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Yakuzas

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RE: Yakuzas

Postby billy-jay » Thu 06.01.2006 10:15 am

I had an encounter with a Yakuza guy about a year ago. I was out drinking with a few military guys that I work with and we ended up in a small place in the bar district near the base. When we walked in, we were the only customers in the place. Not long after that, though, a couple of guys walked in. Both of them were fairly young, one guy was wearing a nice shirt and tie while the other guy was wearing a jogging suit. The guy with the tie started ordering drinks and before long he was ordering drinks for us, too. I never saw him pay and I doubt he was running a tab. The guy running the bar was bending over backwards to serve everybody and do it promptly. I told the guys I was with that they should finish their drinks and leave, which they did. I hung out for a little while longer and Yakuza guy offered to let me drive "his" Mercedes which was parked outside. I politely declined that offer and made my own exit not too long after that.

There is a fair Yakuza presence here, but there aren't very many incidents. Mostly they keep to their business and if you don't mess with them, you're unlikely to have problems.
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby AJBryant » Thu 06.01.2006 12:38 pm

The whole key to the Yakuza system (just like the American Mafia) is to avoid detection


Except they practically wear a uniform. It's almost comical, in a way, how obvious some of them are.

Tony (who knew a few yakuzoids during his time in Japan)
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 06.01.2006 2:23 pm

i actually taught 2 members of the yakuza while i was a missionary.. pretty nice guys in most cases.. their house was probably one of the biggest i have seen in Japan. I think all the wanted to do was impress their friends with their american aquantences.. cause i really don't think they had much interest in the gospel. And to back tony up. the shirts and ties are pretty much a dead give away.. or the tattoos if you ever see one without a shirt..
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby Takeo Saeki » Thu 06.01.2006 6:31 pm

I don't know much about the Yakuza (I read about them before, but I forgot some of what I read), but I know that most average Japanese greatly dislike the Yakuza. I was talking with one of my Japanese friends recently, and the topic of Yakuza somehow came up. She said she really hates them. She wishes they were all gone from Japan.
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby Mukade » Thu 06.01.2006 7:37 pm

keatonatron wrote:
The whole key to the Yakuza system (just like the American Mafia) is to avoid detection. You make people "disappear", you don't mow them down with a bunch of witnesses around.


Actually, I think the biggest difference between the Yakuza and the American mafia is the openness. Yakuza have traditionally been involved in crimes that don't require secrecy - prostitution, gambling (two crimes typically overlooked by the police)...and most important of all, 'protection services.' In many cases, these protection services are offered to large companies and political groups.

Need some dicey corporate data to disappear without a trace? Call the Yakuza you've been paying off the last two years. Need a bothersome political demonstration taken off the streets? Hire the Yakuza and their legion of right-wing van drivers. The connections between the corporate/political world and the Yakuza run deep.

To this end, they don't need to disguise their appearance or their 'hideouts.'

keatonatron wrote:
If you somehow managed to accidentally find a Yaukuza hideout...


It wouldn't be an accident, though...they very boldly advertise who they are on the front of their headquarters! If you go down to the Nanba area of Osaka here and head over towards Shinsaibashi, along the way you'll run into a really seedy area. On the front of one of the buildings is a great big wooden sign that says 'Yamaguchi-gumi.'

No mistaking that.

keatonatron wrote:
Needless the say, the only people who need "disappearing" are Japanese people who have been involved in Yakuza activities for quite some time.


This is true. The Yakuza don't typically target random civilians. But if you do get involved with them and betray them or challenge them, then watch out.

When rather public people are assassinated by the Yakuza, it isn't unheard of for one member of the gumi to volunteer to be taken into police custody in order to take the fall for his superiors. There have been several highly publicized instances of this in the past.

I think the reason the Yakuza are so deeply intrenched in Japanese society is the fact that they often ride that gray line between legal and illegal. That, and the strong ties they have to politicians and powerful companies.
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby AJBryant » Thu 06.01.2006 10:13 pm

I almost forgot. There's a wonderful book -- the definitive work on the topic -- called "The Yakuza" by Kaplan and Dubro. Definitely worth a read if you want to see where they came from, what they've done, and where they are today.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0520215621/


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RE: Yakuzas

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 06.02.2006 8:42 am

hey that's a great book..

by the way, Tony, in your historical studies have you seen influence from the older jidai form or correlate directly with some of the typical yakuza behaviors?
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby AJBryant » Fri 06.02.2006 9:04 am

Well, yeah. If you've ever seen a Zattoichi film, you've seen the proto-yakuza culture in the Edo period. ;)

There have always been gambling/prostitution/crime elements in culture, and the modern yakuzoids have slipped into those slots. But as they exist today, yakuza really are a development owed to the post-war years.

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RE: Yakuzas

Postby karelhof » Fri 06.02.2006 9:37 am

but my big question is, what makes them so different from maffioso in the rest of the entire world? maybe it are just the people in Japan who are different from the rest of the entire world. (no offends) but the most of the information about the yakuza are told by witnesses, or people who heard the story's of a witness etc....
so maybe they just look scary, but IRL are quite different.

(correct me if I'm wrong!)
Last edited by karelhof on Fri 06.02.2006 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby AJBryant » Fri 06.02.2006 1:25 pm

Why not just (1) read the book, or (2) do a websearch on yakuza?

Do you actually expect us to write whole sociological analyses here? ;)

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RE: Yakuzas

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 06.02.2006 2:28 pm

Tony, I think you and I are swimming in the same, what happened to our school systems, pool.. lol, there used to be this thing called an encyclopedia that you could look stuff up in.. then the encyclopedia was put on a cd and you could look it up on the computer.. then, this info was mass digitized and available for everyone to look up and yet there is still that one small voice in the flower saying.. help, help, tell me all about horton hears a who.. :o
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby AJBryant » Fri 06.02.2006 3:43 pm

Preach it, brother.



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RE: Yakuzas

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 06.02.2006 4:37 pm

I was treated to a tempura dinner and a sushi lunch by a yakuza while I was in Japan last summer (with what I later learned was a stolen credit card). He was a friend of a friend, and actually a really funny guy, but that still didn't change my mind about what scum yakuza are :p
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby kotori » Fri 06.02.2006 5:54 pm

AJBryant wrote:
Why not just (1) read the book, or (2) do a websearch on yakuza?

Do you actually expect us to write whole sociological analyses here? ;)

Tony


You know, if it was a topic that you found fascinating, I somehow think that you wouldn't have any problem discussing in detail on this thread.

What is wrong with him wanting actual human interaction and discussion without being shipped off to websites and books? They're good ideas, and maybe he'll go do just that. But in the meantime, he's looking for something more. If you're not interested, fine, but would you stop badgering people about how they do nothing on their own?

Reading things on the 'net is great for most things. But sometimes you start to wonder exactly what might not be told, or what details might be changed, especially on topics such as politics, religion, social groups. You only hear one side of a story or the other, black and white, and none without bias.

This is where productive, almost-real-time discussion (such as.. a forum) comes into play. Where he can ask about things, and have responses from a plethora of people and possibly... maybe.... spark an entire discussion about fact vs fiction about the yakuza.

Is that terrible? For the record, I am mildly curious, too, and would like to hear more information. I could websearch, but I trust most of the people on this site to be more knowledgeable and unbiased than some random web page. I'll probably buy the book, too. Just not right now.
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RE: Yakuzas

Postby Takeo Saeki » Fri 06.02.2006 6:15 pm

*applause* Well put, kotori-san. :D

Oh, and thanks for that link, Tony-san. I just purchased the book. :D
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