Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld Kindle ó Yakuza:

Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld Kindle ó Yakuza:

  • Paperback
  • 422 pages
  • Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld
  • David E. Kaplan
  • English
  • 02 February 2014
  • 9780520215627

10 thoughts on “Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld

  1. Ronnie Ronnie says:

    When it comes to Japan people are often eager to point to low violent crime rates to make a case for a harmonious conflict less society Even portrayals of the Yakuza often invoke them as chivalrious gangsters merely following some old traditions with the Yakuza themselves trying to point to Edo period romanticism or other PR gags to keep that image aliveNaturally though any organised crime is going to be much seedy and sinister than that and the scale and institutionalization of the Yakuza is mindboggling Rather than chivalrious prominent godfathers such as Yoshio Kodama made their fortunes plundering Manchuria and dealing in opium during japanese occupation times with a long history of anti communist activity drug smuggling human trafficking union busting physical assaults on leftists such as during the Narita airport protests assassinations and debt collection since Especially horrendous was the Yakuza involvement in the Minamita scandal hired by one of the companies implicated to violently suash victims groups Like many parts of organised crime there is a strong connection between mobsters and the far right even open fascismBut what comes as an even greater shock is the complete openness with which they could operate for decades gangs openly listing their front offices with no attempts made to hide the mob connection Eisenhower's motorcade in japan being protected by hired gangs and even japanese prime ministers being both made by and consorting with Yakuza godfathers At its peak counting roughly 100k members the Yakuza seemed to have an omnipresence in society even playing a very large role in the bubble economy both using extortionate suatting and land theft practices delving into speculation and even engaging in the particularily odd practice of threatening to disrupt shareholder meetings with embarassing revelations unless paid off The size of the debt the Yakuza accrued during the burst of the bubble the book alludes to is mindbogglingThere are some other interesting sidenotes in the book though The japanese police not only having long shown an attitude of indifference as well as incompetence and even cooperation with the Yakuza but also displaying direct sympathies to them as the weeding out process of leftists within the police hiring process gives it a very rightist outlook which probably accounts for the xenophobic attitude and famously anti immigrant violence the japanese police often indulges inAdditionaly the japanese justice system ranks amongst the most backwards in the developed world with most cases being solved by having confessions essentialy tortured out of suspects The japanese media too has not often delved into investigate reporting and when it did it usually faced massive backlash as can be seen here But what also feeds into the mob power is the extreme xenophobia displayed in japanese society towards Koreans and 'Burakumin' who face strong discrimination that accounts for the disproportionate amount of them hired by the Yakuza and opens up a market for human trafficking and sex slavery The book is fantastic and very recommended to everyone fascinated by organised crime or even with just an interest in the country since it colors a picture of Japan extremely divergent from the standardI'll close this review by pointing out that the deceased mobster Ryoichi Sasakawa sponsored a statue of himself carrying his sick mother on his back He also founded the Sasakawa Peace Foundation among others What none of those acknowledge though is that he also liked to call himself the world's wealthiest fascist

  2. C.T. Phipps C.T. Phipps says:

    The Yakuza are one of the most fascinating criminal organizations in the world Authors David E Kaplan and Alec Dubro work to sort the fact from the fiction Separating the lies that they're the descendants of exiled samurai from their true origins as gambler groups working with street peddlers that became incredibly powerful post Mejii Restoration The Yakuza have a shocking history that includes the fact they've militarized numerous time and become Far Right paramilitary organizations while simultaneously being bastions for Japan's lowest castes or ethnic minorities about 15% of the Yakuza are Korean or Burakumin Rather offhandedly the authors mention how the Yakuza sent a bunch of ninja trained soldiers to kill the ueen of Korea I had to double check this one to make sure it was correct They were also responsible for countless assassinations of public officials that helped the rise of Imperial JapanThe biggest flaw of Yakuza Japan's Criminal Underworld is the fact the text is surprisingly on the dry side The pair of authors mostly document the systematic web of corruption the Yakuza have managed to weave around Japan's corporations government and public Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and this turns out to be because the police mostly ignore the 100K gangsters among themThe Yakuza keep crime in Japan organized and out of sight in a way that ironically that makes it very public Yakuza openly wear badges of their status though many executives forgo the extensive tattooing that mark their allegiance advertise their organization's buildings with signs and can be found in the phone book The book details many of the shockingly corrupt business practices that leave them with a big chunk of the country's entertainment industry construction and loan firmsUltimately the book suffers a bit for the fact that it would have been interesting to get into nitty gritty of Yakuza interior culture separate from the mostly chronological story of their biggest scandals as well as activities from the beginning of their modern incarnation to the present day As such this book isn't uite as flashy as it could have beenOn the other hand you can tell a book is worthwhile by the fact the Yakuza both simultaneously participated in the creation of it as well as pressured companies not to release its contents due to the naming of names as well as revelation of the fact the Yakuza had so many minority members which is a open secret of all things810

