The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies includes outstanding contributions from a diverse group of leading academics from across the globe. This volume is designed to serve as a major interdisciplinary reference work and a seminal text, both rigorous and accessible, to assist students and scholars in understanding one of the major nations of the world.
Chapter 13: Organised Crime
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 ...