Japan’s Yakuza mobsters launch new, public relations website

// April 2nd, 2014 // News

Homepage of largest Yakuza gang, Yamaguchi-gumi

Photo of Kenichi Shinoda, boss of Japan's largest yakuza gang, after his release from prison in 2011Japan’s biggest organized crime syndicate, the Yakuza, has launched its own website, the content of which, is not what you would expect. Spurred by a poor public image, membership in the Yakuza fell to an all-time low in 2013, slipping below 60,000 members for the first time. The Yakuza’s new website is an attempt to counter their image as “antisocial forces” and instead, show it as a friendly, neighborhood organization bent on improving the quality of life for Japan’s citizens.

The new Yakuza website does sport a pretty face (albeit with a amateurish design) and contains footage of Yakuza gangsters making their new year pilgrimage to a religious shrine, video of the crew pounding rice for a new year festival, and pictures showcasing the cleanup Yakuza members initiated in the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 tsunami.

According to The Guardian:

“Like the Italian mob or Chinese triads, yakuza syndicates are involved in activities ranging from prostitution to extortion and white-collar crime. But unlike their underworld counterparts elsewhere, the yakuza are not illegal and each of the designated groups, like the Yamaguchi-gumi, have their own headquarters, with senior members dishing out business cards.”

Yakuza’s new website can be found at http://zenkokumayakubokumetsudoumei.com/index.html.

Sources: The Guardian, Yamaguchi-gumi, Wikipedia

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