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My very brief fight with a yakuza

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This is the story I don’t want to tell, about my fight with a Japanese gangster, because it’s so horrible. But I’ve held onto it too long already, so I’ll just lay it out.

The night started out pretty much like every other, drinking with some random Japanese girl in Ikebukuro. As it was Wednesday and we had to get up the next day for stupid work, we just said goodnight, bowed at each other, and went our separate ways.

It was a hot night, and when I walked down the steps into the station, even hotter air rushed up to meet me. Ikebukuro Station is a sweltering, foul-smelling place. Then, near the ticket machines, is where it happened. I heard a loud thud, like a soccer ball being punted. I heard it again, then again. To my left, a crowd of Japanese people were ringed in a large circle, and in the middle, a skinny man in a purple shirt was lying face up, unconscious on the white tile floor. Over him stood a huge guy with a shaved head in a cream-colored jacket. The huge guy drew back his foot like he was going to kick a field goal — he had on these leather shoes — and booted the unconscious man as hard as he could in the ribs. Then again in the neck. He kept doing it over and over. The sound was horrible. Around him, nobody said a word.

I really couldn’t process what I was seeing. Like, a couple of minutes ago I was having a bunch of nice drinks with this chick, and now it’s like, What the hell’s going on? Why is nobody doing anything? Where are the cops? Ikebukuro has a ton of police. People were just cringing, looking away, but not moving, screaming, or even speaking. Now, I try not to impose American values on Japan. It’s another culture, like I get that. But if there’s one rule about fighting, it’s that you don’t kick a man when he’s down. No matter where in the world you are, that would seem to make sense. You certainly don’t keep pounding on someone after he’s unconscious. And in the States, if someone’s being attacked, you’re supposed to help. At least you’d call 911 on your iPhone. Or take a video with your iPad. Or chuck your MacBook Air at him like a Frisbee. Jesus, you’d do something anyway.

Like I said, so the skinny guy on the tile floor isn’t moving and this massive dude is just kicking the shit out of him. And I know immediately the big guy isn’t just an ordinary person. He’s a yakuza. I know these guys because they have a meeting every Tuesday morning in my town, in front of 7-11. It sounds strange, I know, but maybe they just like the rice balls there or something. They’re really good, actually. All these black cars line up with little old gangster guys sitting in the back, while muscly men in black suits mill around outside looking like K-1 fighters, with shaved heads and pounded up faces. This dude was one of them.

Everything happened really fast. I don’t think I’d even been there five seconds. I was still trying to make sense of the whole scene. Plus I’d had a few cocktails. Then the yakuza dude did something I still can’t deal with. He reached down and grabbed the unconscious man by the hair and lifted him up with one hand, until he was like a marionette dangling in the air. I just remember that purple shirt. Then with the speed of a baseball pitcher, he drove forward and whipped the man’s skull onto the tile floor as hard as he could. It was like an explosion. Jesus. There was blood everywhere. It wasn’t anything like a fight; it was like something from a war movie. I was like, Holy crap, this is an actual murder. The man in the purple shirt lay there lifeless with his eyes rolled back in his head, not even breathing, while all his dark blood poured out onto the white tile.

If you think about it, you probably don’t see a lot of blood very much. Like maybe emergency room workers or soldiers do, but ordinary folks just don’t see massive amounts of blood in everyday life. It’s surprisingly dark red. Yet somehow, the yakuza still wasn’t finished. He leaned over and once more picked the man up by the hair, like a lifeless doll. Nobody moved. The entire Ikebukuro station went deathly silent. And then he hurled his head onto the tile again, as hard as he could. The sound was awful, just bone on rock. More blood came gushing out. I couldn’t believe it. Then he reached down for him again. I stepped forward and shoved the yakuza in the chest.

Now, I’m not a particularly brave dude. Like if your baby’s on fire, count on me to be the first guy to take off running down the street for the fire department. Those guys are professionals; let them deal with it. They’ve got big trucks and water hoses and oxygen masks and stuff. Police have guns and clubs and handcuffs. Only right then, in Ikebukuro, there weren’t any police. There wasn’t even a lousy JR station attendant. Just hundreds of people watching and nobody was going to do jack shit. I stepped next to the unconscious man in the purple shirt, put my palm in the middle of the yakuza’s chest, and shoved him back hard, without a word, mostly because I couldn’t come up with anything to say. And until that point, I guess I didn’t really realize just how big he was.

His eyes were wild with anger and I knew he was going to take my head off. The moment he looked at me, realized I’d gotten into something I couldn’t talk my way out of. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, What Japanese phrase would be appropriate at this juncture? Like I can make a dentist’s appointment or book a room at a hotel, but somehow this particular situation had never come up in my studies. I hate when that happens. He moved forward until we were standing about six inches apart, and I understood one thing: backing down was no longer an option. I pulled my hand back from his chest. I saw a look flash in his eyes that said, I’m gonna kill you. And then he did something I totally didn’t expect. He lowered his gaze, nodded slightly, and raised his hand vertically; the Japanese version of “sorry to trouble you.” Like he’d just stepped on my foot in the train. Then he walked past me, up the steps, and out of the station. Just like that.

Suddenly everybody was on the phone with someone, but for 10 long minutes, nobody came. No police, no ambulance, nothing. I stood next to the lifeless man and counted the time on my watch. I knew there was a police box near the top of the stairs, but jeez, did I have to do everything myself? The crowd mostly hung around watching, in a loose circle around this dude and all his blood, except for two ladies and a man who knelt beside him and patted him like a dead puppy. Finally an ambulance crew arrived. When they strapped him to the stretcher, to my surprise, he let out a faint groan and I noticed he was breathing. The human body is remarkably resilient. As he was being carted off, the police finally arrived.

People started drifting away. One policeman asked a few casual questions of a couple people from the crowd, and jotted some notes in a notebook. I walked up.

“I saw the whole thing,” I said.

The cop looked at me. “That’s okay,” he said, and turned away.

“I can identify the man who did this,” I insisted.

“We’ll take care of it.

“He’s wearing a cream colored jacket, and he went that way. I know where you can find him on Tuesday morning.

“That’s okay,” said the cop firmly. “We’ll handle this.” He turned his back and strode away.

And just like that, it was over. I looked around. There were a couple of girls hugging each other and crying. A large puddle of dark blood was still on the white tile. I stood there stunned for a few minutes. Then I left. I didn’t know where else to go, so I went to the convenience store and bought a grapefruit chu-hai. Then I rode the crowded train home. I guess I still think of Japan as a safe place. I just won’t be walking in front of that 7-11 any more.

© Japan Today

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113 Comments
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I'm glad this worked out the way it did. Think you did the right thing. But don't push your luck, okay?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Good for you, Ken, for doing the right thing. Getting between a copper and his, er, impartiality is a thankless task, but at least you tried. Of course, things could have gone very badly wrong (for you), both with the yak and the police... Do be careful in the future, dear - at least have an escape route and good running shoes.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Nice piece, Ken. Had something similar happen to me several years back on the train, but without any yaks. The heartless passivity of the Japanese can only be called mind-boggling.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Are the police afraid of the Yakuza too ?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Getting involved as a foreigner usually leads to a long time in the koban answering the same question again and again....

