Japanese organized crime, meanwhile, has moved to take advantage of the crisis. In late February, one yakuza group reportedly offered to help disinfect the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been impounded in Yokohama after several passengers tested positive for COVID After its passengers were finally allowed to disembark, the gang offered to send members to clean the Diamond Princess as it waited in the port, according to News Post Seven. When face masks, tissues, and toilet paper started disappearing from shelves in Japanese supermarkets in February, some yakuza groups also stepped in and distributed masks for free to pharmacies and kindergartens. One gang from the Kanto region reportedly tried to collect 30, masks to send to China after the coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan in December. Their plan failed, however, as they did not have the right international connections to smuggle the masks to the then-epicenter of the outbreak. The origins of the yakuza are hard to determine. Historians say their roots can be traced back as far as the 17th century. Gang violence increased in the mids, with reports of dozens of shootings between rival factions as they fought for control of the streets of Tokyo and other major cities.
The Corona Hustle
The Yakuza: The Japanese Mafia
The series originated from Toshihiro Nagoshi 's desire to create a game that would tell the way of life of the yakuza. Nagoshi initially struggled to find a platform for the project, until Sony showed interest in the prospect. The series primarily focuses on the yakuza Kazuma Kiryu from the Tojo Clan. While Kiryu often assists the Tojo Clan, the series has also featured him searching for another way of life in the form of raising orphans. The gameplay of Yakuza has the player controlling Kiryu or another character depending on the title in an open district where he can encounter an enemy or perform an activity in the city to obtain experience. Throughout the series, characters visit other areas of Japan, such as Osaka in Yakuza 2 , 5 and 0 , Okinawa in Yakuza 3 , Nagasugai, part of the fictional Fukuoka based on Nakasu , Tsukimino, part of the fictional Sapporo based on Susukino and Kin'eicho, part of the fictional Nagoya based on Sakae in Yakuza 5 , and Hiroshima in Yakuza 6.
Vying for Power
The Yakuza is the name given to organized criminal gangs from Japan. The Yakuza is not a single organization but rather a collection of separate gangs or clans akin to the American Mafia. These violent criminals have left their fingerprints on many aspects of Japanese life, from lowly gambling and prostitution rackets to the halls of high-level political and financial power. The various gangs that make up the Yakuza have different origins, and the gangs' versions of these origins can be quite different from the historical record. In their own vision of themselves, Yakuza descend from honorable, Robin-Hood-like characters who defended their villages from roving bandits. Some even claim to trace the Yakuza's lineage to Ronin , samurai warriors who found themselves without masters following a period of political upheaval in 17th-century Japan [source: Crime Library ]. You can read more about Ronin and samurai in How Samurai Work.
In Japan and elsewhere, especially in the West, the term yakuza can be used to refer to individual gangsters or criminals as well as to their organized groups and to Japanese organized crime in general. Yakuza adopt samurai -like rituals and often bear elaborate body tattoos. They engage in extortion, blackmail, smuggling , prostitution , drug trafficking, gambling , loan sharking, day-labour contracting, and other rackets and control many restaurants, bars, trucking companies, talent agencies, taxi fleets, factories, and other businesses in major Japanese cities. They are also involved in criminal activities worldwide. According to police estimates, gang membership reached its highest level, of some ,, in the early s.