KOBE (TR) – Saizo Kishimoto, a former top boss within the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group, died earlier this month, Hyogo Prefectural Police said to the Kobe Shimbun (Jan. 17).
Kishimoto, who was once the gang’s general affairs chief and number-two boss, died of natural causes on January 17. He was 85.
The native of Kobe trained to be a kamikaze pilot in the Japanese Imperial Navy before the conclusion of World War II. He later became a bureaucrat at the city of Kobe.
After retiring from civic work, Kishimoto entered an affiliate group of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest yakuza group. Im 1973, he was installed as the second in command to the gang’s third Godfather, Kazuo Taoka.
In August of 1997, Kishimoto was in attendance when members of the Nakano-kai, a renegade group of the Yamaguchi-gumi, shot and killed Masaru Takumi, a potential successor to Yoshinori Watanabe, the fifth Godfather, inside a coffee shop in the New Kobe Oriental Hotel.
Kishimoto, who founded the Kishimoto-gumi and once headed the Hanshin-kai, retired from the Yamaguchi-gum in October of 2007.