Sunday, December 19, 2010

History of The Yakuza

Yakuza are members of traditional organized crime groups in Japan. Outside of Japan, the term also refers to traditional Japanese organized crime in general, although the media will typically call any Japanese criminal activity. There are said to be about 84,700 members of Yakuza in Japan, but those numbers come mostly from what the police can deduce from membership lists. It is doubtful this includes every single one of the families, each member’s respective gang, or so-called “freelance” Yakuza (people with loose ties to a family, who are usually looked down upon, but who can be used for activities that shouldn’t be traced back to a family). In Japanese legal terminology, yakuza organizations are referred to as boryokudan, literally "violence groups" and is considered an insult to Yakuza members as it can be applied to any violent criminal.

We won’t delve much into the history of the Yakuza, interesting subject as it may be. There are more knowledgeable people and sites out there for that. However, we probably won’t be able to avoid it, anyway. So, although our main focus will be Yakuza tattoos, expect small tidbits and facts here and there.

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