The New Sex-Ed: Yakuza Awareness Classes

This August, Police in Fukuoka have started conducting organized crime education and awareness classes at middle and high schools in the prefecture. Prefectural police report that the current cultural tolerance of the yakuza often results in admiration of them by misinformed youth; indeed, many yakuza first participated in gang activities in their formative early teens. The police have therefore created this program to educate middle and high school students about the realities of yakuza life.

The curriculum includes ways of dealing with yakuza confrontations (for example, what to do when approached in the workplace by a yakuza demanding to be payed off), a run-down of how the yakuza make money (through drug smuggling, loan sharking and other illegal activities) and general advice on how not to get entangled in a gang.

Of the 69,000 students who had taken the class before June of this year, 24,000 were asked to participate in a survey. According to the results, 40% had some yakuza presence in their lives. 2% had reported they were even invited to join a gang. 97% of students reported that the classes were easy to understand, and that “they now understood the truth about the yakuza.”

In the space allocated for comments, some reported that there were shootings near their house, and that they were afraid of being hit by a stray bullet.

Seven teachers have a special license to teach the class. They plan to visit 545 public and private schools at least once by March of next year.

Jake’s note

In terms of eradicating the yakuza from general society, Fukuoka Prefecture is highly progressive. In March of 2010, convenience stores in Fukuoka prefecture, at the request of the police, stopped selling and handling yakuza fan magazines.

It’s probably the beginning of the end for the fanzines. Without their use as recruitment tools and propaganda for organized crime, the Japanese public’s attitudes towards them may begin to change as well. On several fronts Fukuoka is thinking ahead to create a society without yakuza, or at least one where it is difficult for them to recruit young blood.

In addition to the anti-yakuza curriculum they have created, the Fukuoka Prefectural Police Department, working in conjunction with the Centers to Eliminate Organized Crime, produced a realistic depiction of yakuza life in their educational film 許されざる者 (“The Unforgivable”). The film is a surprisingly accurate portrayal of yakuza life, the merits and demerits of the life.

In this scene, an errant yakuza is beaten to a pulp, while the text explains that modern laws forbid yakuza to force members who want to quit to chop off their pinkies and or/ interfere with the resignation.

Yakuza cops play all the yakuza in the film, which gives the film a surprising amount of intensity. In many ways, its one of the best yakuza films in recent years.

The police will rent it to anyone who’d like to see it.

Published by

Stephanie Nakajima

Stephanie Nakajima

Contrarian philosopher, half-woman, half-Japanese, all dolphin.

13 thoughts on “The New Sex-Ed: Yakuza Awareness Classes”

    1. They are arguing that it’s a violation of their civil rights and it encourages discrimination against yakuza, as if being a yakuza was like the equivalent of being a minority rather than a choice.

  1. While it’s wonderful what’s being done in southern Japan, one has to worry about the current state of Northern Japan, where I can only imagine the yakuza are doing quite well in the chaos… 🙁

    I was so happy about the progress being made in rooting them out pre-3/11, but the lasting effects of the disaster seem to be somewhat win-win for team Y.

    -Craig

    1. The Yakuza are flourishing in the chaos and the “let’s get yakuza out of the construction business” impetus has collapsed. There’s no way to do that and get the reconstruction done in a timely fashion.

  2. This seems like a very good tool to me. Arresting indiviual members in like swatting misquitoes. If you really want to get rid of the bugs, drain the swamp. Cut off their recruiting tools, and their access to funds. This does not mean cracking down on illegal behaviors like prostitution and gambling. After all none other then Don Corlione pointed out that the average man would dabble in these activities from time to time. Rather, the government should liberalize (read leagalize), control, and tax the bejesus out of them. Particularly with gambling, this seems to have worked rather well in the United States. I understand how there are those who would be opposed to legalized prostitution under any circumstances no matter how well regulated. I am just throwing the idea out there.

    One more thought: why is it that mearly being a member of a recognized crime group is not a crime in and of itself? I suppose there are those who say it would drive groups underground and make them harder to monitor. I would point out that it would also make them more difficult to operate. The only reason I can see is that either the government is afraid to pick a fight, or that the government still tolerates/derives some benefits from continued Yakuza existence.

    1. I agree with you. You have to change the public attitude towards the yakuza to get rid of them.
      I’ve come to believe that regulating the yakuza rather than banning them entirely may actually be the best solution. I waver on this issue.

  3. The yakuza is like a boil on Japanese society. However, it must be remembered that crime can never be eradicated from a large society. Never. It can only be suppressed or controlled to a certain extent.There would be an extremely good chance that if Japan’s “boil” were lanced, the ensuing suppuration would leak into the bloodstream i.e. into society, on the same scale as in most other developed countries. Whatever the situation in Japan with the yakuza, it can’t be denied that Japan is still safer to walk around than most other countries (no matter how trite that statement has become).

  4. “I’ve come to believe that regulating the yakuza rather than banning them entirely may actually be the best solution. I waver on this issue.”

    Does Japan have an equivalent to the R.I.C.O act?

    That would be a proxy regulation and it was huge in getting the mob outta the 5 buroughs and Vegas. They ain’t gone but they will never be the same and a lot of that is tied to R.I.C.O prosecutions.

  5. At this point, I am only teaching CIS105, a basic required computer
    class. Sydney can transform herself, like a cuttlefish, in a wink of
    an eye. Castellano had recently been arrested on multiple racketeering charges.

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