Yakuza

The name yakuza originates from the Japanese game of Oicho-Kabu, which is like Black Jack. In Oicho-Kabu, the goal is to reach 19, not 21 like in Black Jack. The word Ya means 8, Ku means 9, and Za means 3. When you add the three numbers, you get 20, which is worthless in Oicho-Kabu. The yakuza, therefore, are outsiders of society.

It is important to note that the yakuza is merely a term for the Japanese that don't fit in with society. The yakuza are, as noted before, outcasts from society, and they have no place to turn but to each other. Often they are criminals and poor wretches that blindly follow the path of crime in an effort to succeed. The yakuza are completely different from the
Yakuza. The Yakuza are a form of organized crime. The yakuza are just outcasts and petty criminals.

The yakuza say that they originated from the Machi-yakko. The Machi-yakko were the middle class of medieval Japan that took up arms against the Kabuki-mono. The Kabuki-mono were a band of thieves and misfits that rampaged across Japan, stealing from innocents. Because Machi-yakko defended the cities from Kabuki-mono, they were
treated as the heroes of the city. They would take in the weak, the poor, the criminals, and give them the nurturing safety they needed. In return, they would work for their "father", the Oyabun, who was the leader of the Yakuza. Machi-yakko can be likened to Robin Hood, who was weaker than his foes, but stood up to them to protect the innocent. The
modern day yakuza didn't come about until the middle of the seventeenth century. It was comprised mostly of gamblers (Bakuto), street merchants (Tekiya), and other such outcasts and misfits from society.

During the industrialization of Japan to follow, the yakuza began to gain control over the construction and shipping industries. As a result, the Bakuto sect of the yakuza began to fall away, and the Tekiya began to take over. Because of the increasing influences of Europe and America, politics began to play an important role in yakuza business. The yakuza
began to line the pockets of key individuals in the government to be able to get away with certain illegal acts. In the depression of the 1920s, many gangs sprang up at the expense of the poor, and began to train assassins, thugs, and rogues. These gang members were masters of blackmail, extortion, and hired muscle. During the 1930s, the yakuza gang members
assassinated two prime ministers, two finance ministers and assaulted many politicians and important people. The yakuza who committed these acts are called Unyoke, which means "political right" in Japanese.

The end of World War II saw Japan occupied with American troops. When the Americans began to ration out food to control the Japanese, the local yakuza became powerful and rich with the black market. As a result of the enforced poverty upon the Japanese, however, a new breed of yakuza came to exist. This new breed of yakuza were called the
gurentai, Japanese for "street hustler". Gurentai were like the Japanese version of the Mob in 1930s America. The yakuza decided to drop the sword and pick up the gun. They began to steal and rob from anyone and everyone; shopkeepers, people in the underworld, and even ordinary citizens were victims of the yakuza. In the five-year period between
1958 and 1963 yakuza membership increased 150% to about 184,000 members, more than the entire Japanese army at the time. These members of the yakuza weren't all under the same banner, though. There were an estimated 5200 different gangs that these yakuza members followed. These gangs began to run out of room and started to increase their
violence and mark their territories in bloody wars. However, there was one yakuza who wanted unity. His name was Kadama Yoshiro. He took these gangs and united them under a name: Yakuza.

Yakuza Structure
There are 2 types of yakuza, clan- yakuza and freelance yakuza.

Freelance Yakuza
A Freelance yakuza is a yakuza that do not commit the bigger crimes. They usually belong to a small group of hustlers.

They have however some difficulties to survivel, the clan- yakuza do not allows anyone to operate within their territories. Clan- yakuza can tip the police about crimes that the freelance yakuza are about to, or already have committed.
If the freelance yakuza earns to much money, the clan yakuza may kill the freelance yakuza or make him disappear without a trace.
Clan- yakuza sometimes use the freelance yakuza. If the clan yakuza needs something doing that is classed as 'illegal' by the Clan, then they will use a freelance to do the dirty work, for cash of course.

Clan yakuza
Clan yakuza, as the name suggests, belongs to a clan. The clan can be compared with the Sicilian mafias "family". The clan are structured as a common family in traditional Japan. The clan have a hierarchy structure. The clans head chief is called Oyabun, that means Father. Beneath him he have his children(Wakashu) and brothers(Kyodai). These are not his real children and brothers.

All the members in the clan obeys Oyabun and in return he protect them against all dangers. Oyabun is almighty within the clan and his word is the law. All obeys him without hesitation even if it means danger for its own life.