The Yakuza is the collective name of Japanese Organized Crime organizations and members. Here are some characteristics of the Yakuza:
- The word “Yakuza” means “Violence Group’.
Members of Yakuza organizations can be identified by their full body tattoos.
- There are over 80,000 Yakuza in Japan
- The White Book as required by Japanese Law requires that all Yakuza members be identified
The Yakuza evolved from the 1600’s during the Edo periods in Japan. Out of work warriors began to sell their services as protection to merchants and gambling establishments. These warriors groups eventually became organized into various Yakuza organizations.
The Japanese Government and Yakuza organizations have a strange relationship that I haven’t quite figured out yet. As mentioned above, Yakuza are required by law to submit a list of their members to law enforcement. During the post WW II period, Yakuza became an invaluable source for moving commerce (legal and illegal) through Japan. Yakuza also provide a valuable service in helping business entities negotiate deals.
Yakuza activities include black market distribution of counterfeit items as well as drugs, weapons, gambling, protection, prostitution and other illegal enterprises. Yakuza also have close relationships with other Asian gangs in which they coordinate illegal commerce across the region.
Yakuza Members show thier colors
The movie Yojimbo (released 1961) is one of the most famous films of Yakuza. It is set in the 1800’s where a lone Yakuza sells his skills to rival gangs in a small Japanese town. Written and Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Yojimbo brought the subject of Yakuza to the west. The movie The Last Man Standing (1996) starring Bruce Willis is an American remake of Yojimbo. Yakuza movies typically have a Japanese or partial Japanese cast. Most Yakuza films involve sword play.
Combine the mysteries of Japanese culture along with discipline, sword play, and organized crime, and you have peaked my curiosity in regards to movies of the genre.
At Mobflix.com, we are proud to call October the month of Yakuza.