itachi (鼬・いたち）: a weasel, but in the yakuza world also slang for a very good police detective. いたちごっこ(itachgokko) “to act like a weasel” refers to a game that Japanese children play in which it is impossible for either side to win. The police versus the yakuza war which has been going on since 1965 is often referred to as itachigokko.
baburu keizai (バブル経済・ばぶるけいざい）: Bubble Economy. Japan’s housing bubble during the late 1980s made rich many white-collar yakuza who were doing business in real estate at the time. Some estimates indicate that up to 40 percent of the bad loans left after the bubble collapsed were either directly or indirectly tied to the yakuza.
bakecho （化け調・ばけちょう）: A shady private investigation firm, or a supposed corporate investigation that is carried out under fraudulent pretense or with the goal of blackmailing the target, and/or illegally obtaining information for the yakuza or other anti-social forces. Private investigation firms are often used as front companies for the yakuza, and since they also collect information, they are wonderful vehicles for collecting intelligence to extort money from people or silence investigators. Recently (February 2012) the head of the Galu Agency (Yokohama Office), a large private investigation firm with roughly 150 offices across the country, was convicted for fraudulently obtaining the personal records of an organized crime cop. Yakuza Private Eye–it’s a scary combination.
giri （義理・ぎり）: debt or obligation. A very complex concept of duty unique to Japanese culture, this indicates both the gratitude one has for an act of kindness and the obligation to carry out revenge. The yakuza distinguish themselves from the American and other mafias by claiming to uphold a sense of giri and ninjo.
hamonjo （破門状・はもんじょう）: order for excommunication. Yakuza who excommunicated are no longer allowed to associate with or do business with the group in any form, and are banished from the yakuza world. A hamonjo is said to be reversible, and a punishment that is one step above zetsuen.
kakuseizai （覚醒剤・かくせいざい）: speed, amphetamines, meth. The drug of choice in Japan and the trade that has proved more lucrative for the yakuza than even the sex industry. Possibly accounts for up to one-third of total revenue. Virtually the entire business in Japan is run by the yakuza. Slang: (シャブ). Kakuseizai was a legal drug available for many years in Japan and given to Japanese soldiers during the war to keep them working and fighting. Personally, I’ve always felt that some of the Japanese Army war atrocities could be attributed to the fact that they were all high on meth. I call it the “meth-head theory of Japanese war atrocities” It was sold during the war under the brand name ヒロポン (Hiropon), starting in 1941. It has often been said that Hiropon is a play on words: hiro is (疲労-fatigue) and ポン（pon) is the Japanese sound for something bouncing. Thus the idea being that Hiropon would make your “fatigue” simply “fly away.” In fact, it came from the greek word Φιλόπονος which meant “to love working.” As the side-effects of the drug became well-known and the number of addicts grew, it was finally banned in 1951. The yakuza stepped in to fill the gap when production ceased and trade in the drug became one of their early primary sources of revenue.
kigyo shatei (企業舎弟・きぎょうしゃてい): the yakuza associate running a front company. A front company is a fake company set up by the yakuza to appear legitimate and have access to the privileges of running a legitimate operation, while actually engaging in illegal activities/businesses. It’s questionable whether yakuza themselves originally referred to their uninitiated business partners as kigyoshatei but the word has gone from police terminology into the yakuza vocabulary over-time.
marubo (マル暴・まるぼう): yakuza or police who investigate the yakuza. Used by police as a code word for the yakuza, and used by yakuza in reference to investigators. The term originally came from a symbol made by drawing a circle (maru) around the first character of boryokudan in police reporters. Detectives are also called marubo-dekka (マル暴デッカ・まるぼうでっか) and marubo-keiji (マル暴刑事・まるぼうけいじ).
sakazukigoto (盃事・さかずきごと): Ceremonial tradition involving the ritual passing of sake to signify a new relationship between two individuals or an individual and a gang. Yakuza are said to, sakazuki wo kawasu (盃を交わす). Ceremonies include succession (・襲名盃・しゅうめいさかずき), linking as parent and child (・親子盃・おやこさかずき), linking as siblings (・兄弟盃・きょうだいさかずき), and fortifying a relationship (・固めの盃・かためのさかずき).
sara-kin （サラ金・さらきん）: Short for ‘salary man financiers’. Loan sharks, often with yakuza ties, who lend out at extraordinarily high interest rates. In 1982, about 10,000 borrowers who were not able to their loan back either committed suicide or simply fled their families.
yubi-tsume （指詰め・ゆびつめ）: The act of slicing off a part of the pinky finger to atone for a mistake. This practice has been losing favor recently as yakuza seek to blend in better in the movement toward white collar crime. Also known as enkozume.
zenai kaigi （全愛会議、全日本愛国者団体会議・ぜんにっぽないこくしゃだんたいかいぎ）: The All Japan Council of Patriotic Organizations. The largest federation of right-wing groups in Japan, with membership at over 150,000 during the 1960s.
zetsuenjo （絶縁状・ぜつえんじょう）: order for irreversible excommunication. Yakuza who are excommunicated in this form are banished from the yakuza world, and any attempt to associate with yakuza will be met with hostility. Zetsuen between two previously associated groups is equivalent to a proclamation of war. Joseki (除籍・じょせき）is simply having your name removed from the yakuza registry and is probably the most benign way of leaving the organization.