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Although I commend your bravery, you are very lucky...Yakuza are not people to deal with lightly, and things could have turned out much, much worse for you.

If it was me, I would have called just called the cops. Risking my own life, as well as that of my family (if the yakuza decided to find out where I lived), is just not worth it to save a purple-shirt wearing chinpira.

How the police handled this was terrible, but I suspect they also just choose to stay out of Yakuza on Yakuza fights, and probably for good reason.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No pictures to share with us Ken?..

-13 ( +10 / -23 )

Crazy story. Getting involved in Yakuza stuff is a terrible idea from the perspective of your own safety, but you definitely did the right thing as a human being. I've been in a similar situation where I stepped in myself - even though you are putting yourself in completely unnecessary danger, you feel a sense of responsibility to do something when everyone else is standing back.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A compelling and educational account. The police and the Yakuza seem the plus and the minus of a warrior class that basically has contempt for the public.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Excellent story, yes this is what yakuza do, they are not your friend or the "nicest people you'll ever meet" as some posters write.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

You did the right thing but you are very lucky. Next time call or run for the cops. Those guys can be nasty. I still don't see why the cops would be afraid of them.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

and next time go home with the girl!!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Ken i don't know you from a bar of soap but I'm proud of you son. Proud of you for having the courage to take action (as you found out japanese people have no courage and will take no action at all as they mill around like they are at a circus). By the sounds of it this guy on the floor was one more thumping away from death and you saved him. Three cheers for you Ken. I really do wish there were more people like you who would take action in such a situation. And to answer another persons post...yes the Japanese cops are afraid of Yakuza. You can bet your bottom dollar the cowards in the Koban would have known this was going on and took their time to react.........I once saw a fight directly outside a koban (yakuza) and the police inside watched.......pathetic indeed.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Great story. You did the right thing. Although I wonder what the guy in the purple shirt did to be on the end of such a beating.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

UENO JR STATION

Saturday Night

i tried to stop a homeless man from groping a 20 year old girl.

i got 2 cops from the booth but they just gestered, " It's not our problem. " & off they went to sit down in a booth again.

Cops here in Japan have a different attitude than western " action junkie " cops in America.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

kurisupisuAug. 31, 2012 - 08:56AM JST

Getting involved as a foreigner usually leads to a long time in the koban answering the same question again and again....

Very true. I has something similar happen to me, when I stopped a chimpira slapping a JR employee. He went to hit, but was too slow and I felled him.

Not only did the police have the reluctant word of the JR employee ( he was scared of the guy but came up trumps), they could have had the video evidence of the station cameras if they bothered, but the guy was cursing and shouting at the police all over the koban. I'll add the little chickens--t dared not look in my direction, after the knock down,

However I still had to spend three hours in the koban and missed, the last train home and had to convince them that I wasn't some martial arts ex-special forces expert; I was an 85kg 47 year old unfit office worker!!!!

Not only are the institutions of Japan racist. I would have been guilty by virtue of my foreigness, if not for the JR employee vouching for me, but it's a society run by oyaji cowards for fellow oyaji cowards. If Japanese people took a more proactive stance in Japan, a lot of the public rudeness and selfishness, usually instigated by oyajis, would cease in a day.

I would seriously advice any non-japanese to think twice before doing what the author did in this article, with any Japanese. If the police get involved, you're likely to spend up to 21 days in detention and to be out of pocket to the tune of at least Y200,000.

It's their society, let them get on with it and swim in their bullying and moral cowardice.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

This story illustrates what's wrong with Japan, and what's right with Ken Seeroi.

I could elaborate but it would sound way too critical of Japan, and over the top praise of Seeroi. But, I'll at least say that I what you did was heroic, and a credit to you and whoever raised you.

Okay, I will eleborate. If people were going to just watch and do nothing why hang around watching. Of all the things they could have been doing instead of just watching. Running to get the train staff, running to the kouban, calling the kouban, getting between the poor guy on the ground and the thug, all of them at least saying "please stop".

Most of the people in the crowd were probably not calling the cops afterwards, but their friends and telling them about the "sugoi" thing they saw. Actually, my old grandma would have probably at least got in between them and said stop.

It's not that Japanese are indifferent, but most of them are scared to do anything out of the ordinary, and have followed so many rules, manuals, and waited for senpais etc to explain things, that they have no ability to just spontaneously act.

So probably none of the people even thought "what should I do?".

Which is why a women was dragged into a toilet and raped on a train a while back. You could have a hundred Japanese on the train and nobody would do anything. Because nobody has ever told them what to do in that situation.

And Seeroi - what a hero! What a man! I feel like buying you and your dad a drink. Gutsiest thing I've read in ages. Very possible you save that man's life. And I'm proud that it was a gaijin that helped.

5 ( +11 / -5 )

Actually yasukuni, if Ken's account is true, it should be viral all over the Internet. That's what people do these days. Record them on their cell phones.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Ken. Lets play safe. Japan Yakuza, China Triad, European Mafia and others big and small time gangters organization have police's and politician's connection. You just phone the police in a safer area, whether the law enforcer response or not immediately. That's what it is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually, you did him a favour, he probably knew he went too far but if noone says anything he just could have kept going on a reflex.

Nice one cause it does take some guts, btw they do seem tough but quite often it is just a look.

Your lucky position is being a foreigner and they typically leave em alone because there is no roots leverage they can threaten or use to their advantage.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

After all the praise Ken is getting, this story better be true.

4 ( +8 / -3 )

I am happy to hear that you stepped in Ken. I find myself doing this more often than not since the Japanese won't. But then I start yelling insults to the Japanese. One more thing you should have done since the Police are corrupt with the Yakuza here. The police officer who kept telling you that they would take over from here, you should have got his badge number. Later gone to the Police station and asked to speak with a ranking officer. I would have threatened them that if they didn't do something right then and there against that officer, I would make flyers and put it all over the net and the neighborhood about them. I have done this in the past. You will see results when you start to embarrass the police station. People here are saying that you shouldn't take the Yakuza lightly. But this is the problem with this country. Their power comes from intimidation. Do the same back to them, that is what I do.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

"But if there’s one rule about fighting, it’s that you don’t kick a man when he’s down. "

Just wondering how old you are. In the old days, men didn't hit older men, women, and even men that didn't want to fight. You didn't fight two or three or six on one, and you didn't kick when someone was down. In fact, before the Bruce Lee movies I never saw men kick each other. And you stopped when someone gave up.

I'm sounding more like my father everyday.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Commenters who wonder why the police didn't do anything clearly have no idea how the Police-Yakuza relationship works in Japan. A walk down the street from my apartment in Osaka and there's a police box right across the street from one of the largest Yakuza HQ in Osaka. There are many incentives for the police not to act in such situations, mainly in the form of kickbacks. As for why the man in question departed after being confronted by the author, without completely disregarding the author's bravery (or drunken stupidity, whichever), it is most likely the man left because getting involved with foreigners (especially non-asian ones) tends to be shunned by the higher-ups. Doing so can draw the attention of the international community and authorities with real intent to prosecute, unlike many Japanese police who'd rather turn the other cheek and take their share of the profits from the prostitution and illegal gambling going on everywhere around them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Lucky man (both the purple shirt guy, and you)

I wonder whether the result of this (you not joining the guy on the ground), was because you DIDN'T say anything. I am guessing that saying anything to that yak would have just infuriated him; whereas your silent standing in ended up being more of a pacifying gesture

Either way, good work and glad you werent targeted afterwards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I question the author's description of his work as 'funny' but I will add my anecdote about stopping a fight here in safety Japan.

