The Japanese mafia grew out of free samurai – ronin. Tradition plays an important role in the syndicate. Therefore, the one who has decided to become a yakuza must first of all go through the initiation rite.
The whole gang gathers. The initiate “kobun” (junior) sits down opposite his patron “oyabun” (senior). Then comes the time of “sakatzuki goto” – drinking sake together. Each is poured according to his status – the newcomer gets the least, the cup of his future leader is filled to the brim. During the ceremony, the novice breaks ties with his parents and becomes a member of the yakuza family. The pseudo-family relationship of the Japanese mafia is not a simple sound, the members of the clan are like brothers, and the oyabuna is their father and protector.
At dawn of the yakuza, the initiation included the rite of yubitsume – cutting off the phalanx of the fingers. Thus, the newcomer showed sincere devotion to his future family. Subsequently, the yubitsume was removed from the initiation and made a punishment for wrongdoing before the syndicate. Today, a severed finger in Japan is a symbol of shame or former affiliation with criminal groups. On this basis, the demand for artificial phalanges is thriving in Japan.
The ability to drink sake is not enough to become a member of Japanese crime. Nowadays, a big hunt for the yakuza has opened on the part of the state, which means that you need to be well educated in the legal field so as not to get caught and not to drag the whole gang with you. In 2009, the Yamaguchi-gumi organization introduced a mandatory examination for its members. In addition to jurisprudence, it contains a variety of questions on criminal practice. Starting with how to steal vehicles, to the problems of marketing industrial waste.
A yakuza is not a yakuza without a tattoo of its own. This is his passport, without which the path to the criminal world is forbidden. The drawing can completely cover the body, and if you know how to read it correctly, you can find out everything about its owner – belonging to a crime family, position, history of crimes, even character. And here the members of the mafia are not looking for easy ways – the drawing is applied by the most sick method, called “irezumi” – manual injection of ink under the skin. Such a tattoo serves as a symbol of courage and has recently become popular among ordinary people – the samurai spirit is still alive in the Japanese.
If the beginner managed to pass all the tests, then this is followed by the study of criminal practices. One of the most common money-pumping techniques is Sokaya. Mafiosi buys part of the company’s shares, is introduced into the board of directors, and then begins to dig under the main boss. Compromising information can be highly personal. The fear of being dishonored is the Japanese vulnerability. Well, then the bidding begins – “pay, or your secret hobbies will become public knowledge.” If the victim has pecked, then it will remain on the hook.
We must pay tribute to the Japanese mafia – living in traditions, they are constantly in the trend of today. For example, in 2013, the aforementioned Yamaguchi-gumi launched the corporate magazine Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, which is distributed to members of the group. According to France-Presse, the goal of the publication is to unite the family, tell about the hard times of Japanese crime and talk about pressing problems – fishing and board games of go and shogi. In early April, the Yamaguchi set up their own website. The syndicate portal should change the negative attitude towards the yakuza in Japan and rebrand the gang. “We are not an antisocial force,” the Times site reports.
The yakuza are backing up their claims of a “fearless mafia” with action. When Japan was hit by earthquakes and tsunamis in 2011, the syndicate members were the first to rush to help the people, providing all the help they need. And this is not the only example. After the earthquake in Kobe, the fifth largest city in Japan, the yakuza used all their means – ships, scooters, helicopters, to deliver everything needed for the victims on the destroyed streets. Many see this as just PR – it will then be difficult for the police to get public support to fight the mafia.
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