Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yakuza in Tohoku

The most important thing is helping the weak. Duty and kindness are second. Then the third would be: don’t betray others.

– Matsuyama Shinichi, chairman of the Kyokuto-kai yakuza organisation, on what it means to be a yakuza member.

For the yakuza helping the relief effort, it’s partly about living up to the slogans they profess. It’s also about getting a stake in the reconstruction of Japan. Construction is big business.

– Tomohiko Suzuki, author of I’ve Met 1,200 Yakuza, investigative journalist and former editor of the yakuza fan magazine Jitsuwa Jidai Bull.

Read this fascinating story by Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice (which I swear I am going to read), about the role of organized crime (yakuza) in Japanese society, and the response by some of its members to the disaster in Tohoku. Think truck loads of food and supplies, delivered immediately and under cover of night...

It's in the Asia Literary Review, vol. 20, Summer 2011.

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