Two guys kicking a guy on the ground. I ride up on my bicycle and yell at them. In English. They look at me, at the guy on the ground, then turn and walk off. I'm hardly an intimidating size and I'm pretty sure they didn't understand English. My only guess is, they were finished or they didn't want the attention? Of course, the guy on the ground could have been a child molester ...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Actually yasukuni, if Ken's account is true, it should be viral all over the Internet. "

I'm assuming it's true. And assuming that people were too scared to start filming. Probably nobody wanted to be the next kicking bag.

I've only stepped in between guys fighting a few times here. And each time I didn't have to insult, or yell, or threaten. In fact, I did the "Come on guys, please stop - let's just leave it".

Many times, guys just don't want to be seen as the one who is weak and backed down. But because some crazy gentle guy stepped in, they can keep their pride intact.

Now if only someone could do that with Japan and Korea/China.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

So maybe the poor guy in the purple shirt had sex with that dude's girl? Or committed a betrayal? And maybe this is retribution?

Why take a stand on the other side of the Yakuza? Pretty foolish. Would you do the same thing in your own country, intruding into MS13 or whoever runs around your town?

When I was living there long ago I got to hang out with a few Yakuza who were surfers. I actually felt pretty safe with them, going down to the beach and at diners and bars. But you don't cross them. Period.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Maybe he apologized and walked off because he recognized you from the 7-11...

5 ( +5 / -1 )

"The police and the Yakuza seem the plus and the minus of a warrior class that basically has contempt for the public."

I was near Kobe in Jan. 1995. The Yakuza contributed a lot. They reportedly did the same with Tohoku 2011.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I have witnessed yakuza intimidating ordinary citizens but I've never seen the kind of violence described in this article in such a public place. From his behavior, it sounds to me like the perpetrator was hopped up on speed and not aware he had an audience. On another note, I was eyewitness to a traffic accident and spoke to the cop who arrived on the scene, telling him I was willing to give a statement (in Japanese of course). He nodded in acknowledgement but I know a dismissal when I see one, so I gave my business card to the driver of one of the cars. Never heard back from him either. I guess Japanese would rather go to jail or pay a big fine than have to deal with a foreigner, even a sympathetic one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Good for you Ken. I've broken up a few fights here in Japan. Just this year I took the same approach as borscht. One "yankee" was all over this youngish salaryman. The train station staff were already there, trying to get between and break up the fight to no avail. I got up close and yelled at them in English. Everyone looked bewildered and stopped fighting. Just one thing about your story strikes me as odd, though. I have seen a few fights at Ikebukuro (used to go through there everday for work - doesn't smell that bad, by the way) but every time the station staff were there in no time and so were the police. Must have been their day off?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Witnessed a fight in Ikebukuro when vacationing there during summer. Young punks taking turns karate-ing this old man because he yelled at them for throwing fireworks out the window onto the street below. It was a little after midnight at the corner of a four way intersection. We just stood watching. By the time police arrived the beaten man was already let go and the thugs returned to their building. Seeing an old man getting beat was sickening, but I still think I did the right thing - for me. The writer did the right thing here - for the victim. Undoubtedly an honorable deed though I humbly advise the writer to never consider vacationing to Cebu city, Philippines where he may see a tourist's wrist machete-ed off just for a Rolex watch. I wholeheartedly believe in karma so I am dreading the day where I will beat in public as no one calls for help. The writer however, I know has earned a good amount in his favor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But if there’s one rule about fighting, it’s that you don’t kick a man when he’s down.

Gotta disagree Ken. If you stop kicking him just because he falls down then you shouldn't have been fighting at all. You only fight when someone poses a serious danger to yourself or others, and in those circumstances you beat the person unconscious to make sure that they do not get up and stab you in the back while you're calling the police.

... I learnt this the hard way a long time ago against someone who studied Jujitsu. For those guys falling down is the BEGINNING of the fight, not the end, and if you give them half a second you'll find yourself in serious trouble.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

phone the police, but don't use your mobile unless you want your time wasted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why don't the Japanese people ever do anything? Ugh... "Look but pretend not to look", is the Japanese way.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Why don't the Japanese people ever do anything?

Oh please. So if you saw 2 mafia goons back home having a go at each other, you'd be a Good Samaritan and step in? This wasn't two drunk salarymen having a punch-up, nor, I doubt, was it a random attack. If you want to take on the yakuza, then all the best to you, but for most people, the safest and smartest thing to do is not get personally involved.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

nigelboy

Actually yasukuni, if Ken's account is true, it should be viral all over the Internet. That's what people do these days. Record them on their cell phones.

They were probably pissing their pants and they're too scared of the yakuzas to even post on the Internet anonymously. Actually I would doubt that most people would even post such a horrendous act.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

AND if somebody DID post this on the Internet, then people would be posting how "kowai" the yakuzas are and how they hope that they would never ever be involved with them, instead of calling people to do something about it in a situation like that, like this article has.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

papasmurfinjapan

Oh please. So if you saw 2 mafia goons back home having a go at each other, you'd be a Good Samaritan and step in?

Oh please indeed. They didn't even call the cops. At least they could have done that.

If you want to take on the yakuza, then all the best to you, but for most people, the safest and smartest thing to do is not get personally involved.

Not even call the cops?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And they didn't even call the ambulance, or anything, after that, so the man could have bled to death. Horrible. I guess you shouldn't be "involved", even after the yakuzas left? Yeah, nice thinking...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

That's some Clint Eastwood badness right there. Hurrah!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Okay, I will eleborate. If people were going to just watch and do nothing why hang around watching.

That happens in plenty of countries around the world. People don't know how to react and freeze on the spot.

Pretending this is somehow limited to Japan is completely unfair.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

I was near Kobe in Jan. 1995. The Yakuza contributed a lot

They knew they'd make up for it with the rigged bids during the reconstruction.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

In Akihabara on 2008 I got shouted at by a tw@t in a white suit for accidentally bumping into him on purpose to stop him smacking the girl he was with. I couldn't have done what Ken did though... I mean if this guy had hit me I'd have been jelly.

Good on you Ken... you're a braver man than many. I am starting to understand why people don't seem to have much faith in the police in Japan.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There is usually no cop around when you need one. Actually, the "chimpira" must have had enough fun doing the guy in and when you intervened and seeing a foreigner sort of brought him back down to earth. A similar situation happened once when a small Japanese guy had said the wrong thing to a group of them in a snack I was in. He was taken outside and beaten until a small Japanese bar mama came running out an broke it up in an instant. I was surprise because I wasn't about to get my head kicked in by the group to save the guy. It takes courage to step in but it's better to dial 110.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh please indeed. They didn't even call the cops. At least they could have done that.

And they didn't even call the ambulance, or anything

My apologies, I didn't know you were also a witness to the crime and have somehow managed to get phone records for all the people who witnessed the brutal act. Anyone with enough common sense would call the cops, but they wouldn't be stupid enough to do it while watching the crime. They'd go somewhere out of sight of the yakuza and call from there. The author is also pretty damn rude to presume just because no Japanese person was stupid enough to get into a fight with a Yakuza, that they were doing nothing. It is thinly-veiled racism.

