10 most interesting facts about the yakuza

Yakuza organized crime syndicates are known all over the world due to its unusual structure and working methods.

1. Sokayya

Sokayya - the name of the form of large-scale bribery practiced by the Yakuza. First, they buy shares of any company in sufficient quantity to get the voice on the board of shareholders. Then members of the yakuza learn so much incriminating facts about the company's management as they can. After that usually begin trading in the style of "or you pay us, or at a meeting of shareholders, we something about you tell." In Japanese culture, the fear of shame is a great power, so that this tactic usually works.

Really unusual in this scam is that everything is done with the utmost courtesy. And threats, and payments are made in a roundabout way: for example, the yakuza organize an event like golf tournaments or beauty contest and overpriced sell their blackmail victims tickets.

By 1982, the ninth year sokayya reached such proportions that it was necessary to introduce a number of laws prohibiting corporations pay blackmailers. It brought little benefit, and the yakuza had to come up with a more elaborate scheme to conceal their actions.

In addition, managers often have to put up with the existence of the Yakuza, because they are in disclosing information could face prosecution if they were involved in sokayya in the past. The most effective tactic to combat sokayya is to hold shareholders' meetings on the same day across the country, as even members of the yakuza can not be everywhere at once: for example, 90% of corporations on the Tokyo Stock Exchange holds its annual meeting of shareholders in the same day.

2. crackdown yakuza

Yamaguchi-gumi - the largest syndicate in Japan. In recent years, he became the object of sanctions by the US government to combat organized crime. US citizens are no longer allowed to make deals with the leader of the syndicate Kenichi Shinoda, his deputy Kiyoshi Takayama also hit the black list, and the US government to freeze all US assets. Therefore, in Japan, there were laws aimed at breaking the link between the yakuza and legitimate business.

Previous attempts to limit the influence of the Japanese yakuza included the introduction of penalties for businesses that are willing to cooperate with the bandits. These efforts seem to have paid off - the number of representatives of the yakuza currently dropped to a record low for the past 50 years.

According to the Synods, the disappearance of the Yakuza threatens the emergence of thousands of dangerous criminals unemployed, and if disband the Yamaguchi-gumi, the public order will be instantly broken.

3. The auxiliary aid yakuza

When in 2011, the year in Japan devastated by the tsunami, the yakuza were among the first who rushed to the affected areas to help. This is not unprecedented: in 1995, when there was an earthquake in Kobe, the fifth largest city in Japan, members of the yakuza used scooters, boats and helicopters to deliver supplies to the dilapidated quarters.

Some people believe that the yakuza always help those in need in case of need, because most of their members - the outcasts of society, sympathetic to people at risk of not getting timely help from the authorities. Other people are more cynical and believe that such behavior - no more than an effective PR: Police difficult to obtain public support for the fight against the Yakuza after such charity.

Also, in such cases, the yakuza can receive substantial financial benefits. A few months after the earthquake in 2011, the year belonging to the yakuza organizations to compete for government contracts for construction. The scale of the disaster led to the fact that the authorities could not keep away the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia that more often operates through front companies that are indistinguishable from legitimate. One such contract obtained yakuza, led to the fact that the head of a shell company went to jail - he was seen in the retention of part of the salary to employees with a view to profit, and believed that it would cover the yakuza.

4. Journal yakuza

This year, the Yamaguchi-gumi newsletters distributed to almost all 28 thousand members. The magazine called "Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo" were, among other things, haiku and articles about fishing. Editors on behalf of the syndicate manager talked about a difficult time for the organization. At this time, the yakuza were really difficult, and the magazine has become a way to raise morale.

However, some copies of the magazine were in the hands of civilians. Experts believe that, despite the fact that the magazine is distributed to members of the syndicate Yakuza know that hearing about this leak and outside the organization. Thus, the creation of the cultural magazine was to weaken the link between the Yamaguchi-gumi and violence in the public consciousness.

5. Yubitsume

Members of the yakuza, seen in the wrong from the standpoint of the yakuza action must redeem himself by cutting off part of their fingers - this ritual is known as yubitsume. For the first offense is sufficient to cut off your little finger tip, but further offenses are fraught with more serious injuries. As a result, many members of the organization partially or completely missing the left little finger, and in some cases - and the other fingers.

This has led to strong demand for artificial fingers. Missing fingers are kind of blot, and their absence to hide difficult, but necessary, as most Japanese know this ritual. Professor Alan Roberts (Alan Roberts), an expert on the skin from the UK, exported to Japan quite a lot of realistic prosthesis that among former yakuza earn the nickname "Mr. Finger».

