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Yakuza hard hit by economic downturn

29 Comments

Around the end of March, a 61-year-old gang member was arrested in Tokyo for swindling housewives. His modus operandi was to peddle apples door-to-door -- offering five for 1,900 yen -- and then shortchanging women who paid him with a 10,000 yen note.

The story, widely reported in the vernacular media, demonstrates just how hard members of underworld syndicates have been hit by the economic recession.

"A yakuza lives by his manhood," a member of a rival syndicate frowns to Spa! (May 5-12). "No outfit that puts up with such things can justify its existence."

But it seems that hoods down on their luck have been reduced to earning their livelihood through such menial tasks such as being paid to stand in line to purchase concert tickets; serving as matchmakers for men who want to tie up with cheap mistresses; pushing homeowners to renovate aging dwellings; and finding tenants for vacant bars and other shops in "neon" areas. Still others moonlight as cabbies.

"Some yakuza have been reduced to such straits that they hold meetings in fast food restaurants instead of coffee shops in hotels," remarks author Manabu Miyazaki, whose late father headed a Kyoto gang. "During the bubble era in the 1980s, it was nothing for the more flamboyant ones to go through several million yen a night at clubs in Ginza or Roppongi. Now, I'm amused by what I've been hearing about how they get into disputes over just a few thousand yen."

On the other hand, some newly hired salarymen, particularly those in such fields as finance and real estate, are so dissatisfied with their company's low remuneration packages they've found it financially advantageous to do moonlighting jobs for gangs.

"The gangs are faced with aging membership and are having trouble recruiting, so they're willing to go along and accept part-timers," another source tells the magazine.

Even if salarymen prove incompetent as part-time gangsters, they are still obliged to cough up the gang membership fees, which they can apportion from their regular income. So that makes them a steadier source of revenues than destitute yakuza.

On the other hand, one might say the salarymen show no real commitment to the traditional yakuza regimen.

"It's hard to nurture them in the ways of the yakuza," the source concedes. "And they're not amenable to communal living that real yakuza go through during their apprenticeships."

Meanwhile, flashy imported cars seem to be another yakuza standby on the way out.

"We've been changing from sedans to passenger vans like the Toyota Hi-Ace," a gang member tells the magazine. "They cost more than sedans but they get better mileage." The vans can be ordered with smoked glass windows, to at least maintain a more sinister or menacing image. They are also less likely to get their driver pulled over for spot-checks by police.

So be on your guard for vans with smoked windows, Spa! advises. Better to humbly yield the right of way than risk a run-in with an intimidating hood.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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You've got to feel for the yakuza in these hard times!

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My crococile tears go out to these "poor" J mafiosi a.k.a. **yakuza! In Japan, as in every country around the world there are good people and there are bad, here parasites are called yakuza. They are just moron loosers who prey on the weak, the old, women, foreigners. If they can't do the dirty work, thousands of Chinese, Russians, Colombians etc..are on stand by.

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“The gangs are faced with aging membership and are having trouble recruiting, so they’re willing to go along and accept part-timers,”

wow you can become an arbeito yakuza - whatever next!

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Where are these cheap mistresses they talk about?

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Wow! these crooked people roam the streets freely and apparently the cops know this yet don`t stop them or investigate their actions.

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the poor things, having to resort to fast food restaurants. what next? buying a couple of rice balls and eating in the parks?

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Big deal with salarymen here. They are just a bunch of cheap suit dead beats who put in their 60+ work week and go to cheap clubs with these cheap mistresses. What's their gripe. To me, it's more of a "bu**head's" life. Leave them to it!

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Cry me a river.

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I'm with Sarge here. See this? It's the world's smallest violin playing the world's saddest song.... or maybe its just a booger between my fingers. Either way, this story and 100 yen will get you a cup of coffee at McD's.

When the Yak's are reduced to driving economy class mama-wagons and make their livings being crossing guards for kids, then I'll reach for my camera, otherwise don't bother me with this rubbish.

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My experience before was with a nutter 60 something year old Yakie, I guess next it will be a couple of salarymen. Hope they don't puke on my shoes...

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"Some yakuza have been reduced to such straits that they hold meetings in fast food restaurants"

So that's who those guys wearing the sunglasses in McDonald's were!

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Yeah, some of these suiters ride the trainand go to a one room studio apartment, surviving on cup o'noodles.

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gangsters have no manhood,pathetic people unable to survive unless they are conning/intimidating someone..

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absolutely hilarious - except the more desparate they become the more they will encroach on 'regular' turf and the more we are likely to inadvertantly interact with them....

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So be on your guard for vans with smoked windows, Spa! advises. Better to humbly yield the right of way than risk a run-in with an intimidating hood.

Hahahahaaaaaa. I'm going to get me one of those mini-vans and terrorize the neighbourhood. No really, how emasculating for the Yaks. Like they had much of a manhood to begin with, with their Bon Jovi hair and cheap suits. No respect! I bet I can tell you who's been stealing all the bicycles now. That's what they'll be rolling around on next. The sound of bicycle bells will no doubt chill the spines of regular Japanese citizens in the months to come.

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A Yakuza that peddles apples? I am so glad the J-cops are going after the most dangerous of criminals here.

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Great article!!! It's interesting to see how this economic downturn has affected even the underworld.

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Need to send them to agricultural indoctrination.

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Couple of quick points.

Good Experiences With the Yakuza: Just up the road from my house there used to be a gang leader and his minions. The house he owned itself was really well built and had seperate quarters for his underlings who used to live on site. Every year the local festival used to pass by this house and the kids (although warned by their parents not to) used to scream out "kumicho" at the tops of their voices. The old chap was actually rather nice and used to offer his carpark up as a rest point for the mikoshi route. Lots of beer and free food. Good local citizen We also have no problems with house-breaking in the neighborhood. All the crime in these parts used to be very well organized. Anyway, the old chap (who had this great old German Shepherd) died a couple of years ago and his group went out of business. The house was sold to a normal family (at a very good price).

Bad Experiences With the Yakuza: Nearly got jumped last year early one Sunday morning while out walking the dog. Four dudes in a car at the local convenience store accused me of "looking at them funny" and tried a little bit of freelancing. Luckily they quickly changed their opinion when introduced to my canine friend. Times must be hard when the mob start picking on foreingers.

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"A Yakuza lives by his manhood!" That has to be the quote of the century. Yakuza are vermin. I am glad they are suffering because of the economic downturn. They deserve it.

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Now hiring Part time gangster. No expirience necessary. Membership dues paid on date of hire. Fringe benefits.

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shake heads... poor thing

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beware of d sarariman missing a finger....

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5 apples for 1900 yen?!?! Even if he gave back the correct change, that still seems like highway robbery!

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This is one of these "only in Japan" stories. My heart goes out for the poor, little neighbourhood gangsters. Should we start a collection?

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haha, since when is it manly to join a gang to appear strong by strength of numbers. Real men stand on thier own two feet and never stoop so low as to rip off grannies or anyone else for that matter.

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They should make a movie and star Ken Watanabe as the Yakuza Apple Bandit.

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what a joke.

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This article is truly funny. Can it really be true though? It just boggles the mind. Part-time yakuza and they meet in fast-food restaurants?

I'm going to keep away from MOSburger now as I saw these 4 guys with sunglasses in the corner eating their burgers and talking in hushed voices now I know they might be yakuza.

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