Yakuza: Japan's greatest earthquake
Yakuza's members like to call themselves a “chivalrous organisation”, whereas Japanese police and media use the terms “violence group”. Despite the terminology, the Japanese underworld has all characteristics to be considered as dangerous and as financially powerful as any other organised crime group, divided into a large number of syndicates. This peculiar phenomenon has ancient origins and dates back to the era of the samurai. Yet, little is left of the famous Japanese knights' values.
Today, the yakuza has large control over the trafficking of drugs, the gambling business, the sex trade, they provide “protection” through extortion, they create front companies, they infiltrate the construction business and, only until few years ago, its members had business cards and their offices would show their own boards along the streets. Moreover, similar to Italian organised crime syndicates, yakuza can count on social consensus. An extremely powerful tool, now even greater after the earthquake that shocked the world on 11 March 2011 and put Japan on its knees. Yakuza was the first one to send first aid assistance to the populations most hit by the quake, outrunning the authorities.
The present dossier seeks to offer an overview of Yakuza's history, values, recent illegal businesses and the countermeasures in place by Japanese police to counter-fight a phenomenon that, willing or not, is a piece of Japan's cultural puzzle.
The dossier was first published in Italian by the monthly magazine Narcomafie. You can go through each part of the dossier below or download the pdf on the top-left corner.
Authors Editorial staff Design
Massimiliano Aceti Lorenzo Bodrero InAdv
Jake Adelstein Manuela Mareso Nicoletta Ocella
Scilla Alecci Matteo Zola
Photo credits Translation Thanks to
bosbouwbeleggingen.nl Orsetta Spinola Narcomafie
TWB Photo Lorenzo Bodrero