The fact is you have no idea what they were doing, and honestly, neither does the author. I've had to call the cops here once. Do you know how long it took them to arrive to the scene of the crime? 30 minutes - and the koban was only 5 minutes down the road. Don't confuse the ineptitude of the police with inaction of the population.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I have seen a similar scene, inside a train station. The Japanese gansgter would walk around the hall only to return and kick the fallen old man again, and again. My Japanese GF didn't let me intervene. She said the police would come and arrest me because I was a foreigner, and the police would never sell a Japanese, even a gangstaer, to a foreigner! So I aksed her to call the police; she did but the police would not come! They told her over the phone it must be a lie, and asked who she was and where she lived ... She was so upset and after hanging up started crying because the police had scared her so much. So the obly thing I did was to stare right at the eyes of the gangster like I would crush you to powder if this girl was not here with me; he noticed but just looked away and kept going round the hall and kicking the fallen guy. It was such a terrible situation that I could no longer stay. This all happened while at least a 100 Japanese bystanders were there and pretended nothing was happening. That was the day I felt these are the most gutless people on earth. My friends have seen similar stuff. It is so disheartening I don't want to remember how I saw the Japanese people that day....

1 ( +7 / -6 )

That was the day I felt these are the most gutless people on earth

And running away from what you consider the root of the problem is considered bravery?? This shit happens all around the world, every day, in every nation - even the nation you live in now, wherever that may be. You have just been fortunate enough not to witness it yet. But keep running, I hope you find your paradise soon.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I have experienced police deliberately avoiding yakuza in Machida a few years ago. A couple of drunk chinpira were kicking an swinging at the public. Somebody went to get the local koban cops. I could seem them walking down the street, notice the yakuza and immediately turn down a side street. Hilarious.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Shumatsu_SamuraiAUG. 31, 2012 - 04:28PM JST Okay, I will eleborate. If people were going to just watch and do nothing why hang around watching. That happens in plenty of countries around the world. People don't know how to react and freeze on the spot. Pretending this is somehow limited to Japan is completely unfair.

I have lived in various countries and seen a few fights at pubs and on streets, and have never seen people just stand around frozen like they do here in Japan, somebody ALWAYS steps in, or at least people will yell at them to stop and call the cops.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Readers, please stay on topic. Incidents in other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

I thought I was reading a chapter out of some fiction story and left wondering when the other shoe is going to drop in the next segment.

Seriously, if it's true, the author is lucky.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The author did not mention anyone attempting to call the cops. Because the author had no idea who people were calling, just like I have no idea who everyone around me is callling on their mobile phones.

Ok, so why didn't even an ambulance arrive? Did you even read the article???

Japanese people typically do not do anything if the person seems even a slightly bit intimidating. That is a stereotype. If I say Americans take out their guns if someone seems slightly intimidating, would that be an accurate assessment of the population in general?

Why are you excusing EVERY little things that happen in Japan? I don't, as anyone who reads my posts here would realise. What pisses me off though, is gaijin armchair critics who criticize Japanese people for not getting directly involved in a yakuza related crime when I bet every single one of them wouldn't dare get involved if it was a mafia related crime in their own country. If you are stupid enough to cross the yakuza, then good luck to you. My friend's brother is a yakuza chinpira, and even she is scared of him.

Sure we have a problem here where the authorities do nothing. So should we form vigilante groups and take the yakuza on ourselves? What do you suggest is the solution? Next time you see a yakuza on yakuza fight, jump on in and be the peacemaker? Is that what you suggest? Sorry, I have a business and family to protect - I'm not putting some chinpira over my own family.

Do you not think that this is an area that they can try to improve upon? Or are you supposing that they're just perfect? Not perfect, and plenty of things to improve on, though not getting involved in a yakuza fight seems common sense to me.

Not really, not as bad as this. I don't know what bubble you are living in, but you really need to get out more. Stuff 10 times worse than this happens every day.

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sorry the quotes got messed up

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Is this story real or creative? Just wondering.

But what happened really near my house is a J. gangster murdered a homeless guy for simply bumping into him and annoying him. He beat him to death...or at least close to it then stuffed him into the trunk of his car then dumped his body somewhere so these gangsters can be crazy so watch out. They got some screws loose, no one can argue about that.

Oh, almost forgot, the police did investigate and arrest the gangster. It was in the regular newspaper.

So in this story it sounds like this guy was within an inch of dying. If he had died would the police have arrested the gangster?

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so you never saw someone getting his teeth kicked in before. I think your batman act ended with a lucky streak. Golden rule of street survival : mind your own business. I don't think that goes for yakuza only lol

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"Pretending this is somehow limited to Japan is completely unfair."

@shumatsu-samurai. You're probably right. But I think it's more likely to happen here, and when it does most people see it as normal, whereas in the west we berate our society for being one in which nobody did anything.

What is really disturbing about the story is that a guy can almost murder a guy like that in front of so many people and apparently not be worried about intervention from the public or police. Japanese have to ask themselves if they want to continue with that. At least there is some kind of movement against yakuza here now. My only question is that if they are all disbanded will it just been thousands of sole-trader yakuza types?

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papasmurfinjapan

Sure we have a problem here where the authorities do nothing. So should we form vigilante groups and take the yakuza on ourselves?

I didn't mention anything about vigilante groups. There is a thing called accountability. If the police are not doing their job then there is a problem.

Next time you see a yakuza on yakuza fight, jump on in and be the peacemaker? Is that what you suggest? Sorry, I have a business and family to protect - I'm not putting some chinpira over my own family.

Really, so you would not even call the cops? Or even an ambulance?

The police exist for a reason and it's their duty to protect the citizens. And it's also your duty as a citizen to alert the police whenever there is a problem. Do you really want to live in a society where nobody does anything, where the bad guys roam around free, freely murdering people in front of hundreds of people without any consequences?

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I read the first several comments, not all, many pppl talking about their fight-witnessing experiences, but this is IMPORTANT to know:

*The j cops aren't just racist, THERE IS A LAW THAT SAYS FOREIGNERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HIT JAPANESE. So everyone, please be really sure this is a fight you wan to get into, because you can get in REAL TROUBLE even if you think you are right, for whatever reason, they can throw the book at you, you can lose your jobs and society will look at you as a criminal once that happens. (That goes for back home, as well, really, but here with that law, double)

*J culture has real contacts and full responsibility at/ near its heart. What that means is that if they don't know the person getting hurt they are likely to NOT get involved, one the reasons being (easy for them to understand, hard for westerners) that if they were to get involved, they would have to take responsibility and see it all the way to the end, if it's not someone they know, they can't do that. Like it or not, that thinking is very prevalent. THerefore you MAY NOT GET ANY BACK-UP FROM OTHER WITNESSES, OR EVEN THE VICTIM if you do get involved. THey will say they didn't see it, they thought you were the aggressor on account of the foreignness you exude, or they don't know. The victim may say of the aggressor "that's my boyfriend, that's my friend, arrest him (you the intervener) for hitting my friend". This is true for back home, goes double for here.

