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Organised Crime
Organised Crime
Peter Hill

The yakuza occupy an ambiguous space within Japanese popular consciousness. Their traditional role in matsuri (festivals), itself a celebration of Nihonrashisa (Japanese-ness), links them firmly with something dear to most Japanese hearts. Their mythologised history, immortalised in countless films, honours a value system of loyalty, duty, self-sacrifice, superhuman endurance and physical courage in the face of overwhelming odds. An aesthetic combining exaggerated native attire, lurid shell-suit gangster chic and self-mutilation rituals simultaneously excludes and accommodates them. Whatever the myths, in reality they inspire fear and revulsion as well as a morbid fascination. With the rise of cool Japan, Tarantino's Kill Bill and Sega's Playstation game Yakuza 2, organised crime Japan-style has impinged itself on global culture as well.

Is Japanese organised crime of interest to students of Japan purely as an item of prurient ...

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