This is an interesting article from The Independent about “the John Gotti” of Japan turning over a new leaf. Personally, I kind of wish I hadn’t made the remarks in the story at 5 am in the morning, but then again, they are kind of funny—in a black humor sort of way. Maybe Goto really does regret his depraved life and is seeking spiritual salvation. It would be nice if took some of his ill-gotten gains and donated them to charity to show his “sincerity” but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. At the very end of the story is a photo of what allegedly is the statement that Goto passed out at his Buddhist priest initiation ceremony. I’m working on a rough translation although some of the words are fairly esoteric.
One of Japan’s most feared yakuza has renounced violence and found Buddhism. A genuine conversion? Or a desperate attempt to avoid assassination at the hands of his enemies? David McNeill reports
Picture the scene: a fleet of black limousines crunches up the driveway of a Buddhist temple nestled in lush pine-carpeted mountains an hour west of Tokyo. The precious cargo of limousine one – a violent but ageing mob boss – steps out into the sun, surrounded by four sumo-sized bodyguards and is welcomed by a priest. As cherry blossom petals blow gently in the wind, the gangster enters the shrine and proceeds to be solemnly ordained into the Buddhist priesthood.
It sounds like the opening of a terrible yakuza movie, but this is what took place in this picture-perfect setting when Tadamasa Goto, one of Japan’s most feared mob bosses, stepped out of the shadows this week and into the path of God.
Unsurprisingly, he was watched – at a safe distance – by a 40-strong media scrum. It was as if the infamous mafia don John Gotti, a man with whom Goto is sometimes compared, had ditched his dapper suits for priests’ robes at the local Catholic church.