10 Facts about the Japanese Yakuza – The List
Many Yakuza have tattoos done by an old way of inking called “irezumi.” 300 years ago in the Edo period they used tattoos as a way to identify criminals. (Irezumi is a method were they take a sharp piece of steel and embed the ink directly into the skin. It’s been described as a painful process and a right of passage for Yakuza.)
The Yakuza are bound together by elaborate hierarchies. Once initiated they must pledge loyalty to the boss and family. (Yakuza are defined by their father-son bonds. The “Oyabun” (the boss) takes on a subordinate through a Sakazuki-ceremony.)
Sakazuki is a ritual exchange of sake cups. The Yakuza use this to create father-son bonds that can’t be broke. (Sakazuki is rituals are often recorded and the tapes are distributed to gang members.)
According to the U.S. State Department of Treasury, The Yamaguchi-gumi are worth 80 billion dollars. This makes them one of the wealthiest gangs in the world. (This is also one of the largest Yakuza groups in Japan. Based in Osaka, they have around 80,000 members. In addition, they have operations overseas trafficking drugs and women.)
The Kudo-kai Yakuza gang are known to use machine guns and grenades. In 2000, they managed to kill a top-ranked Yakuza boss. (This violent gang is based in Fukouka, an island south of Japan.)
The “soukaiya” are corporate extortionist that have ties to the Yakuza. These soukaiya often disturb share holders meeting. (In the 1990’s soukai were often recruited by big name companies in order combat other companies soukaiya. After the economic bubble burst, the soukaiya’s numbers have steadily decreased.)
The Yakuza are involved with trafficking women. They often force girls to work as prostitutes at various clubs. (Many girls are tricked into coming to Japan with the promise of working at a bar or other line of easy work. Once in Japan, in some cases, girls will have their passports taken from them. So, their only choice to get their passport back is to work in the sex industry.)
The Kudo-kai gang are reportedly one of the most violent Yakuza gangs. Their leader Satoru Nomura was arrested in 2014. (I used actual footage of the arrest in the video. You can see armed police men, probably numbering around 100 in total making sure nothing happens.)
Christian Gomez a boxer/pornstar also works as an enforcer for a Yakuza gang. He was involved with the police when he forced a man to cut his own finger off.
Tadamasu Goto, a Yamaguchi-gumi boss, received a liver transplant at UCLA medical in America. He jumped to the top of the donor list when he reportedly donated 1 million dollars to the facility. (When he came to America he was supposed to give information to the FBI concerning the yakuza’s foreign activities. However, he only provided little info and is now retired from being a yakuza in Japan.