Merits of Yakuza Essay

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The yakuza - a family of organized crime that is complicated, hierarchical, underground and extremely influential in both the Private and the Public sphere, is unique to Japan. It is common knowledge that there exists an underworld in every country. The Yakuza, the significant part of Japan’s underworld however carries along unique characteristics, which makes it arguably a crucial part of what makes up the Japanese society. This essay seeks to substantiate the claim that Yakuzas, despite its definition of being a criminal organization, plays an important role in the Japanese history and society. Firstly, the Yakuzas plays a role in the Japanese society as they can be seen as a kind of ‘ambivalent hero’ throughout the Japanese history, having a rich history dating back to 300 years ago. They are portrayed, in official yakuza history, as underdog folk heroes who defended the poor and weak, alluding to Robin Hood who aided the poor by stealing from the rich. The Yakuza members call themselves "ninkyo- dantai", which literally translates to "chivalrous organizations". Tendo (2007, 6) also contends for the literal meaning of “yakuza” to mean “rooted in a territory, taking care of that territory”, giving “yakuza” a more meaningful purpose. Films also frequently depict the early yakuza heroes clad in kimono, portrayed as a honorable outlaw torn between his duty and feelings. They are heroes who seek to uphold tradition against stronger and ruthless rivals who are corrupted by materialism, self-interest and other Western values. In addition, the yakuza’s Jingi code forbids the yakuza from drawing citizens into their quarrel (Schilling, 2003, 22). In other words, they have a romantic outlaw status as being enemies of the strong and friends of the weak, thus playing up on the image of the yakuza as the honorable outlaws. Their rich history, roots and presence of the

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