  3. Patrick McCoy Patrick McCoy says:

    I have to say that I found David E Kaplan and Alec Dubro's book on the yakuza Yakuza Japan's Criminal Underworld is a fascinating alternative modern history of Japan The book is framed in relation to what was seen as a growing yakuza threat in America which I suspect has faded as the bubble has burst and Japan has stagnated It's fascinating to see how they evolved from professional gamblers who were trying to recoup salaries from landowners through gambling in the early days to running insider trading and money launderingI find it disturbing that during the Occupation and for many years after yakuza right wing groups were supported by the US government to fight communist groups in Japan during the cold war era Then again the US got in bed with many despicable characters during this period in the name of fighting communismThen there was the Lockheed scandal in which the company used right wing mob connections to secure contracts from the Japanese governmentFurther businesses used the yakuza as strike breakers and later to intimidate and break up shareholder meetings to avoid owning up to misdeeds like in the case of the Miamata poisoning Chisso used thugs to prevent the victims from getting compensation and an official apology just disgusting behavior from the corporationsJapan is famous for it's safe crime free society But as this book proves there must be a pervasive acceptance of crime and corruption for groups like the yakuza to become so entrenched in the society up to the highest levels of commerce and sometimes government I guess the yakuza sometimes were seen as a policing force but there dabbling in the meth trade child pornography extortion sexual slavery and other shameless criminal activities make them societies scourge and parasites It's easy to see why some directors like Kurosawa and Itami wanted to satirize them for their evil ways I found this to be a fascinating book that is probably overly academic and extremely well researched and perhaps slightly out of date Jake Adelstein seems to be on his way to bringing the world up to date on the yakuza activities that are dropped off from in the late 90s and early 00s in this book with books like his latest Tokyo Vice

  4. Stefanie Stefanie says:

    As an intensive study on yakuza and their connections to politics andor international trade it's brilliant It's loaded with thorough information and good investigative reporting However as a book I could barely keep up with it I often drifted away during the several chapters regarding Japanese rightist politics because I'm not familiar with it in the least However I was deeply intrigued with the first 100 pages that detailed the historic beginnings of the Japanese yakuza and how they were romanticized and may still be in Japanese society Additionally it was informative to read about yakuza's recent changes as they go abroad towards international markets However it would have been wise of me to keep a detailed list of all these names since the reporting is immensely detailed Additionally the author kept referring to Southeast Asia and the Pacific as the Third World I'm not particularly fond of that term especially when he went into detail about Thailand but that's a personal issue I suppose In the end this is seemingly an academic read for those interested in Japanese politics Unfortunately I learned so much about yakuza from this book that I can't even remember most of it

  5. Huda Huda says:

    I readied a highlighter in the beginning before realizing I was going to have to highlight 90% of the book This was an incredible piece of investigative work and it's nothing short of a textbook on yakuza I was doing some lens changing on the yakuza Yakuza Japan's Criminal Underworld gives me an overall general view Tokyo Vice gives me the media's perspective Confessions of a Yakuza gives me a yakuza's perspective I'm still missing the perspective of the police though if anyone has suggestions

  6. Dan R. Celhay Dan R. Celhay says:

    The book lays down the basics on the subject of Yakuza The first chapters are the most interesting because it explains how these groups always took part in Japanese society The importance of Giri and Ninjo the social behaviour or mentality that binds Japanese culture together Strong sense of duty and saving faceThe author also delves into the apparent lack of crime in comparison to other countries The importance of saving face or mantaining a reputation and apologies; resolving disputes outside the police creates fertile ground for sophisticated crimes like blackmail or bribery Yakuza groups are very versatile and deeply intergrated in plenty Japanese companies businesses loan companies and othersDealing wih the Yakuza is like feeding a tiger if you try to stop the tiger will eat you

  7. Shernoff Shernoff says:

    damn good book a great primer on postwar japan with the yakuza focus providing great narrative momentum for what really is a broader survey of contemporary japanese culture economics politics and and it is telling of the book's accuracyworth that initially the yakuza successfully had it blacklisted by japanese publishers and that the ucal press eventually picked it up from a commercial house for the 2nd edition

  8. Chris Doherty Chris Doherty says:

    This book is amazing The corruption in Japan is unfathomable My view of Japan has changed after having read this book Not finished yet but the extent of the influence of the Yakuza is chillingly horrific How can one of the world's leading economic powerhouses allow itself to be intimidated by criminals?