*Another reason jpns will not get involved, and this is actually a smart one, they don't know who did what to whom, why they are fighting. In Ken's story above, would you risk your personal body if you knew the guy getting kicked had tortured and killed the big guy's baby daughter? Even if you don't think revenge is good, you probably don't want to die for someone else's revenge. Best to be careful and call the cops.

A good book about this and other things is

"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Beeker, he is a body guard (really a big consulting agency) for women and celebrities who have stalkers, etc. He does crime seminars for police, violence seminars for the gov etc.

Ken maybe did a brave thing, maybe he did the right thing, reading his story, I respect him. But be careful before you copy it.

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One incident I know about,

2 Brazilians in Japan walking in their neighborhood heard a woman getting beaten in her apartment. She was screaming. They rushed up to the door, which was open, and went in and stopped the guy. They then called the police. The police came. The guy hitting was her boyfriend. The woman took his side and said that he ws doing nothing wrong. The cops ended up arresting the 2 Brazilians.

Now, they didn't have to arrest the Brazilians. But everything else about the story is relatively common to spousal abuse situations everywhere. And actually common to any pair in a fight who already knew each other beforehand. A guy getting beaten by a shakedown artist Yak, maybe like this story, will be fearful of further retribution by the yaks/ just want to get on their good side, and may side w/ him against you the intervener if cops come.

Better not to get directly involved and call the cops. Or do something creative like creat a distraction, make a big noise, or start shouting fire! everybody run! etc, to stop the fight. Ken was very lucky.

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Lowly

THERE IS A LAW THAT SAYS FOREIGNERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HIT JAPANESE.

Really, not even as self-defense?

What that means is that if they don't know the person getting hurt they are likely to NOT get involved, one the reasons being (easy for them to understand, hard for westerners) that if they were to get involved, they would have to take responsibility and see it all the way to the end, if it's not someone they know, they can't do that. Like it or not, that thinking is very prevalent.

Well you see, there lies a problem because 1) They live in a society, 2) They have social contracts that they must abide by and 3) That means helping each other however they can. If they can't do that then the society is endangered and is made less secure.

*Another reason jpns will not get involved, and this is actually a smart one, they don't know who did what to whom, why they are fighting. In Ken's story above, would you risk your personal body if you knew the guy getting kicked had tortured and killed the big guy's baby daughter?

That's not smart.

2 Brazilians in Japan walking in their neighborhood heard a woman getting beaten in her apartment. She was screaming. They rushed up to the door, which was open, and went in and stopped the guy. They then called the police. The police came. The guy hitting was her boyfriend. The woman took his side and said that he ws doing nothing wrong. The cops ended up arresting the 2 Brazilians.

That's incredibly stupid and another reason why the Japanese police need a COMPLETE OVERHAUL.

And Japanese people really need to STOP EXCUSING INJUSTICE. But that won't happen as long as the Japanese people 1) Don't recognize human rights, 2) Are meekly obedient to authority, and 3) Don't really care enough about others to get involved.

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Thomas Anderson,

Not in self defense. Of course they may choose not to apply the law if you just got stomped. Any law is subject to the interpretation of the officer. Call a lawyer/ legal counseling center and check about the law if you want to know.

Sorry, I can't agree with you about the social contract, or the must. The social contract was written by a French guy, and the jpns don't care about it. They do live in a society, but based on totally different principles than you are thinking about. I tried to explain the personal connection/ see it thru to the end responsibility thinking, but really no space to be clear, sorry. There's nothing they "must" do b/c you say so. They will do as they please. They will never change at least not for many decades, so I suggest you get used to it for your own daily living pleasure. (And safety in cases of violence you encounter.)

The end- 1, they don't believe there are human rights in existence. Every moment is a fluid occurring thing and has its own circumstances. They shy away from universal principles, and also from action based on thinking as opposed to emotions/feeling. 2, this is, like it or not, seen as a virtue here, and as above, will just not change any time soon. 3, Maybe that's how you see it. I like the kind of caring for complete strangers in America/ West, on the other hand, I do understand the personal connection/ full responsibility paradigm I mentioned and like it too. It is hard being in another country. It is harder still understanding and sympathizing with both sides of two totally different ways of looking at a problem. But no ones about to change, so thats all I can do.

In the case of this article, I really think he was lucky on so many points. I hope anyone reading it and our posts really thinks before they get involved in something.

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Unclear- "Not in self defense" above means "No, not even in self defense".

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maybe the police already knew who the individuals in fight were?

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Really, so you would not even call the cops? Or even an ambulance?

ughh, I usually refrain from making personal attacks on this site, but you really need to take a remedial reading comprehension class - this is not the first time you have tried to put words into my mouth, or accused me of saying something I haven't and quite frankly, it is starting to piss me off.

For the record, sure I'd call the cops, and/or ambulance. But in this case, where the perpetrator and by the sound of it victim were both yakuza, I wouldn't "personally" get involved (as in, act like tough gaijin dude who goes to break up fight against "weak spineless Japanese"). My wife and child are more important than some chinpira, and I would not risk my or their lives for him - nor I doubt, would you, though you won't admit it here. (It's easy to play tough guy sitting behind a keyboard on an anonymous forum). Making an anonymous call to the cops is a no-brainer, however.

What really pisses me off though is your presumption that the bystanders did nothing. Where is your proof? Where, may I add, is the author's proof? Hero Ken has to do everything himself, he laments, but then police came, an ambulance came. Hero Ken didn't call them... so the Japanese aren't a total loss, are they? Just because they showed up late, doesn't mean everyone waited until the fight was over to act. Like I said before, it took 30mins for the cops in the koban 5mins away to respond to an emergency I called in.

Let me tell you a story. 15 years ago I was out drinking with some mates and behind us a fight broke out between two guys in their 20s. A crowd of 50 or so gathered around, and watched the fight for 5 or so minutes. Then the knife came out, and one of them was stabbed in the neck. Blood started spurting out of his neck, he stumbled a few metres, then crumpled up on the sidewalk in a pool of blood. He died before an ambulance could reach him.

Did any of the bystanders do anything to break up the fight? No. Did they call the cops? An ambulance? Not that I am aware of. Typical spineless Japanese, you may be thinking, right? Except the crime happened in Sydney Australia.

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Keystones as usual, useless & they are in bed with the yaks anyway, just like the politicians, its a sad state of affairs to be sure!

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The really big secret of Japan security is "don't mess with the mafia", is a really creepy story I read, but still japanese at this finest, a Yakuza is not meant to kill innocent people and while someone is not trying openly to fight them, everyone is alive, surely this Yakuza lost his finger, killing someone in a train station? Surely he was doing a big mistake and killing the author is not a solution for him. The other people around knows that is better not to take part. I figure out why the narco war in Mexico, probably if the goverment had not mess with the narcos the country could be more peaceful right now.

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papasmurfinjapanAUG. 31, 2012 - 02:38PM JST

Oh please. So if you saw 2 mafia goons back home having a go at each other, you'd be a Good Samaritan and step in? This wasn't two drunk salarymen having a punch-up, nor, I doubt, was it a random attack. If you want to take on the yakuza, then all the best to you, but for most people, the safest and smartest thing to do is not get personally involved.