6. Tattoos

One of the iconic images of the Yakuza are their complex color tattoos all over his body. Yakuza use the traditional method of manually entering the ink under the skin, known as irezumi - this tattoo serves as a proof of courage, because this method is very painful. In recent years, increased the popularity of this style, and among non-yakuza. The most popular patterns are usually composed of dragons, mountains and women.

Despite the trend of tattoos spread among non-yakuza, these signs are in Japanese society still show it to the members of the syndicate. Osaka mayor imposed a ban on such tattoos for state employees, asking them to either reduce a tattoo or look for work elsewhere.

7. Yakuza in court

This year, the owner of the restaurant with the start of the trial Kenichi Shinoda - thus extremely dangerous crime syndicate head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which we have already mentioned. She claimed that the Synod is responsible for his own people, who demanded from it protection money and threatened to burn her institution, if it does not pay. So it is in court to claim damages in the amount of 17 million yen, or about $ 2, 8 million.

She - not the first person who has submitted to the yakuza in court. In 2008, a group of residents filed a lawsuit to evict gang Doinkai from their headquarters in the city of Kurume. Grouping split up after a dispute for the leadership that led to a brutal war between the two sides. Residents claimed that deserve to live in peace, so that insisted on leaving the gang from their city.

But yakuza are not always the defendants. Earlier this year, Kudo-kai yakuza syndicate in southern Japan, has been named by law enforcement agencies "dangerous" - they were involved in a series of attacks on the headquarters of another syndicate with grenades. Lawyer Kudo-kai said that such a characterization of the syndicate at least unfair because Kudo-kai - only one of the five competing syndicates in the south, and the status was granted only to them, so that there is violation of the Constitution of Japan.

8. Examinations

In 2009, the Yamaguchi-gumi created a 12-page exam for its members. This step was taken after the government passed tough laws against organized crime. Examinations were positioned as an attempt to protect the members of the syndicate of trouble and make sure that they are well aware of the laws. Questions in the questionnaire concerned a variety of topics - from waste disposal to vehicle theft.

Although the idea of ​​tattooed gangsters sitting in the examination hall after a day of cramming may seem amusing, delivery of these tests gives an idea about the Japanese economy as a whole. Yakuza have long been a barometer of the economy and culture: if the bandits had already believes that it is a hard time, and do everything possible to reduce losses to a minimum, and the rest are in the same position.

9. The ritual of initiation

Converts the yakuza have to be subordinates of more experienced members. They are called kobun, literally - "the role of the child." Over the years, the yakuza has developed a complex management structure, and it is necessary to overcome a lot of steps to reach the top.

The basis for the novice initiation ritual is based on the sake ceremony called sakazukigoto. Initiate sits in front of his Oyabun - member of the group performing the "father figure", and others are preparing a drink. Newbie gets a smaller share of the beverage, while the bowl of his "teacher" is filled to the brim, which reflects its status. Each sips from their bowls, they then exchange them and then ends the ceremony. This ritual is to create links between kobunom and Oyabun similar to the adoptive relationship of father and son.

Ceremony drinking sake is traditionally used in Japanese culture to create a connection. Sake is seen as a link between humans and gods, derived from the divine blessings of a good harvest, and this relationship can strengthen the relationship between people. Such historicity gives initiation ceremony religious significance, so the venue for the ceremony is often a Japanese Shinto shrine.

10. Yakuza in politics

In 2012, the Minister of Justice of Japan Keisha Tanaka was forced to resign because it became aware of his connection with the Yakuza. However, these relationships were not always so undesirable for Japanese politicians.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which manages Japan for 54 years of the last 58 years, often cooperated with the yakuza. The first Prime Minister of the LDP Nobusuke Kishi actively cooperated with the Yamaguchi-gumi: in 1971, he and other politicians made a deposit for the leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi, convicted of murder. He also participated in the weddings and funerals of members of the yakuza.

During the election, members of the yakuza often act as bodyguards and agitators. In addition, the yakuza gangs are able to provide a certain number of votes their favorite candidates. The head of the Yakuza gang in Kyoto asserted that could provide 30,000 votes to elect a particular governor.

At least four other prime minister had links with the yakuza, including who came to power in 1987, Noboru Takeshita. Shortly before the election, he faced persecution by the right-wing opponents, therefore appealed for support to the largest yakuza group in Tokyo - Inagawa-kai. Of course, they fixed the problem, but in the end there was a lot of rumors about how feels comfortable ruling elite of Japan under the auspices of organized crime.


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