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Yakuza dictionary & OC resources

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  • Yakuza dictionary & OC resources
For those who are studying Japan’s organized crime groups academically or out of curiosity, here are some links and materials that may prove useful. This page was originally begun on June 15th, 2008 and is a work in progress.
Resources currently include:

Other resources:

Lectures: Hard Lessons Learned From Tough People: All I Ever Needed To Know In Life I Learned From The Yakuza or The Cops That Bust Them

Articles  written and collections of past articles by Jake Adelstein (editor-in-chief)

Beauty Takes On The Beast  Why Miss International 2012, Ikumi Yoshimatsu, took on the yakuza run entertainment industry and was subject to stalking and harassment for it. And why the mainstream Japanese media tried their best to ignore the story. (For the Number 1 Shimbun February 4th 2014)

The Confessions of A Yakuza Bodyguard For A Talent Agency  (2016)  A former yakuza who worked for one of Japan’s largest talent agencies tells all. There are links to the original Japanese court documents.

The Dark Side Of The Rising Sun (past columns and more for The Japan Times)

The Yakuza: No Longer Welcome in Japan (Cultur Mag) February 2011

The Yakuza: No Longer Welcome in Japan February 2011 Part 2

Mobsters On A Mission: How Japan’s Mafia Launched an aid effort (The Independent) April 2011 The Atlantic Wire articles

The Daily Beast: Yakuza Expelled From Japanese Hollywood (2011). A brief history of the yakuza and their involvement in the entertainment industry.

My articles for The Daily Beast

Yakuza and Japanese Politics  A long piece on the history of the yakuza in Japanese politics written for World Policy magazine.


Everything I Ever Needed To Know In Life I Learned From the Yakuza Or The Cops That Bust Them (TEDxKyoto 2012) In the slides, the code of ethics of one yakuza group are displayed. Informative and interesting if you read Japanese.


Contemporary Japan: History, Politics, and Social Change Since The 1980s by Jeff Kingston The book has a great section on the modern yakuza and references to them in the text. The book wasn’t a critical hit but I think it is very good.  The section on the nuclear industry was highly prescient.

The Japanese Mafia: Yakuza, Law and the State by Peter Hill. A seminal work on the growth of the yakuza over time and their political and social influence. A little out of date but one of the finest reference books available in English. Includes an interview with the number two of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Mr. Kiyoshi Takayama.


Miscellaneous Below are some fact sheets and articles about the complex workings of Japan’s crime organizations.

Yakuza Studying Up On How To Circumvent New Anti-Organized Crime Laws

October 2008 A listing of Japan’s Twenty-Two Officially Designated Organized Crime Groups, from the National Police Agency White Paper 2008. The police fight against the yakuza (posted in 2012 by the National Police Agency.

Other Articles

21st-Century Yakuza: Recent Trends in Organized Crime in Japan ~ Part 1   21 世紀のやくざ ―― 日本における組織犯罪の最近動向 by Andrew Rankin

You’ll notice that even the yakuza office locations are clearly designated. They aren’t a hidden and secret society.

The National Police Agency list of designated organized crime groups. 指定暴力団