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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

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How a sumo tournament led to the downfall of the yakuza

The yakuza, Japan’s infamous organised crime syndicates, have gone into a death spiral in recent years and Jake Adelstein says it is partly due to an incident at a sumo…

Bring Them Home: Ongoing Battle for Japanese Hostages in North Korea

It's been 46 years since Takumi Yokota last saw his sister Megumi. Their family was just like any other, until Megumi became one of the many Japanese hostages held captive…

Tokyo Vice Vice-O-Pedia: Nuclear workers (原発作業員)

The Japanese underworld thrives beneath the surface, weaving a subterranean society that infiltrates every corner of Japanese life. The Yakuza, Japan’s infamous mafia, proudly upholds age-old structures and rituals tracing…

Sign for Tigran and Nadeem: Demand Their Freedom Now!

No news yet on the release of Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, who continue to be unjustly detained. As days pass, their families grow increasingly desperate for answers. Yuri Gambaryan,…

The Evaporated: 神隠し(かみかくし)Gone with the Gods –On Air now

People have a habit of vanishing in Japan---even hundreds of years ago, it happened often enough that myths were created to explain these sudden disappearances. 神隠し (kamikakushi)--to be hidden by…

The Subculturist: The man behind Tokyo’s most infamous city guidebook

For a decade, Steven Schultz was the world’s window into the most extreme and intriguing corners of Tokyo. Until one day, suddenly, he wasn’t.

THE TWO CYCLE ENGINE SAAB AND SAVING THE PLANET EARTH

As you read this, you may be asking yourself why I am so fascinated by these cars with three cylinders and a two-cycle engine. Because the earth itself may be…

Tokyo Private Eye (東京探偵) the sequel to Tokyo Vice was published on March 28th 2023, with Marchialy (France). English version next year!

Clients say they want to know, but they don't They want you to tell them what they want to hear But that's not the job My job is to deliver…

“A Man” Takes Imposter Syndrome To New Dimensions

Life seems to be going incredibly well for them until Daisuke is killed in an accident. At the one-year memorial, his estranged older brother turns up from Gunma prefecture, clear…

My Brushes With the Yakuza – Reflections of Life in Akasaka, Tokyo

My first encounter with the ‘yakuza’ or the crooks and gangsters of Japan’s underworld, happened when I was 14 years old, on my way home from cram school. It was…