A Benediction For The Bereaved

January is a cold month. I have two friends, one of them close, who lost a parent last month. It made me think a little about the cycle of life and death. Last February, a very unusual yakuza boss, known as the Buddha of the Underworld, who I sort of admired, passed away. On the 10th, it will be the one year anniversary of his death, and a time to cease mourning. The process of grieving is a long one. Often we’re encouraged in modern society... Read More

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

by Giles Poitras  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. The cover of that final issue had the two major characters set against a night sky and text announcing this final chapter of this long running series.... Read More

Book Review: Tokyo Underworld–a classic on the dark side of Japan

There are very few gaijin (foreigners) who know what happens on the dark side of the rising sun like Robert Whiting. Whiting is an American author and journalist living in Japan, one of the rare ones who has written great books published in both English and Japanese language after he first set foot in Japan in 1962, when he was 20. His most popular book, Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan, published by... Read More

Born to run, doomed to stall. Sayonara Speed Tribes documents end of Japan’s motorcycle gangs

A form of Japan’s subculture is in danger of extinction–its motorcycle gangs. An independent production company, FIGURE8PRODUCTIONS, has released a documentary movie by director Jamie Morris, SAYONARA SPEED TRIBES (A Bosozoku Documentary) which poignantly immortalizes the so-called Speed Tribes, aka the bosozoku (暴走族) and captures them as they fade away into the past. During the 1960s, in what was considered one of the world’s most... Read More

Japan Lax Nuclear Security Could Make It The Land Of The Melting Sun

Japan is a giant nuclear pressure cooker. Let’s hope it doesn’t get set off. full article is in the Japan Times (May 5th, 2013)  On April 15, two alleged terrorists in Boston killed three people, injured more than 170 others and terrified a nation — for about $100 it cost them to modify pressure cookers into bombs. We should be glad they didn’t come to Japan, where they may have been able to explode a ready-made nuclear dirty bomb,... Read More

Daily Prophet Flash: DanRad gets Press Pass for Tokyo Vice; The Last Yakuza to be published in 2014

Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On The Police Beat In Japan…a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe!? Radcliffe-san has been preparing to play the role of a newspaper journalist for over 10 years–more or less. To write for a newspaper, you have to read the newspaper. The Daily Prophet is one of the most respected in the industry; almost always first with the scoop and only occasionally very wrong. text courtesy of William Clark  May 1st, 2013 Mike... Read More

JSRC Meets J-Horror Movie Maestro & Discusses 3/11, Fear, Death, Living On

Mr. Yasuhiro Iganashi, a fisherman in Yamada (Photo: From the movie Living in the Wake of 3.11) Nakata Hideo is a Japanese movie director and producer who directed the seminal Japanese horror film Ring (1998), which became a TV series as well as an American remake in 2005. The movie Ring, started the trend that we now call “J Horror.” In 2002, Nakata made Dark Water, he also directed the hits Kaidan and Death Note, which were huge hits in the... Read More

Reconstructing 3/11: Sometimes The Yakuza Live Up To Their Ideals 

Last year, I was pleased to write a chapter for the book Reconstructing 3/11 which will be available to download for free for a limited time. As a special treat, I’ve posted my chapter of the book in its entirety, until March 14th. Our tireless editor, known only as Our Man In Abiko, has been kind enough to write an introduction for this posting. Reconstructing 3/11 is a thoughtful examination by an impressive list of noted and knowledgeable... Read More

Tora-san, Japan’s most famous tramp, is a yakuza? テキ屋

Who doesn’t know Tora-san from Shibamata? He’s Japan’s most famous tramp and the star of the world’s longest-running movie series,  as certified by the Guinness Book of Records. 男はつらいよ (Otoko wa tsurai yo/It’s tough to be a man) was supposed to be one single movie, released in 1969. It was the start of  the  production of 48 movies made over the period of 27 years, with almost two releases a year. The series... Read More

Japanese Tattoo Master: “The carving is one’s personal symbol..”

Horiyoshi the Third, aka Yoshihito Nakano, the world’s most famous Japanese tattoo master, 66, said that ten years ago, he had many more yakuza clients than he has now. “Nowadays I have 90 percent of non-yakuza clients and 10 percent of yakuza clients. Ten years ago it was much different. After the entry in force of the boutaihou, (anti organized crime laws), I have  fewer gangsters as clients. The landscape has changed and so have the customers.” Horiyoshi... Read More

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