Author Topic: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan  (Read 1040 times)

Bhazor

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Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« on: October 04, 2017, 11:12:37 PM »
I take every opportunity I can to whore this thing out. So here we are.



In spite of its classification as a text book Yakuza is in fact a wonderfully accessible history. Plunging deep into the unbelievable details of a facet of Japanese culture that is bewilderingly untouched in the west. Extensively researched it talks about a criminal class that is far from being a hidden subculture like the Mafia. Instead the Yakuza pretty much controlled the country including on more than one occasion prime ministers who were former Yakuza bosses. A gang that holds billion dollar world wide corporations hostage. A criminal organisation that brokered arms deals with American company Lockheed worth 100s of 1,000,000s of dollars. The book is staggering in its pace from one unbelieveable scandal to the next. From far right ultra nationalist terrorism which is so rife and yet under-reported that just a few years ago a leading liberal politician was shot to death in the street. To how the Yakuza essentially invented speedboat racing. Its a world where Yakuza hold offices with their gangs name printed outside. A world where yakuza bosses read out their poetry at press conferences sitting alongside their arresting officer. But unlike certain western books about gangsters it never feels gratuitous or as if its relishing in the cool flashy world of speedboats and billion dollar golf courses. It returns again and again to the racial violence and forced prostitution subjected on Korean immigrants. To the politcal violence and corruption that has seen Japan being hailed by the alt right as the proof ethnostates work.

A fantastic book.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 11:26:41 PM by Bhazor »

Re: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 11:20:39 PM »
Is this the one that Bob Dylan was accused of plagiarising from? It sounds like an absolutely fascinating read.

Edit: Just checked and the Dylan thing was about another Yakuza book.

Ian Drunken Smurf

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Re: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 06:29:42 PM »
Looks an interesting read.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 01:31:47 AM »
UCPress has the first chapter as a preview. Not the best chapter in that its just ancient history but it does tell you how the Yakuza paint themselves to be the hero.

https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520274907

There's also a torrent of the pdf version on the dirty thieving scumbag part of the internet

Kishi the Bad Lampshade

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Re: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 05:02:27 PM »
I've just read this, rather good. I lived in Japan and was familiar to some degree with the extent of the yakuza's reach, but it was fun to read some of the more eccentric parts, such as the comedic drama of some of the group's names (Goblin Party), a leader being almost killed by a pornstar who crashed a plane into his house, and the low-level goons who are hired to ruin companies by walking around the offices shouting 'banzai' until they are paid to go away.

One thing I felt was not so well-covered though was the public attitude towards them, there was some reference to public ambivalence but it's a pretty complex topic and I think it could have been covered in more detail.

Bhazor

  • Are you rolling your own jelly babies in there?
Re: Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld by David Kaplan
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 05:08:36 PM »
Glad you enjoyed it.

Would agree about it needing more depth on the subjects it covers. I found it incredibly frustrating to read a fascinating throw away anecdote about some insane shit and then find out there is basically zero about it written in english. Or at least very little about it on Amazon. Which is funny when you read about how many hundreds of films and books about the Yakuza are made.

I can't comment on the public response to the Yakuza or how accurately Kaplan represents it.