A while back I brought this subject to light a bit here on the US side of the pond. In the last coupla weeks there have been a few more developments. Nothing juicy, exactly…just the typically weird way the Japanese do things when it comes to Ura-culture.
So, to recap that last article, the largest and most powerful Japanese organized crime gang (the Yamaguchi-gumi) had a large portion splinter off (the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi). At the time, the national cops were expecting this to go completely haywire. It didn’t.
What I mean when I say things got weird, is the most publicized “confrontation” in this recent gang war involved the leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Shinobu Tsukasa, being publically accosted in the Shin Kobe Train Station by a dozen or so young Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi street punks, last week. The interesting thing to note about this exchange is that there were police there to keep the punks away from Tsukasa. And the only thing they did was yell stuff at him like, “Hey, you’re famous! Can I have your autograph?”
The cameras filming it all weren’t exactly a new thing. They’re around when dudes like this hit the public. The cops knew that the punks would be there, though. They were all specifically in place when the dude cleared the exit gate. The reason the punks did this is basically just to further out that guy in the public. Yak lords aren’t supposed to be “famous”…they’re ura things. Calling someone famous–in front of news cameras–compounds the issue. Mission accomplished.
The going theory on this whole splinter group thing, at this point, seems to be that the Kobe branch thinks that the parent organisation has taken a shit on trad Yak values, and that the whole structure is rife with petty bullshit. (“They lack honor” kinda shit.) And having those kids show up and heckle that dude like they were fanboys and he an aging idol…really is just a funny fuggin’ way to drive that point home.
This theory isn’t far from the truth. The main branch has got its fingers in a lot of stupid shit. Not like the old days when the Yak ran legitimately illegal businesses. Of course, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, in this case. Last year, shortly after the split, that cop task force I mentioned in the last article raided a Kobe branch office and arrested several people for petty scams.
As politics and regional tensions rise, the Yak is gonna have to pull its head out of its ass and start doing things like it used to. I will continue to cover the history of this in the follow-on series to this article. But suffice to say at this point, I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Kobe leadership sees the trajectory of Japanese politics, and has taken their leave of the petty side-show shit to opt back into doing things for the good of the empire.
Just my two yen. I’m watching the lane, so as things develop or devolve…you’ll know when I know.
Featured image of Kenichi Shinobu Tsukasa courtesy of www.tokyoreporter.com