If one of Japan’s biggest crime organizations wanted to better their public image, what would they do? They’d completely overhaul their website, of course, and make it more family friendly, while showing off all of the good works they’re capable of doing. At least that’s what the Yamaguchi-gumi group of the Yakuza has done in recent days.
The Yakuza is suspected to be involved in all kinds of Japan’s elicit activities, such as prostitution and other criminal activities. It only makes sense they’d want to update their website to shift the focus to some of their not-so-sketchy habits. So that’s exactly what they did, and they even added a nice corporate song to go along with it.
According to some various police reports, it turns out that the Yakuza is having a bit of a membership crisis, as fewer and fewer people are joining their ranks. So, it’s entirely possible that this is the biggest reason for the website update – to gain support from potential members who might become interested in all of the opportunities for goodwill.
Jake Adelstein, who is the author behind the soon-to-be-released The Last Yakuza: A Life In The Japanese Underworld, has his own ideas about the new(ish) website:
“The Yamaguchi-gumi is like all yakuza groups in that they make their money from racketeering, protection money, gambling, extortion, real estate development, labour exploitation, waste disposal, sports, the entertainment business, and the nuclear industry…The website has no context or any real mention of the crimes they have been involved with or industries they control. That’s not the purpose of the website. The point of the website is to demonstrate that the Yamaguchi-gumi is actually a humanitarian organization…”
A humanitarian organization? The Yakuza? I’ll let you come to your own conclusion about that. I guess even crime syndicates need to update their image every once in a while.
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