Help Support Japan Subculture Online. Reporting on the strange side of the Rising Sun since 2007!

Gentle reader, Welcome to our semi-annual pledge drive. Japan Subculture Research Center (@japankenkyu) was founded in 2007 by Jake Adelstein and many contributors to expose the hidden side of Japan – its underground economy, its transient and strange trends, its robust sex trade, wacky politics, corruption, social issues, many subcultures, yakuza, host clubs and hosts, Japanese cinema and all the other intriguing and seedy aspects... Read More

6 murderers are paroled in a small Japanese town. Will they bring the place back to life or bring more death? See “The Scythian Lamb”

Rural depopulation is a serious problem in Japan, so much that for the past decade, media fiction has devoted an entire genre into telling its stories. Bankrupt shops with their shutters permanently closed, desolate mountain and sea landscapes, no one out on the streets but a handful of old people. These are both metaphors for, and the hard facts of, most Japanese rural areas. Regional governments have been desperate to bring in new residents and... Read More

The Yakuza That Stole Halloween: They tricked cops, rival gangs, the media & treated the kids.

TOKYO— It was a grisly grim and horrific Halloween in Japan but it wasn’t all bad news–there was a yakuza Halloween, after all. After the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest organized crime group (yakuza), announced that they would be calling off their annual Halloween party this year, they surprised and delighted the neighborhood children by holding it anyway. The Trick The Yamaguchi-gumi had posted a sign around October 20th, that they... Read More

Celebrate Japanese Cinema Day: 映画の日! Ninja! Yakuza! Cyborgs! Reviews!

Since 1956, Japan’s film industry has set aside a day to celebrate the birth of cinema in this country. December 1st, 2016, marks the 60th anniversary. The holiday is also known a 映画の日 (eiga no hi). The first showing of a film is generally considered to have happened in 1896 in Kobe, 19 years before Japan’s largest yakuza group, the Yamaguchi-gumi (still going strong) was founded in the same area. Here are some links to articles... Read More

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

In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic.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... Read More

Yakuza University: It’s a hard knock education

The underworld has its own language, and its own idioms. Higher education for many yakuza begins in jail. Yakuza are not the exception to the rule. For example, instead of saying “going to jail” (刑務所に行く: keimusho ni iku), they say “going to university” (大学に行く : daigaku ni iku). This phrase has a special meaning and is not used randomly. First, yakuza consider that jail is informative, a required kind of rite of passage... Read More

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Japanese – men AND women – is the apparent lack of awareness regarding issues like gender and racial discrimination, worker exploitation, social injustice and other stuff that have western observers of our culture taking one look and scratching their heads. That stuff about a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly yelling out harassment remarks to a female politician while the... Read More

Confessions of A Yakuza Bodyguard/芸能界のドンの用心棒の告白

When Ikumi Yoshimatsu, the former Miss International, refused to join any yakuza linked talent agencies, including Burning Productions, she found that standing up in “Yakuza Hollywood” is a sure way to get knocked own. In October of 2011, it became illegal to profit the yakuza in any business including showbiz. The attempts to ban yakuza from the entertainment world have sadly been more amusing than effective. In her support, Kazuo Kasaoka,... Read More

Bitcoin Exchange Kraken Joins The Mt Gox Investigation; The collapse still shrouded in darkness

Bitcoin exchange Kraken  announced on Wednesday that it had been chosen to support the investigation of Mt Gox’s collapse. The announcement was made at the second Mt Gox creditors’ meeting held in Tokyo District Court. Kraken, is a San Francisco based bitcoin exchange known for its top share in Euro trading, that launched trading in Japanese yen in October. Payward Inc. is the corporation that operates it. Kraken was selected by the trustee in... Read More

The Guardian of Japan’s Underworld Has Gone To The Other Underworld

Morikazu Tanaka, an ex-prosecutor turned mouthpiece for the mob (yakuza) and other shady characters,  passed away Saturday at the age of 71. Tanaka personified the image of former prosecutors in japan as being shady lawyers who would work for the highest bidder, often the criminals and/or criminal organization they once tried to put in jail. The term やめ検 (yame-ken) is the derisive slang used to refer to those who have gone over to the dark... Read More

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