English, the 39-year-old Tendo says that police efforts to eradicate the gangsters have merely made them harder to track.

    "The more the police push, the more the yakuza are simply going underground, making their activities harder to follow than they ever were before," she said.

    Police say full-fledged membership in yakuza groups fell to 41,500 last year, down from 43,000 in 2005, a decline they attribute to tighter laws against organised crime.

    The number of yakuza hangers-on, including thugs and members of motorcycle gangs, who are willing to do their dirty work, though, rose marginally to 43,200.

    More shocking for many in Japan, where gun-related crime is rare, were a handful of fatal shootings by yakuza earlier this year, including the killing of the mayor of Nagasaki.

    Tendo said the shootings were a result of the legal crackdown on yakuza, which has made it harder for them to ply their traditional trades of prostitution, drugs and bid-rigging.

    "They're being forced into a corner, their humanity taken away," she said. "All the things they used to do for a living have been made illegal, so life has become very hard."

    Experts say this is especially true for gangsters in less affluent parts of Japan, a reflection of the same sort of income gaps that increasingly plague the nation as a whole.

    "Yakuza need a lot of money, but depending on where they are, business isn't going so well," said Nobuo Komiya, a criminology professor at Tokyo's Rissho University. "So they turn to guns."

    Descended from medieval gamblers and outlaws, yakuza were long portrayed as latter-day samurai, bound by traditions of honor and duty and living extravagant lives.

    Tendo's father, the leader of a gang linked to the Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest yakuza group, led a "classic" yakuza life replete with Italian suits, imported cars and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

    Raised with strict ideas of honour, she was both spoiled and scolded by the tattooed men who frequented her family home.

    But she also faced prejudice and bullying because of her father. In response, she joined a gang, took drugs and become the lover of several gangsters before near-fatal beatings and drug overdoses convinced her to change her life.

    Now a writer and mother, Tendo has distanced herself from the yakuza world, which she feels is rapidly losing its traditions.

    Being a gang member is not illegal in Japan, and until recently the gangs were known for openness. Their offices even posted signs with their names and membership lists inside.

    Gangs cooperated with police, handing over suspects in return for police turning a blind eye to yakuza misdemeanors, but this broke down after organized crime laws were toughened in 1992.

    The largest part of yakuza income now comes from pursuits involving stocks, property and finance.

    "What we're going to see from here on is the yakuza becoming more structured, like the US Mafia, and dividing itself between business experts and violence experts," said Manabu Miyazaki, a writer whose father was also a yakuza.

    "As the world becomes more borderless, they'll need experts who can deal with this too, speaking Chinese and English."

    Like Japan as a whole, gangsters are also ageing, and fewer young people look to organized crime as a career option.

    Police figures showed fewer than 20 per cent of yakuza were in their 20s in 2005, a trend both Tendo and Miyazaki attributed to young people's dislike for the tough life involved.

    "They think being a yakuza is like joining a company," Miyazaki said. "There's a joke about a young man going to a gang office and asking what the salary was, and would he get insurance."

    But while today's yakuza are eschewing tattoos and amputated fingers -- cut off to atone for mistakes -- in favour of more mainstream lifestyles, they are unlikely to disappear altogether.

    "Fewer people want to become yakuza," Miyazaki said. "But those who do will be very logical, very scary -- and much, much more dangerous."

    Reuters
    Dean Whittle
    Sydney, Australia
    www.ninjutsuaustralia.com

  8. #23
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    I'm resurrecting this old thread because one of Australia's best current affairs shows, Foreign Correspondent, is doing a piece on the Yakuza tomorrow (Tuesday) night, specifically about it's increasing involvement in child pornography.

    More details can be found here ( http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2009/s2715335.htm), and if you're not in Australia but still interested in the show it can be watched through the Foreign Correspondent website here (http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/default.htm) after Tuesday night.

    With respect
    Dean Whittle
    Sydney, Australia
    www.ninjutsuaustralia.com

  9. #24
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    The most interesting run-in I've had with actual Yakuza occurred in Yamaguchi (ironically enough). I think I was about 17 or 18 at the time and a friend in myself were looking for an Izakaya and ending up finding our way into an off-the-radar bar. While I was trying to get a drink my overly confident friend proceeded to start hitting on an attractive young lady sitting near the end of the bar.

    As usual, his sloppy "anata wa kirei deyo" wasn't having the desired effect so he started blabbing on in English. She was obviously annoyed, but that didn't slow him down one bit.

    While he was getting no where I turned and took a look around the bar. It was pretty sparse with a few people sitting and drinking. What caught my attention was the group of gentlemen at the very back table wearing black suits, and sunglasses in a poorly lit environment. Then the fact that there was a very nice, black, and tinted Nissan President sitting outside came to mind...

    At that point I was pretty confident that we were in a Yak bar. Their attention was directed at my friend and one of them seemed pretty pissed. Not only was I an American in an area where Americans aren't too common, I was an American in a Yak bar who had a friend who was hitting on one of their girls.

    I figured it was time to leave and as I was trying to convince my friend if was time to bolt, one of the suits got up and "sauntered" over to where we were standing. He stopped right in front of my friend and took the cigarette he was smoking out of his mouth, stuck out his tongue, extinguished the cigarette on it (ouch), and then flicked it directly at my friend's face.

    At this point I think it's time to go. However, my friend is now pissed. I grabbed the back of his shirt to start him towards the door but he had already started swinging. All I remember is seeing the suit's sunglasses go flying, him hitting the ground, and all the other suits jumping up from their table. We both turned and ran... and ran... and ran.

    After a good 5 minute, full-speed sprint, the fear of being stabbed to death and dumped in the sea passed. While we were looking for my car my friend asks me, "Do you think they were Yaks?". Needless to say that was the last time I went to a bar with him.

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