Yakuza Are Very Much Alive and Kicking, and It Is No Good News

Some of you seem to think nowadays yakuza are pretty much a thing of the past much like ninjas are, and they exist only in period pieces, historic work or just plain fantasies. Wrong! They are still very much alive and kicking even today. You need to keep this in mind when you are in Japan.

Kobe is where the largest yakuza group Yamaguchi-gumi is. Currently they are having big internal conflicts, and a fraction of it has split from it to form a new yakuza group called Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

They can choose whatever name that pleases them, but I have to say the name “Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi” is quite unfortunate. Ironically, it’s Yamaguchi-gumi who has its headquarters in Kobe, and it’s not Kobe Yamaguchi Gumi; their headquarters are in Awaji Island and not in Kobe despite its name. For Japanese people, it’s like Narita International Airport, which was originally called “New Tokyo International Airport,” or Tokyo Disneyland, both of which are actually not in Tokyo Prefecture, but in neighboring Chiba Prefecture.

At any rate, as reported in “Japanese Police Prepare for ‘Nationwide Yakuza War’,” the two powers are crashing more frequently recently, and these incidents are happening not just in Kobe, but also in other places such as Tokyo. The general public is sheepishly praying that they will not accidentally get involved in their disputes and harmed.

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