The Hardest Men In Town: Chronicles of Sin, Sex, Violence and 1975 classic gangster film THE YAKUZA

John was tattooed by Horiyoshi III for several years

This was originally posted on March 10th 2011. (Wow, who would have guessed what would happen a day later.) It has been reposted to commemorate the passing of yakuza movie icon, Ken Takakura, on November 10th 2014.  Today, March 9th, began the first day of the Globus Film Series, Hardest Men in Town: Yakuza Chronicles of […]

Some parting words from Yakuza movie icon Takakura Ken on yakuza films, his favourite movies, and acting

昭和残侠伝 破れ傘(プレビュー)

But I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played, was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn’t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him. JSRC: Mr. Takakura, you have been called the Clint Eastwood of Japan, what do you think of that?
Ken Takakura: It’s what someone else thinks, so I have no thoughts on the matter. 

The Ministry Of Sickness And Death: An unpublished chapter of Tokyo Vice

Greenpeace action against Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) at Chropyne, Czech Republic, 2001.

How could it be that the people closest to the waste dumps weren’t getting more exposure to the deadly dioxin? The figures seemed very low any way I looked at it.

Shukan Bunshun to release audio of Yamatani interview

Eriko Yamatani is a liar–and Shukan Bunshun has the audio to prove it.

Saying Goodbye to The Buddha Of The Yakuza (極道の仏にお別れ)

Takahiko Inoue-kumicho, was known as "The Buddha" in the underworld.

井の上さんは裏社会でも表社会でも「仏 (ほとけ)」(Buddha)として親しく呼ばれた。警察用語では、「仏」は「死人」という意味もある。彼の死を知った知人は「いよいよ本当に身も心も仏様になりましたね」と肩を落としながら弔いの言葉を述べた。

The Ides Of October: Japan’s nuclear reprocessing “dream” is the world’s nightmare

The Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Cycle PR Center can explain to you why nuclear spent fuel is so hand to have.

The IAEA considers 8kg is enough to make a nuclear weapon. In other words, if the 1% not accounted for (at Rokkasho Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plant) was actually stolen, it would be enough material to produce the equivalent of 10 nuclear weapons in a year.

And justice after all? Prosecutor Review Board Say “Charge TEPCO Execs with criminal negligence”

TEPCO executives might possibly be prosecuted for criminal negligence resulting in death and injury over the 3/11 triple nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. But will justice prevail? The odds are as good as there never being another nuclear accident in Japan. Ahem.

However, if the Tokyo Prosecutorial Board again rules that prosecution of the TEPCO executives is warranted then a team of lawyers will be chosen to play the role of the prosecutors and the accused will be charged. An independent government investigatory board concluded in 2013 that the nuclear accident could have been prevented and that TEPCO management was criminally negligent.

Ninkyodo, dude! Even The Yakuza Are Speaking English Now

Ninkyodo

Maybe the detective was right, because while the Yamaguchi-gumi may not have substantially expanded their operations, they are certainly trying to expand their appeal internationally. Recently, they debuted their own English version of the website, NINKYOUDOU (任侠道). Ninkyodo is the supposed to be the philosophy of the yakuza, an ethical code and way of life which places importance on helping the weak and self-sacrifice. The old-school yakuza, while still being essentially criminals, but mostly professional gamblers or street merchants–also maintained a code of honor which forbid theft, robbery, sexual assault, fraud and dealing in drugs. (Of course, racketeering, extortion, and other money-making ventures were not off-limits. Even a noble semi-samurai has to earn a living, right.)

Happy New Year Of The Horse 2014 (馬年) Come ride with us!

Happy Year Of The Horse! 
Just get on and let the horse go where it goes.

Japan Subculture Research Center has taken a long sabbatical since December of 2013. We meant to get things off with a bang this January but our editor in chief and assistant editor were both out of commission. So we’re taking the opportunity today to relaunch the website and wish you all a happy Chinese new year. The Chinese new year and once upon a time, the Japanese new year as well, followed the lunar calendar, so today’s new moon (Friday) means we can all say goodbye to the (water) snake year and say hello to the (wooden) horse year!

Underwear designer by day, Underworld yakuza boss by night: The Quiet Don

Underwear designer by day, yakuza by night. The Quiet Don

Nitta Tatsuo’s Shizukanaru Don (静かなるドン), translated into English as The Quiet Don, began publication in November 1988 in the men’s manga magazine Shukan Manga Sunday (Weekly Manga Sunday) and ran until the January 2013 issue when it concluded with a 50 page chapter. Lingerie designer by day, yakuza by night. It’s the ultimate double-life.