Headline, September18, 2013

!!! ''' FOR A YAKUZA : 

ONE PLUS ONE = 4 EVEN 5 !!! '''

A wrinkled old man in a grey kimono stands at the entrance of the temple. He is bald, wears glasses and holds a paper lantern with the characters for the name of Cato painted down the side. The temple is in the upper-class area of Moro Azabu in Tokyo's ''high city'' as opposed to the eastern ''low city'' from where most Yakuza hail.

Sharp sunlight has broken through clouds. It makes precise geometric shadows in the small, multi-level Buddhist cemetery beside the Azabu View Temple. A group of four women in formal kimonos are standing around a big iron cauldron, burning incense and gossiping. Maybe 30 men, most in black suits and dark glasses, mill about greeting, bowing and joking. There's not a lot of mourning going on.

Bare, tubular fluorescent lights fill the spartan office with an unnatural glow. The shades are shut tight. Lizuka is sitting cross-legged on the tatami floor facing two trusted Kowa-kai underlings who mechanically open the envelopes and remove the beige Yen 10,000 bills. Lizuka taps numbers into a calculator while one associate double checks the figures by nimbly clicking the heads on a wooden abacus. Though the cut with the widow is 50-50, Lizuka's pile must be trimmed by 10 per cent for the temple monks and another 10 as a ''tribute'' to the local Yakuza boss.

Back outside, Lizuka's bodyguard Toyama hands a bulky envelope to the widow, bows curtly and walks down the driveway to his boss. Lizuka is actually savouring the moment, taking in the graceful, slopping roof the big temple, the sunlight shinning through the bare branches and the pigeons strutting around a small puddle. With this happy hesitation, Lizuka separates himself from the mindless salarymen who never stop to asses their day, their week or even their life.

''This is the way I like it,'' says Lizuka. ''Simple, easy profit. It's nice that keep a boke (bum) like Cato on payroll finally paid some dividend.'' Lizuka reminds himself that the same is true about the dope Tanaka whose blood it was ruined a pair of Lizuks's socks as well as the weekend.

Lowly Yakuza soldiers like Tanaka are not strictly supervised  by the organisation. Indeed, they are encouraged to arranged  freelance crimes away from the main Kowa-kai staples of property speculation, construction and loan-sharking. A soldier's value lies in collecting information, serving as raw manpower when needed and, lastly, in his limited economic prowess. The Yakuza make it a conscious duty to keep small-timers like Tanaka occupied within their own world, thus preventing the evolution of lone-wolf criminals.

At the same time, the idea is to keep men like Tanaka away from the Kowa-kai's sophisticated businesses where his low IQ might muck things up. As long as Tanaka kicks a cut of his small deals to Okawa-san, Kowa-kai's 68 year old   ''president'' , he is fine.

Tanaka's personal profit scam had the subtlety and a wit of a hammer. Each morning during the fifteen-day, twice-a-year Tokyo sumo tournaments, a few thousand upper level seats are sold to those without old-boy ticket connections. The proletarian sumo freaks  -what haired grannies, blue-collar workers and students   -begin queueing at the gate outside the modern sumo stadium the night before the ticket window open at 9am. At around 8.30am, Tanaka, leading a posse of young Yakuza-in training called chimpra,,  crashes the front of the line.

After fending off some pissed-off ladies, Tanaka's gang buys up all the cheap tickets and immediately goes and scalps them to the late-comers at the end of the queue. By day fifteen of the tournaments, Tanaka has usually earned Yen 1,000,000. Within two or three days, he would normally off 15% ''tribute''  at the Kowa-kai's Shin-juku office.

It's not the money that's important, it's a matter of respect, more for the sake of Tanaka's own good standing than Kowakai's multinational bank accounts. But last week Tanaka messed up. Lizuka doesn't know   -and really doesn't care   -why Tanaka never showed. He just hates all of Tanaka's bloody histrionics.  ''It would have been a  lot more profitable,'' Lizuka says, ''if he just jumped into the Sumida River.''

Before riving off the temple grounds, Toyama clicks on the small TV screen on the Nissan's dashboard. The gnarled roads of this corner of southern Tokyo appears on the small screen with the car indicated as a flashing blip. Though Toyama has mastered the streets of his native working-class eastern Tokyo, the hilly, western  ''high city''  of Tokyo remains mysterious. He breaks to let two tall blond men, perhaps German bankers, cross the street. Then Toyama peeks at the TV map and accelerates in the direction of Shinjuku.

Once a suburban outpost, Shinjuku, is the most dynamic business and entertainment centre of modern Tokyo. Its where monstrous skyscrapers are huddled along around the new, Kenzo Tange-designed City Hall. With its huge, twin-towers rising into the clouds, the City Hall reeks of all the arrogance and ambition of Tokyo itself. Before the war ruined him, Lizuka's father was a successful architect. Maybe that's why Lizuka likes the City Hall   -always admiring its powerful silhouette as the Nissan purrs along on the way to the Kowa-kai headquarters.

The Japanese characters for Kowa-kai have been elaborately engraved into a bronze plaque which is bolted on the unlocked front door. If you were unable to read the name Kowa-kai, you might believe these to be the spacious, modern offices of a corporate Law firm. But any Japanese really knows what Kowa-kai really represents.
Kowa-kai means something like ''Peace Exchange Association''. the name suggests one of Japan's Yakuza-friendly, ultra-right fringe parties. But whereas such rightist parties bandy about concepts like racial purity and rearmament, Yakuza organisations are about money making by any means possible.

A Yakuza group might be, simultaneously, in conventional mob biz like narcotics distribution while financing a  ''legitimate high-technology'' corporation and also practising  sokaiya.  Sokaiya is a simplistic blackmail technique that plays on the fundamental Japanese fear of confrontation. A Yakuza will buy a single share of blue-chip stock and then threaten the corporation that he will  ''disrupt''  the shareholders meeting by asking awkward questions   -an unacceptable occurrence by. Its seamless, uninformative and hence successful meeting at risk, the corporation duly hands over the big hush money.

Yakuza ventures generate an estimated combined income ranging from $ 8 Billion to $ 35 Billion a year. Whatever business they're involved in  -from prostitution to drugs to computer hacking   -the Yakuza maintain the traditions passed on from their ancient roots as the gamblers and hustlers of Feudal Japan. The true origins of the Yakuza vary according to the source. They were either marauders who terrorised agrarian Japan or tough -luck chivalrous Robin Hoods content to ''live in the shadows.''

The word Yakuza means eight-nine-three, a losing hand in an old card game.But in postwar Japan, the Yakuza's power has become so diversified, so entrenched and omnipresent in Japanese society that the agenda of the  ''underground''  Yakuza is virtually indistinguishable from that of the National Government. 

In a country with half the population of the united States, there are approximately  100,000   + and more Yakuza  members compared to an estimated  20,000 + American Mafiosi.

The Post Continues:
With respectful dedication to All the Parents in the World. See Ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:
''' !!! Gggrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!! '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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