Earlier this month, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested a former member of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi (Nobuyuki Yamamoto) for killing a real estate consultant, Kazuoki Nozaki, in a dispute over a building in Shibuya ward. The murder took place in 2006. A Goto-gumi front company was laying claim to the building and Nozaki-san was an obstacle in their plans. He was stabbed to death on the streets of Minato-ward.
On December 17th, at 10:55 am the police raided the offices of Yamaguchi-gumi Rachi-gumi in Shizuoka Prefecture. There were brief skirmishes with Rachi-gumi members during the raids, including of course, the obligatory verbal abuse, and much rolling of rrrs and shouting from the assembled yakuza members.
Rachi, the leader of Rachi-gumi, was the number two in the now disbanded Goto-gumi, and the suspect Nobuyuki Yamamoto was also a member of Rachi-gumi. The police have issued an international arrest warrant for his accomplice who is believed to have fled Japan. Police sources and others media report that Yamamoto has begun to make statements in which he admits to the murder but remains silent on as to who ordered it or whether he did it “on his own initiative.” The police may rexamine the “suicide” of film director Itami Juzo as a homicide based on the progress of the current investigation. Itami Juzo made a film in 1992, MINBO (The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion) which depicted the yakuza in an unfavorable light, resulting in Goto-gumi members attacking him and slicing his face up after the film was released. Itami later committed suicide under suspicious circumstances.
Four of Itami’s films are currently available on DVD in the United States. MINBO remains only available on VHS. It is sold in Japan on DVD with english subtitles.