  9. Sarah Crawford Sarah Crawford says:

    The Yakuza are involved in a number of areas such as prostitution pornography drugs gambling loan sharking trucking smuggling extortion and the construction and entertainment industries They are also not just in Japan but have become involved in Hawaii and California The Yakuza is also inter twined with the right wing movement in JapanThe book goes into the very early origins of the Yakuza movement going all the way back to samurai who became bandits There were also groups in towns that would band together to fight against these samurai and ended up establishing gangs of their own and Yakuza methodologiesThe author says the true ancestors of the Yakuza were the bakuto or traditional gamblers and the tekiya or street peddlers Over time the mafia like organizational structure of the Yakuza was established The tekiya attracted various misfits as did the bakuto but they also attracted the burakumin the Japanese outcast class of people The term 'yakuza' may come from the gambling groups In one of the games a score of 8 9 3 is the worst one possible In Japanese that translates into ya ku sa which then became yakuza The author then goes into the various forms of punishments the groups used on members who misbehaved and notes the origin of the cutting off of a part of the pinkie finger as one of these methods Tattooing and its relationship to the Yakuza is also discussedAs Japan modernized so did the yakuza spreading their influence to new fields They also became involved with the growing Japanese militarist movement A great deal of the development came during the period of American occupation of Japan after the close of World War II They became involved in stopping Koreans Chinese and Taiwanese who had been brought to Japan basically as slave labor and who were taking their anger out after the war by attacking Japanese They could restore order when the regular police couldn'tDuring the occupation the Yakuza became involved in the black market enterprises which were numerous Eventually though they moved out of the black market into other areas that were considered luxuries This included drugs and prostitutionThe occupation also caused the Yakuza to begin to appear different like the American mafia groups This included a growth in the size of the gangs and their structure The author cites the Yakuza laws1 Never reveal the secrets of the organization2 Never violate the wife or children of another member3 No personal involvement with narcotics3 Do not withhold money from the gang4 Do not fail in obedience to superiors5Do not appeal to the police or the lawThe author includes a listing of the major Yakuza groups as of 2001 along with their address their leader and their membershipThe relationship between Japanese police and the Yakuza is discussed and how some police sort of support the Yakuza due to their linking with right wing groups In an odd way they actually help police since they represent organized crime and they tend to stop much unorganized crime which is harder to solve basically from happening It's kind of like dealing with the devil you know rather than the devil you don't know from the viewpoint of the policeThe author also raises uestions about the crime rates that are reported for Japan and the successful prosecution rate Yakuza involved in 'sex tours' is also covered These are by the way just the highlights of this very complete very well done examination of the Yakuza

  10. Michael Blackmer Michael Blackmer says:

    Yakuza is basically written as a textbook It surveys the last three hundred years of the Japanese underworld groups known as the Yakuza It is amazing to see how for a good portion of their history the Yakuza have been an accepted part of doing business in Japanese culture At times they have worked alongside of sitting political leaders to help accomplish the goals of government Many of the participants in the 1940's were actually war criminals yet the US government occupation forces made use of many of these men to spy on the Communists and for other tasks At times even knowing these were Yakuza members people of a criminal nature the US military and intelligence agencies still worked with them and even hired them to undertake specific tasksThe Yakuza were used to keep the docks working which helped to entrench them on the waterfront They entered into shipping and transportation investments which enabled them to move many illicit goods They were strikebreakers often hired by the sitting Japanese government Their involvement follows the broad range of crimes including drug trafficking human trafficking smuggling running guns extortion fraud of all kinds May of the properties purchased abroad by Japanese investors and companies have had some form of underworld involvement when they were not outright purchases of the YakuzaI enjoyed this read as a learning experience but like I say it is a textbook written for college classrooms My interest in the subject has been sparked by various television shows that have referenced these groups

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld[Reading] ➲ Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld ➺ David E. Kaplan – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Known for their striking full body tattoos and severed fingertips Japan's gangsters comprise a criminal class eighty thousand strong— than four times the size of the American Mafia Despite their cri Known for their striking full body tattoos and severed fingertips Japan's gangsters comprise a criminal class eighty thousand strong— than four times the size of the American Mafia Despite their criminal nature the yakuza are accepted by fellow Japanese to a degree guaranteed to shock most Westerners Here is the first book to reveal the extraordinary reach of Japan's Mafia originally published in Yakuza was so controversial in Japan that it could not be published there for five years But in Yakuza: Japan's MOBI :å the West it has long served as the standard reference on Japanese organized crime inspiring novels screenplays and criminal investigations David E Kaplan and Alec Dubro spent nearly two decades conducting hundreds of interviews with everyone from street level hoodlums and police to Japan's most powerful godfathers The result is a searing indictment of corruption in the world's second largest economyThis updated expanded and thoroughly revised edition of Yakuza tells the full story of Japan's remarkable crime syndicates from their feudal start as bands of medieval outlaws to their emergence as billion dollar investors in real estate big business art and.

About the Author: David E. Kaplan

David E Kaplan is an investigative reporter and former director of the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Before this post he worked for the American newsweekly US News World Report David E Kaplan commonly writes about terrorism organized crime and intelligence.