Yamaken-gumi boss to head Yamaguchi-gumi rival

Kunio Inoue
Kunio Inoue of the Yamaken-gumi

KOBE (TR) – Following last week’s dissolution of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime syndicate, law enforcement on Sunday confirmed the formation of a rival gang, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Sep. 6).

Kunio Inoue, the 67-year-old boss of the Kobe-based Yamaken-gumi, will head what is likely to be called the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

Last Tuesday, the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is also headquartered in Kobe, chose to finalize the excommunication of 13 affiliate gangs. Relations with eight gangs were cut, though with the possibility of reinstatement, while ties with another five groups, including the Yamaken-gumi and Takumi-gumi, which is based in Osaka, were severed completely.

Prior to the dissolution, the Yamaguchi-gumi operated in 44 of Japan’s 47 administrative districts. According to data from the National Police Agency, the gang, including affiliate organizations, had a membership of 23,400 through the end of last year.

As previously reported, the Yamaguchi-gumi’s 72 affiliate groups had become divided over the management policies of current boss, 73-year-old Shinobu Tsukasa. It is believed that the remainder of the gang will be spearheaded by the Nagoya-based Kodo-kai, a gang co-founded by Tsukasa in 1984.

The new organization of dissenting gangs will be comprised of approximately 3,000 members, of which 2,000 are from the Yamaken-gumi.

In recent days, law enforcement has been on alert due to concerns that conflicts will result between the renegade gang and the Yamaguchi-gumi.

In 1984, the Ichiwa-kai seceded from within the Yamaguchi-gumi. Over the next five years, disputes between the two gangs resulted in more than 20 deaths and 500 arrests.

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