"Mafia goons back home" and Yakuza are like comparing oranges and apples, in my opinion. In addition; I have put some of these punks in their place out of natural reflexes because they just plain went too far! You can call them Yaks, chinperas, or whatever you want, but from my 25 years + experience of living in Japan, they lack one big element that boys where I'm from grew up with....HEART! I don't know how many times I have broke a mother*%@#&% down for doing some dumb shit like the "yakuza" (if he really even was Yakuza) in the author's story did. I don't know your upbringing PS, and I realize that family comes first, but I myself have not in the past and will not ever let someone beat another to death or near death as the author witnessed. My hats off to him. So be it a yak, or whoever; they gonna no better to &%#$ around like that when I'm around. Frankly, I'm quite disappointed at all the "mind your own business" sentiment in regard to this incident! Weakness at its best!

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Lots of ppl lose their lives or get seriously injured getting into fights by accident (trying to stop fights). And as in my post, even if the fight goes fine, when the cops come you may not be seen as a good samaritan and may even be fingered by the victim as an aggressor. If the victim has a relationship w/ the perpetrator, they may very well be loyal to them to the point of asking the cops to arrest you. This goes double for a foreigner in Japan. And after the fight, and the cops, are the civil suits where you can lose your shirt just hiring a lawyer to protect you, never mind losing the suit.

So go break up all the fights you want. But don't agitate others who may have no experience and have grown up soft but have an overwrought sense of justice and "right" to go and do the same.

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Spell Correction,

the book I mentioned above is by

Gavin De Becker

Really worth reading.

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I was shocked by the story! Its really well written and In my head I literally almost saw a movie out of this lol! Great Job and I hope that the victim is doing well :)

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A gangster beating/killing another gangster : big deal. A drunk salaryman beaten by some chimpira : big deal again. I call this real life Darwinism. Nothing more. Ignoring that kind of stuff in the wisest thing to do, really.

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It's funny, many Japanese like to wax lyrical about the 'nail that sticks out gets hammered down'. The reality is that the nail that sticks out is the lord of the people in this country. You can see it time and again in the classroom, the workplace, in politics and on the street.

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“He’s wearing a cream colored jacket, and he went that way. I know where you can find him on Tuesday morning.

“That’s okay,” said the cop firmly. “We’ll handle this.” He turned his back and strode away.

Worthless fxxxxx jn cop clown cops...

You're lucky you didn't get hurt, never drink alcohol and attempt any kind of confrontation, especially with someone obviously out of your league. As nice as the JN cops may seem, they are NOT your friend, and if this guy decided to go to town on you, The JN cops would have conveniently ignore your cries for help, you are on your own. It's not pretty, but when those are the facts. The minute you intervened (NOT being a SOFA status) you opened yourself up for responsibility for beating that guy, JN cops won't go after their Yakuza buddies, but they will blame it on the Gaijin standing over a lifeless body, and you could end up doing serious jail time, over something you didn't do...

Yakuza's strength is in numbers, they will turn tail and run, if they are confronted alone, i.e.. out of their element, envirnment, you just have to follow TsunTzu's advice, know your enemy, and know their weaknesses.

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papasmurfinjapan:

But keep running, I hope you find your paradise soon.

Well, on the contrary, I realized this is a place I can safely live and never worry that any one of these gutless people will ever be a threat to me! They are safe to hang around even at the darkest night on any street, as long as they cannot scare you! I am not a Japanese and I can easily laugh at any of their Manga like gestures; which unfortunately works on the gutless majority! ; - )

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In West Philly they just pop a cap in you. That is probably a lot less painful than the beating described above.

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No pictures to share with us Ken?..

Here we go - the old green Flog is doubting the story because "there is no evidence". Sorry, old flog - it obviously must not be on Wikipedia - your favourite "source" - just yet!

I have heard a couple of very similar stories in my time here. About time the locals and cops started getting serious about Yakuza. They are, after all, just cowardly bullies who can only act tough when they have 10-on1 or have weapons.

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But you didn't tell us if you woke up sweat or not i the end......it was a nightmare or it's the next Miike movie storyboard??

I don't know if all this detailed story it's true or not, but you were talking about how things could be gone if you were in U.S.A.?? People would immediatly call 911?? Since every time I switch on my TV there's a Breaking News about a gunfire in public places like Supermarkets, Cinema, Elementary Schoolds and so on with many dead I don't think USA could teach something to Japan on how to be a safety place....not at all!

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Stuff like this do happens and i've seen quite a few, not at Japan though. Basically it was the same as the author described, people standing around, watching, offer no help, police only came after the incident is over, blah blah. HOWEVER, i could easily spotted at least a few camera's video function are on, news like that got on newspaper frequently, and arrest are made soon afterward due to PUBLIC PRESSURE. (at East and South East Asia)

If this incident is true, with hundreds of people watching, at a busy station like Ikkebukuro, it would have spread all over the net.

1 note though, once i saw a young man rushed into Shinjuku station's toilet with his face covered in blood. So , no matter how safe Japan is compared to others, take cautions.

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papasmurfinjapan

this is not the first time you have tried to put words into my mouth, or accused me of saying something I haven't and quite frankly, it is starting to piss me off.

It was just a yes/no question papasmurf, why would it piss you off so much?

But in this case, where the perpetrator and by the sound of it victim were both yakuza, I wouldn't "personally" get involved (as in, act like tough gaijin dude who goes to break up fight against "weak spineless Japanese"). My wife and child are more important than some chinpira, and I would not risk my or their lives for him

But how do you know that this guy is some yakuza? What if he was just someone who was innocent? And what if he also had a family of his own? Is his family somehow worth less than your family? Btw these are mostly hypothetical moral questions.

nor I doubt, would you, though you won't admit it here. (It's easy to play tough guy sitting behind a keyboard on an anonymous forum). Making an anonymous call to the cops is a no-brainer, however.

Sorry, but I don't see it as playing the tough guy. It's about doing the most basic civic duty - calling the cops when there's trouble. Surely, no one would disagree with that?

What really pisses me off though is your presumption that the bystanders did nothing. Where is your proof? Where, may I add, is the author's proof?

Sadly, this is such a common occurrence in Japan that it is not surprising at all. Like I said, I have witnessed similar incidents before. This is the culture that thinks people should not stand up to their "superiors". Oddly enough, it seems as if the Japanese place the yakuzas above them, and not below them.

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majimekun

A gangster beating/killing another gangster : big deal. A drunk salaryman beaten by some chimpira : big deal again. I call this real life Darwinism. Nothing more. Ignoring that kind of stuff in the wisest thing to do, really.

Remind me to never help you whenever you get into trouble.

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It's funny, many Japanese like to wax lyrical about the 'nail that sticks out gets hammered down'. The reality is that the nail that sticks out is the lord of the people in this country. You can see it time and again in the classroom, the workplace, in politics and on the street.

Too true. This is the country that ignores even school kids bullying at school. The bullies are their "superiors". The yakuzas are their "superiors". Everything is backwards in Japan.

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Yes Burakumindes,

There are 204 security cameras set up within the station (this was raised as an issue by activists who claimed it was a violation of privacy), you got literally hundreds of passerbys with their cell phones with recording capabilities, and you have literally tons and tons of fights uploaded all the time with contents that are PG rated compared to the incident that the author described. So I'm seriously doubting the validity of his story.

Don't know why mods would delete a post that questions the validity of the story. It's an opinion on an piece under "Opinion" section for god sakes.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Seen things quite similar to that. Welcome to Japan.

