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Festival to oust yakuza as tourist numbers jump

The Danjiri Festival in Kishiwada City is held in September
The Danjiri Festival in Kishiwada City is held in September (YouTube)
OSAKA (TR) – With an eye on its public image, officials in Kishiwada City hope to enact a revision to an existing ordinance that will exclude organized crime members from public events prior to the holding of a popular annual festival, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Aug. 22).

On August 28, a revision to an anti-organized crime ordinance specifying that gangsters be excluded from participating in religious festivals, fireworks displays and other similar public events will be submitted to the city council.

The move largely targets the holding of the famous Danjiri Matsuri, which is considered a symbol of Kishiwada. Every year, between 400,000 and 600,000 revelers gather for the festival. Held at the end of September, the event features locals attired in colorful happi coats swiftly pulling large wood floats through the streets.

With the number of foreign tourists visiting Osaka on the rise, the city is concerned about its perception to outsiders.

Last week, the Osaka Tourism and Convention Bureau, announced that nearly 3.2 million foreign tourists arrived in Osaka between January and June, a figure that is roughly double that from the same period in 2014, according to the Mainichi Shimbun (Aug. 17).

The original anti-gang ordinance went into effect in October of 2013. Its main intention was to remove organized crime from public works projects and other similar enterprises.

The proposed revision to the ordinance is expected to be enacted in early September.

“This is not just about the local citizens,” says Yoshinori Shigi, the mayor of Kishiwada. “We are also looking out for tourists, and want to further enhance their peace of mind.”