Letters from Life

i want to do everything i want to do…and i really do

The Yakuza – love to hate…

Japan is a developed country. People live their complicated daily lives with a sense of decent physical security…by which I mean petty crimes are minimal…we don’t see much happening in the area of theft, burglary, fighting, etc. The populace lives in peace.

But we know that man is just another social animal and this means there has to be certain ‘disturbing elements’ in each society, which are inclined to create noise in the form of physical aggression. So whats up with Japanese neighbourhoods…why are they so quiet?

Talking with a Japanese friend made me understand more about the value of the Yakuza subculture in this society. The Yakuzas have been organized gangsters since centuries, and are a form of balance between the good and the bad. Usually, Yakuzas are allowed by the local authorities to engage in businesses of less repute and in return the Yakuzas work to the maintenance of ‘peace and quiet’ in their designated neighbourhoods. Yakuza people are known for their generosity in their areas of operation and contribute to charity and other social causes. Since, they don’t officially exist, the Yakuza can’t have access to the banking systems and other economic conveniences.Of course, there are incidents of turf-wars between Yakuza factions. Another problem is the Yakuza becoming an international crime syndicate spanning Americas and Korea.

So, there I gave you a summary of a ‘crime-containment-system’ that works for Japan. Not ideal but it does work. And I guess such systems, in various forms, are present in most other societies around the world.

It, however, is funny to me when I compare the size and reach of the Japanese Yakuza to the Russian Mafia, – the Russian Mafia comes out unorganized and small. But if you ask someone which is a safe country to live….the answer usually is Japan or USA  😉




Categories: Japan, Philosophy, society

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1 reply

  1. This is really interesting. I never would of thought of it.


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