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You know members of Yakuza's do strange things, that even I will never understand. Respectfully I wouldn't want to go looking for trouble with anyone in a gang. But I've had my similar moment too. Following a few friends off the base being new to the whole Japanese Culture, going to a club filled with Yakuza's, I found myself not really to thrilled with being a nice bar. And turning around to a group of suited men rolling up on my bud dancing with some yak'z girl. And stepping into the mix to separate the two. And all my dumb American butt could say was, "we leaving" thinking in the back of my mind, oh SH*$ he ain't even going to understand low and behold English... well the best one could expect from one that doesn't pursue english. Saying I like you, your not weak. Don't come back.// made no sense to me, but wasn't going to question it, but never will forget the once in a lifetime go free moment. Love japan still, and miss it so much. Even if things are a little different then everyday U.S. life.

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Now I really have my doubts about this story. And the reason is the real news story Man dies after being beaten in Roppongi club which is today's REAL news and reported what the police really did do.

So I'm wondering. Is Ken Seeroi a fictional writer? And if so did JT take this story to help with click ratings? Just wondering.

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I was near Kobe in Jan. 1995. The Yakuza contributed a lot. They reportedly did the same with Tohoku 2011.

Tattoo Vampire: Classic organized crime tactic - play the good guy from time to time to buy support from the man in the street and become part of the community establishment, all in order to hide the fact that they are nothing more than violent parasites.

I am sure that "after work" over a beer they seem like nice people, but that does not change the fact that their income is derived from extortion, exploitation and misery.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

nishikat, completely agree. So if a "huge" yakuza guy (Ken knows he's yakuza because he sees him in front of the local 7-11 all the time) "whipped the man’s skull onto the tile floor as hard as he could" two times and blood is spurting everywhere, the guy survives. But a bat to the head will kill you. How is a tile floor softer than a bat?

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JT deleted my post because I was casting doubt on the validity of the story by comparing what really happened with the story Man dies after being beaten in Roppongi club . This is so fiction. I mean if the JT moderator came and said otherwise OK, I'd give them a few points of possible validity. But they say nothing and erase my post....

FICTION!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There shouldn't even be a stream, never mind a river, of them flowing through any society. Gangsters are leeches. Violent vile creatures. In Shimoda one evening an obvious gangster elder had turned up, probably to see how his money machines were enjoying the sunshine, he sat in the 'VIP' section of this beer / food shack, his bruisers stood around him, he took an interest in me as I was the only non-Japanese there, I was polite but distant, then some poor kid outside leaned on the wrong car, that's right, leaned on a car. He got the be-jeezus kicked out of him. Saw him the next night, broken arm, smashed up face. Said it was his fault. I guess the river is here to stay.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It could be the bystander effect. Kitty Genovese is a famous case in the States.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

pretty gutsy move, japanese dont ususally mess with the yakuza :/

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It was just a yes/no question papasmurf, why would it piss you off so much?

No it wasn't. It was an insinuation.

But how do you know that this guy is some yakuza? What if he was just someone who was innocent?

I thought the purple shirt was a giveaway... I'm no yakuza expert, nor trying to defend them in any way, but from what I can tell they don't usually go around trying to kill "innocent" bystanders. This guy did something to piss him off - what that was we don't know.

Is his family somehow worth less than your family?

This is an interesting hypothetical question. In my eyes, yes, his family is worth less than mine. I have a duty to support and protect my family. I have no such duty or moral obligation to protect his - If I wanted that responsibility I would have become a police officer - but from a theological perspective, I'm sure my family is no more special than his in the eyes of our Creator. I do not consider myself special in any way. Would you sacrifice your family to save a stranger? I think few people would...

It's about doing the most basic civic duty - calling the cops when there's trouble. Surely, no one would disagree with that?

Of course I don't disagree with that. I just disagree with your supposition that no-one called the police or did anything. You don't know that. The author doesn't know that. No-one knows that, so why jump to conclusions that because the police arrived later than desired "no-one did anything?" In his story Ken even says "things happened so fast"... he writes a lot, but the beating probably lasted less than a few minutes.

This is the culture that thinks people should not stand up to their "superiors".

I agree, and it is a problem. I just don't think it's fair to apply this logic in this case - because as I posted before, I doubt many people would stand up to the mafia back home either. If it's a bunch of high school kids beating a homeless man to death, then I'd definitely expect the salarymen to jump in and pin them down. But Japanese people have good reason to be scared of yakuza. It's not because they are superior, but people know once you get on the wrong side of yakuza, life is hell because the police will do nothing to protect you.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

To those of you who say "Don't get involved", you make me sick. I'd rather get killed myself than stand around and watch someone wind up dead or brain damaged because I was too scared to say or do anything.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

When I first read the story I was thinking just what many people were thinking - corrupt police, why didn't people get involved, etc. Of course that only lasted a few seconds...

Then I though about how powerful it is to be a Western foreigner in this country. 1st in just about every other country I've been to on the planet, if a foreigner jumped into this situation and pushed off a member of a gang/organized crime - they would have been likewise beaten or worse as a matter of course. In what country would a gang member bow at a foreigner after being pushed off? 2nd, for those of you who disparage the police and the way they treat foreigners, try making a report in NY, Sidney, London, just go ahead and see what type of respect you get from the police after being somewhat involved in an altercation which resulted in bloodshed between what I'm assuming is some type of gangland thing - you'd be very lucky if they didn't just blow you off and if you think the people would be hanging around for hours talking to cops to back up your story, you're living in a dream world.

Ken, in just about any city I know of if you did what you did, you'd still be in the hospital getting physical therapy for the long term wounds and possibly going for dialysis regularly. Once again, count yourself blessed you live in a country in which you can escape such harm and enjoy the fact you were allowed to feel like a superhero (who only exist in movies for good reason).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Several people asked whether this story was true or not, so let me address that.

Although all of my stories are based in actual experience, most are clearly embellished. Where facts are stretched, hopefully the scale of the exaggeration makes it obvious. So if I say that I drank a hundred beers, ate fifty eggs, or that kanji was invented a million years ago, hopefully nobody takes that to be the literal truth.

This story is different from the others here and on my website. It is entirely factual, and was not exaggerated in the least. I certainly wish it was.

Thanks for your kind words and support.

Ken

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Hey Ken! I gotta say, you are one crazy guy. However, it takes guts to do what you did. If more people, not only in Japan, but the rest of the world, took a stand when they needed to, could you imagine how much of a better place we would be living in today? There's a guy in Japan that had a purple shirt somewhere that wants to thank you for what you did that day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not exactly a fight just you doing the right thing when nobody else would step up. My guess is that the Yakuza dude respected your actions standing up to him and called it a night.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

David43515SEP. 03, 2012 - 02:43PM JST To those of you who say "Don't get involved", you make me sick. I'd rather get killed myself than stand around and watch someone wind up dead or brain damaged because I was too scared to say or do anything.

And if that "somone" was a murderer, rapist, child molester, pedophile....., would you feel the same ?

I'm not saying this guy was, but when you don't know what's really going down, it's best to stay in your own zone IMO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My guess is that the Yakuza dude respected your actions standing up to him and called it a night

More like the Yakuza dude realized beating up another yakuza is one thing, but beating up a foreigner will bring unwanted attention to him and whatever crime syndicate he belongs to. He would probably be punished for that by his superiors. It has nothing to do with "respect".

