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Yamaguchi-gumi marks 100 years of crime

Outside the Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters in Nada Ward
Outside the Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters
KOBE (TR) – Japan’s largest criminal syndicate on Sunday celebrated a century of crime at the gang’s headquarters in Nada Ward, reports Kobe Shimbun (Jan. 25).

As more than 20 police officers and members of the press looked on, vehicles carrying gang upper members of the Yamaguchi-gumi and affiliate yakuza organizations, such as the Inagawa-kai and Aizukotetsu-kai, could be seen entering the compound, where a mochitsuki (rice-cake making) event was taking place.

Sunday was also the birthday of the Yamaguchi-gumi’s top boss Shinobu Tsukasa, 73, who is also known as Kenichi Shinoda.

It had been a custom for the gang to hold such gatherings at hotels or ryotei restaurants but recent legislation that limits the activities of organized crime groups has made that more challenging.

“It is difficult to reserve a venue with in this exclusionary environment,” said a representative of the police to the Kobe Shimbun (Jan. 24), “and, as well, (the gangs) are reluctant to hold conspicuous events and show off their power.”

In 1915, former fisherman Harukichi Yamaguchi founded the organization, which has a current membership of 11,600, according to the data from 2013 by the National Police Agency.