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The Upstart Gangs Filling the Yakuza Power Vacuum

As tightened legislation increasingly limited yakuza activity from the 1990s, new criminal groups emerged to fill the gaps. The most notorious of these hangure gangs was Kantō Rengō, whose name resounded through Tokyo streets in the 2000s and early 2010s. One of its former bosses, Shibata Daisuke, presents an inside view.

Outlaw Appeal: The Yakuza in Film and Print

Whether romanticized or realistic, yakuza films have a long history in Japan. Books and manga also help the public explore their enduring fascination with the nation’s gangs.

Hard-Up Yakuza Struggle to Earn a Living

Splits in the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s most powerful criminal organization, hint at tough economic times for the yakuza. Government crackdowns have dramatically reduced gangster income, dragging the group down from its once dominant position.

Fragmented Yamaguchi-gumi a Sign of Changing Yakuza Times

Japan’s biggest criminal organization, the Yamaguchi-gumi, has broken up into three groups. While this would once have heralded a likely gang war, tightened legislation has made it difficult for the yakuza to act, preserving a curious balance of power. In this unusual situation, fundamental rules of the yakuza world are crumbling.

Members of Crime Syndicates in Japan Fall below 20,000 for First Time (News)

Tokyo, March 16 (Jiji Press)—The number of regular members of crime syndicates in Japan as of the end of 2016 fell 10% from a year before to some 18,100, slipping below 20,000 for the first time since 1958, the oldest year for which data are available, National Police Agency data showed Thursday. Total members, including associates, decreased 17% to about 39,100, the first drop below 40,000. …

Yamaguchi-gumi Split Signals Changes in the Yakuza WorldIno Kenji

A large faction of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest yakuza crime syndicate, moved in August to establish a rival syndicate, triggering concerns of a possible bloodbath. Ino Kenji, a journalist who has covered the Yamaguchi-gumi extensively, looks back on the history of the organization and argues that such concerns are unfounded.

Takakura Ken and Sugawara Bunta: Male-Male Bonds on the Silver ScreenYomota Inuhiko

Deaths in Japan often come in pairs. This phenomenon is especially frequent in the case of two people operating in extremely great proximity who highlight each other with their sharply contrasting personalities. When one of them dies, the other follows, almost as if being drawn to the grave by the death of the first. This happened, for example, with the filmmakers Wakamatsu Kōji and Ōshima Nagis…

Cinema Star Takakura Ken Passes Away at 83

The death of Takakura Ken, a Japanese movie legend who rose to fame in 1960s yakuza films and later gained international recognition through appearances in Hollywood productions, was announced on November 18, 2014. His company, Takakura Promotions, reported that the actor had died of malignant lymphoma in a Tokyo hospital on November 10. He was 83. Takakura was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1931.…

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