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Heroes are just ordinary men that do the right thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Love the title,"my brief fight with a Yakuza" but it is a bit misleading.

My guess is you have never lived in a big city nor have you ever had the pleasure of being around very bad folks.

Where I grew up if gangsters were battling each other you sat back grabbed the popcorn and enjoyed the fight, but when they drew weapons you ducked.

Being naive is not an excuse that the coroner tells one's relatives.

It's nice that you helped the guy, but at the sametime you're lucky they were not placing you into a bodybag.

Plus volunteering information about this big guy was also not the brightest of ideas, they knew who you were.

You were a very lucky person that night, you should have played the lotto.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was raised in a high crime neighborhood with good old fashioned crips and bloods who would jump if not shoot you for wearing the wrong color or even looking at them funny. Not being a gang banger myself I was taught that if you're going to go down take one with you if you're being ganged up in a group. Gun, knife, chain etc, make sure at least one of your opponents has to be in the hospital for a long time if you must wind up there yourself. I would have done what the article writer did except my only concern would have been about dealing with Japanese laws. Easiest way to screw up a gangster is to get a mob of ordinary citizens PO'ed at him. Sadly it sounds like the J-cops aren't good enough to deal with them and the society doesn't have at least a bit of vindication to help someone who is about to be murdered. At least in the US the organized crime here doesn't want to get noticed because they know they'll get taken down. In Japan, its appears to be the opposite.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@honest

We kind of grew up the same. I didn't live too far Crip area. I was taught not to take any guff from someone, always avoid confrontation, but if it follows you, then deal with it the best, sensible and safe, responsible way. I used to live in Hiroshima about 10 years ago and I had a neighbor below me who was a lower level Yak and he always complained when I would play guitar (not that loud) during the day! The guy would knock on my door and harass me and my roommate for a couple of weeks. One day, he came up without his shirt sporting his full body tats and thought we would get intimidated, banged on our door and again told us to turn down our music (our music was never overbearing) he walked right up to my face and I warned him, if he got closer, that's it, never took my eye off him and never blinked, NOT once. Has nothing to do with being brave or trying to show off, it had everything to do with allowing someone to push you around or stand your ground. Anyway, the guy calmed down as he saw, we weren't flinching and weren't scared even when he verbally tried to intimidate us, then he stormed off. 3 days later, the guy came back and brought us some Sake and invited us to his apartment for a beer. From that moment on, the guy was always nice, respectful and no problems after that. I am not saying to follow in my footsteps and it's the right move for everyone, You have to be careful and do what is right for you, but for me personally growing up in the streets of L.A. where we have a rainbow of gangs. I can physically handle myself very well. I just don't scare that easy and would never let anyone push me around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ken - good to see you make some comments. It was a well written account, I hope you can recover. I would have gone straight to the koban myself, but i know I wouldnt find anyone there willing to help. Better to just walk away. Hope you read about the roppongi story, sometimes its not worth it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh Gosh! Come-on! Well Done ken! Hail Yakuza! Sorry for the purple cloth guy! Can't you imagine guys? well I am a Maldivian married with Japanese for last 5 years and living at Nagoya and Nishio almost! I know few new guys in to this yakuza thing and I wish if I could be there at that time, also I wish to know few powerful guys in to this yakuza thing as I am a guy beaked all the laws using the laws and am not new in to this gang thing! Yakuza is cool I guess! Well my point of view as every body is different and every one has different minds and thoughts! A Mode Of Conduct! A Slandered Of Courage! Discipline! Fortitude And Integrity Can Do A Great Deal To Make Some One Successful! -HAIL YAKUZA-

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Gee whiz, that someone is the victim of targeted violence. Who would've thought it possible in a first-world, highly-industrialized country? It's amazing how, on the internet, all the "heroes" come out and spell out what they would do. Yeah right. Call the cops, call the paramedics; give me a break. 95% of the foreigners in Japan wouldn't even know the equivalent to 9/11, or where to locate a koban box. It's like watching commentary on flag football.

No, what you do is let someone else do it, like a local citizen because they live there and you don't! Or maybe because they realize the targets did something to irritate the local mafia that got their attention, thus the beatdown?

I'm not saying it's right, but after so many years as a military MP, having spent enough time busting drunk Marines and soldiers who took a swing at Filipino hookers or local amphetamine dealers...you have to state the obvious - "YOU'RE NOT FROM HERE, DON'T POKE WHERE IT DON'T FIT!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, this was really interesting, im saving this, and if i can ever get around to it, imma blow this into an out of the water novel of some sort, but don't worry, if i ever do i'll make sure to include the article or a summary or just something so people know the book is an over exaggeration and that this is more like inspiration of sorts.

Anyway, what you did was exceptionally brave, very noble, and completely foolish, in a good way, you showed exactly the kind of characteristics a real hero should show, and that man that kind of bowed to you, sounds like he was showing you respect for that, and didn't want this turned into a more complicated matter than it might have already been.

Anyhow, yeah like others have said, your EXTREMELY lucky it went down this way, that guy could have killed you, good job man, much respect. Don't see many people like that in this day and age.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Im a yamaguchi-gumi lieutenant but I know guys in the kudo-kai

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police are not afraid of Yakuza, but somehow it's a very complicated issue there in Japan, they are essentially allowed to exist in a certain capacity. I'm still learning about why, but I think it has to do with their traditional honor code and ancient clan roots. Some Yakuza families are worse than others.

In the USA the government and/or corporations would often hire or blackmail the mob to do dirty work for them that they didn't want to be connected to. The Mob was allowed to exist and run rackets in exchange for these "favors" where they would intimidate unions, assassinate political enemies, or harass business competitors.

I believe that yakuza crime is probably reported to a special agency and normal cops don't do much about it, or are even told to allow it to occur because the high ups in the government probably have similar deals going on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan, police will see it as YOUR fault if you get involved. Even if that dude was do the same thing to you.

That is why people don't do anything. In Japan, DO NOT TAKE MATTERS IN YOUR OWN HANDS. Just call the police. I have learn this living here. It is best just to walk away and not take on any problems. The cops don't have your back. People around you don't have your back. Don't play hero.

For example, one time, one of those Bozou (spelling ? bozo might as well be) biker guys with super loud bikes was next to me at the gas station. They keep me up all night sometimes with their noisy bikes. It really pisses me off because I have a stressful job and need to be up early. Anyways ... I gave the guy a piece of my mind and let him know what I thought about him and his stupid bike. He was really taken back. I guess no one ever calls him out on his behavior. His friend, who had a van drove it right up to me and honked the horn. It did not hit me, but reckless endangerment for sure. So got the plate number, and called the police from home. The biker, whatever, we had a few words, nothing serious. The guy, who really was not in the "conversation" using his vehicle as a weapon to intimidate was a different story. The cops said that it was my fault for talking to them and there was really nothing they could do as no "crime" was committed. The cops here, really don't want trouble, and really leave it up to the people not to get into trouble. Even if you feel that someone was threatening toward you, it's your fault for being there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don’t believe this story. An ok work of fiction. Good theme for the start of an action movie then maybe a series. Denzel could star in it, or maybe Michael Cera.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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