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Offering he could refuse: Yakuza nabbed after shrine turns down money

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested two organized crime members for allegedly threatening a shrine in Chuo Ward over its refusal to accept monetary offerings, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 4).

In early May, Kenjiro Shirai, a 77-year-old executive in the Inagawa-kai, and fellow gangster Katsumi Inoue, 54, allegedly threatened the chief priest of the shrine, 64, over his refusal to accept an envelope containing cash that was intended as an offering prior to a festival.

“We aren’t sure what will happen [if you refuse],” one of the gang members reportedly said in issuing the alleged threat.

Both suspects deny the allegations, police said.

Kenjiro Shirai
Kenjiro Shirai of the Inagawa-kai (Twitter)

Over the past 10 years, the gang has participated in festivals held by the shrine in which the gang’s name was affixed to traditional coats worn by members. Prior to each festival, the gang provided an offering to the shrine in the name of the chairman of the gang without using the organization’s name.

However, the gang’s name was evident in the offering made in the most recent case, causing ties between the organization and shrine to cease, police said.