A Japanese yakuza group now has its very own gangster magazine.
While it might seem like a plotline from a Takashi Miike movie, apparently one outfit in the Japanese mafia now has its very own monthly publication. The magazine reportedly contains poetry and articles tailored specifically to those who work in the underworld.
The gangster magazine known as Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo is now available in Japan. According to the Guardian, the publication isn’t circulating among the public. Instead, it is distributed exclusively to members of the yakuza.
The gangster magazine was reportedly put together by the Yamaguchi-gumi in an effort to strengthen unity between active members of the group. The South China Morning Post explains that the syndicate has around 27,700 individuals among its ranks. The group is considered one of the largest currently operating in Japan.
“The magazine is the Yamaguchi-gumi’s attempt to show the public that it’s an old organisation that upholds traditional Japanese values; that its members are not a bunch of violent thugs like those guys down in Kyushu,” Tokyo Vice author and yakuza expert Jake Adelstein told the Guardian.
Adelstein said the publication was only sent to regular members of the group. However, Yamaguchi-gumi officials knew that details about the gangster magazine would eventually leak to the press and the public.
Yamaguchi-gumi members make up roughly 40 percent of Japan’s criminal underworld. Although these groups have been mostly tolerated by police over the years, a sprawling seven-year turf war that claimed the lives of several innocent people ultimately changed the landscape.
While Yamaguchi-gumi is considered one of the largest groups in the country, the National Police Agency said yakuza numbers have dropped considerably over the past few years. A police source said this has everything to do with new laws aimed at shutting down organized crime.
“They may feel that it has become harder to carry on with their activities under anti-mafia ordinances that bar them from opening new bank accounts and signing real estate contracts,” a source explained.
What do you think about the Japanese yakuza publishing a gangster magazine?