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Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri to freeze out yakuza in bid to sever ties

The Tenjin Matsuri is held on July 24 and 25 in Osaka
Organizers for the Tenjin Matsuri, held on July 24 and 25 in Osaka, are seeking to remove participation by gangsters

OSAKA (TR) – The organizers of one of Japan’s biggest festivals have drafted regulations to freeze gangsters out of activities and business operations in a bid to sever ties with criminal organizations, reports the Asahi Shimbun (May 22).

Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and its affiliated organizations that run the Tenjin Festival, set to be held on July 24 and 25 in Osaka, said they will cooperate with Osaka Prefectural Police to enforce the criminal syndicate exclusion regulations.

The organizers said they decided to draft the regulations in view of growing momentum to eliminate criminal syndicates, as well as past requests from police to participate in such efforts.

The regulations include various stipulations, including the non-utilization of criminal syndicates and the prevention of such organizations from participating in all activities.

Efforts will be made to ensure that gangsters do not sponsor fireworks and are not involved in the biggest ritual known as funatogyo, a water procession along a river involving the placing of an object of worship on a boat.

Festival organizers around Japan have increasingly been shutting out gangsters from festivities.

In 2012, organizers of the annual Gion Festival in Kyoto declared that yakuza would be barred from events such as the Yamaboko Junko, a grand procession of floats which is the famed highlight of the festival. Three years later, the Danjiri Matsuri in Osaka’s Kishiwada City made a similar push to remove gangsters.