HYOGO (TR) – Citizens in Kobe’s Nada Ward on Wednesday protested an annual Halloween event at the headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi criminal syndicate in which children are given candy, reports Sports Nippon (Nov. 1).
About 100 protesters in the company of police officers carried signs and shouted slogans that denounced the event, saying that children are being harmfully influenced. decorated with ghosts and other characters for the day.
“The Yamaguchi-gumi’s purpose is to win over [local] persons. We want parents refrain from allowing their children to participate,” said an officer of a Nada-based committee that seeks the removal gangs.
However, the event proceeded as scheduled, with children attired in costumes and their guardians entering the compound, whose entrance included inflatable skeletons and at least one gangster wearing a Jack-o’-lantern mask. Inside, gang members passed out candy and other items to the children.
News outlets have speculated that the event is held as a part of an ongoing attempt to improve the Yamaguchi-gumi’s image. In 2015, the event was cancelled after the gang splintered, resulting in the formation of the rival Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.
In 2016, the event shifted to a nearby shrine. Last year, it was held at the compound as usual.