While Japanese crime syndicates are deeply entrenched in the history and culture of Japan, much of what is known in the Western world about the Yakuza is primarily the result of stereotyping generated by media-driven sensationalism and lowbudget motion pictures. Judgment on the crime syndicates' continued existence, modes of operation, and relatively high visibility in Japan is oftentimes passed based on socio-cultural perceptions of deviance that differ from those in Japanese culture. Taking the form of a book review essay, this paper aims to re-introduce the reader to Japan's crime syndicates with the goal of replacing stereotypes and myths with factual information. Utilizing two seminal works written by authorities of the field, the paper chronicles the history of the Yakuza's origins and evolution, outlines their organizational structures, describes the groups' past and current operations, and provides a brief overview of the crime syndicates' likely future.
"Yakuza Past, Present and Future: The Changing Face of Japan's Organized Crime Syndicates,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science:
Vol. 2, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/themis/vol2/iss1/12