The lifestyle of a Yakuza gangster is in jeopardy says Shoko Tendo, author of Yakuza Moon, a best-selling memoir just out in English. I found this interesting article in Reuters. Her first-person account of life as a daughter of a Yakuza gang leader, sheds light of the underground profession in Japan. She describes life in detail and says that the life of a Yakuza gangster is changing,
The more the police push, the more the yakuza are simply going underground, making their activities harder to follow than they ever were before,”
It’s unbelievable to think that a “Soprano” lifestyle is as public as offices with signs and official lists posting their member directory. But according to Shoko, life as a Yakuza gangster is changing. Recent efforts by the government to crackdown on crime have forced most gangsters to change their ways, pushing them away from the mainstream.
I remember bumping into a Yakuza gangster at an Osaka train station. He was wearing an Italian suit with gold chains and slicked back hair. I was immediately surrounded by his bodyguards, while he yelled something at me in Japanese. My heart began to race, and beads of sweat formed as I tried to look as apologetic as I could. I apologized and bowed, as he moved on. I think that will be the closest I’ll ever come to the Yakuza, apart from reading this new book.