The Yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicates, have been around for centuries. They have a long history of protecting the weak from the strong and following a rigorous code of honor. However, in recent years, the government of Japan has launched a large-scale crackdown on them, leading to a steep decrease in their numbers and causing them to be considered a “dying breed.”
Despite the Yakuza’s involvement in crimes such as extortion, fraud, murder, and gambling, Japan maintains one of the lowest crime rates in the industrialized world, thanks in part to the Yakuza’s presence. The fact that crimes related to drugs are officially against the Yakuza code of honor or street gangs drastically reduces cases of drug-related crimes in the country.
The Yakuza’s deep-rooted presence in Japanese society makes them a necessary evil and “problem solvers” in the eyes of many. As a result, the public perception of the Yakuza in Japan is not solely a negative one. In fact, several clans contributed aid for victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami, demonstrating their involvement in the community.
Unlike the Mafia, the Yakuza is a legal, public group, making them relatively easy to check on. Their offices are public, and their members are registered by the police. Yakuza members have even gone as far as admitting their guilt as a part of their code of honor. However, the government’s strict measures against them led to a cessation of cooperation between the Yakuza and law enforcement. Criminals who do not register with Yakuza clans operate underground, evading the police and leading to a trend towards a new structure of organized crime in Japan. This restructuring has resulted in a rise in the number of foreign Russian and Chinese mafias operating in the country.
This documentary provides unprecedented access to the secret world of the Yakuza, painting a picture of these outcasts as not just criminals, but also as family men and members of Japanese society. The documentary delves into the struggle of the Yakuza for its survival and the restructuring of the organized crime scene in Japan.
If you are interested in learning more about the Yakuza and its history, or if you are intrigued by the current state of organized crime in Japan, this documentary is a must-see. Gain insight into a complex world that is often shrouded in secrecy. Watch the documentary to experience a world that is truly unique.