From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Genichi Nishio)
Subject: Re: SRII/CP2020 : Problems with the Yakuzas
Date: 5 Aug 1994 20:13:49 GMT
Sorry, I couldn't find yakuza-related
books written in English. "Black Rain" is a good movie for Japanese yakuza.
If you can see Japanese comic/Japanimation, "Emblem Take Two" is also
Here is a short description for traditional Japanese yakuza
- What the name "yakuza" mean?
8-9-3. The word "ya" means "8," "ku" means "9," and "za" means "3."
The name comes from "Oicho-Kabu," a Japanese gambling game like blackjack.
Instead of 21, 19 is the strongest in Oicho-Kabu. Suppose that two
cards are dealt to a gambler, "8" and "9", which make 17, a rather
strong hand. But he decides to draw a more card. And comes "3", leaving
a sum of 20. Now all is over. His hand is useless. This is the origin
of the name "yakuza," useless hands in the society.
- How yaks organize themselves?
First, there are two types of yakuza, family yakuza and lone yakuza.
The former is yakuza who belong to some families, like mafia.
A family is structured as a real family in old traditional Japan.
A family has a Father. It has also many children of the Father. There
can be some brothers of the Father. The Father is the head of the
family. All other members serve to the Father. In return, he protects
every members in his family. Every members never fear to die for family
If someone wants to become a member of a family, he must become a
child of the Father. To do so, the newcomer and the Father drink a
small amount of sake (Japanese alcohlic beverage) from a same cup.
This ceremony is called "Sakazuki."
Sometimes, a strong child has his own children, consisting his own
new family. For example,
| | |
child child child / Small Father
A very powerful family can have a long chain of sub-families, child-
families, grandchild-families, and so on. A typical family has 20-200
members, so the whole family group may count thousands of members.
A lone yakuza has no family to belong. He has no companions to help
him. Because yakuza is a organized business, going alone is not an
easy way to live. No families permit a lone yakuza to operate in their
territories. A competent yakuza can survive several years. Only a
few genuine yakuza manages to build his own new family from zero.
- What is "katagi"?
"Katagi" is the opposite comcept of "yakuza." Usually all non-yakuza
people are considered to be katagi. It is prohibited for yakuza to
slay katagi people.
- How yaks recognize each other?
Anyone can easily tell low-ranked yakuza from the katagi. They are
so conspicuous. High-ranked yakuza are difficult to tell. Their behavior
and fashion are moderate. But their rank is so high that their faces
are known to all yakuza.
To recognize yakuza's families, there are "daimon," family emblems.
Each family has its own daimon, and family members have small badges
of their family daimon. High-ranked members are permitted to have
golden badge. Daimon is the primary identifier of yakuza families.
- What yaks do?
Protection racket is the most important money source of yakuza. Other
sources are varies from family to family. It depends on the origin
of the family.
There are four major origins of yakuza. Yakuza operation is basically
based on the origin of their family.
"Bakuto" means "gambler." Throughout the Japanese history, gambling
has been illegan, thus in yakuza's territory. Owners of gambling houses,
bankers and bodyguards formed Bakuto yakuza. The primal activities of
Bakuto yakuza are gambling houses (of course), bucket shops, loan shark,
collecting debt etc.
"Tekiya" means small merchants who opened street stalls at festivals.
When a festival was held in a city, many Tekiya merchants gathered
there. Tekiya yakuza was the boss of such Tekiya merchants. Each merchant
paid small fee to open his stall. In return, Tekiya yakuza protected
them during the festival. As Japanese society was industrialized,
Tekiya yakuza expanded their protection racket. Now they have their
strong territories in cities and demand protection fee to all shopkeepers
in their territories.
"Uyoku" means political right. They are nationalists, traditionalists,
monarchists (emperor), and anti-communists. They believes the Pacific
War was the holy war to protect Asian nations from Western imperialism.
They also hate megacorps. Big media corporations are the primal target
of Uyoku yakuza attack. Their money sources are in mystery, but it
is rumored that they have strong connections with politicians.
"Gurentai" means "city thugs." They are grouped violent thugs. Bakuto/Tekiya
families often have their long traditions. Gurentai don't. They have
no policy, so do anything for money. Corporations use Gurentai yakuza
for various purposes. They are so useful.
Prostitution, drug dealing, blackmailing and badger game are also
yakuza's common activities.
- What yaks do not?
Theft and robbery are considered "shameful." They intimidate and
Murdering katagi people was strictly prohibited by code of honor.
The code, however, is often ignored today. Murder for insurance money
is not rare recently.
- What yaks hate?
To be insulted. Disgracing himself.
A yakuza cares his reputation very much, because his income relies
on how he is feared by others. When he is made light of, he ends.
- I'm now threaten by yakuza. What can I do to escape?
Hire another yakuza. Competent one is desirable. He will negotiate
and solve your problem in peace.
Of course it is not free. The more competent yakuza you hire, the
higher commission rate he demands. But whole expenses will be lower
- Tell me yakuza titles and slangs
- guns, especially pistols
- katana, sword
- search/arrest warrant
- money paid to a imprisoned yakuza from his family
- executive members in a family permitted to have golden badge of
- collecting debt
- the head of a family, Father
- bucket shop
- uncle (father's brother)
- the term of imprisonment
- war between yakuza families
- small brother
- the chief of Kumicho's brothers in a family ranked higher than
Waka-gashira, but with less power
- territory, protection racket
- badger game
- the chief of children in a family usually No.2 in the family