The Tokyo Reporter

Trick or cheat? The Yamaguchi-gumi celebrates Halloween in Kobe

Yakuza members distributed candy to children arriving at the front of the Yamaguchi-gumi compound

HYOGO (TR) – The Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group on Thursday celebrated Halloween in a good-will gesture to the residents in the area near its headquarters in Kobe’s Nada Ward, reports the Kobe Shimbun (Nov. 1).

During the day and evening, members of the group distributed candy to children arriving at the front its compound. According to Nikkan Knuckles, the confections were inside large purple bags covered with caricatures of a Jack-o’-lantern and a witch and the writing “Happy Halloween: Trick or Treat.”

A local resident says that the Yamaguchi-gumi held a similar event at a nearby shrine three years ago.

The move is part of an ongoing attempt to improve the gang’s image. In July, the group issued the eight-page Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo to communicate goals and policies from top boss Shinobu Tsukasa, who wrote a preface on the paper’s first page, to the gang’s approximately 27,700 members.

One day at the end of the year, the upper echelon members and underlings will prepare mochi (rice cakes) — in a ritual where the rice is pounded with a wood mallet — and distribute toys, candies, and cash gifts to children.

The group has also handed out breathing masks to kindergartens during periods when influenza was spreading.

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