The Japanese Mafia: Yakuza, Law, and the State

Paperback | January 26, 2006

byPeter B. E. Hill

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The Japanese mafia - known collectively as yakuza - has had a considerable influence on Japanese society over the past fifty years. Based on extensive Japanese language source material and interviews with criminals, police officers, lawyers, journalists, and scholars, this is the first Englishlanguage academic monography to analyse Japan's criminal syndicates. Peter Hill argues that the essential characteristic of Japan's criminal syndicates is their provision of protection to consumers in Japan's under- and upper-worlds. In this respect they are analogous to the Sicilian Mafia, and the mafias of Russia, Hong Kong, and the United States. Although theyakuza's protective mafia role has existed at least since the end of the Second World War, and arguably longer, the range of economic transactions to which such protection has been afforded has not remained constant. The yakuza have undergone considerable change in their business activities over thelast half-century. The two key factors driving this evolution have been the changes in the legal and law enforcement environment within which these groups must operate, and the economic opportunities available to them. This first factor demonstrates that the complex and ambiguous relationshipbetween the yakuza and the state has always been more than purely symbiotic. With the introduction of the boryokudan (Iyakuza) countermeasures law in 1992, the relationship between the yakuza and the state has become more unambiguously antagonistic. Assessing the impact of this law is, however,problematic; the contemporaneous bursting of Japan's economic bubble at the beginning of the 1990s also profoundly and adversely influenced yakuza sources of income. It is impossible to completely disentangle the effects of these two events.By the end of the twentieth century, the outlook for the yakuza was bleak and offered no short-term prospect of amelioration. More profoundly, state-expropriation of protection markets formerly dominated by the yakuza suggests that the longer-term prospects for these groups are bleaker still: nolonger, therefore, need the yakuza be seen as an inevitable and necessary evil.

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The Japanese mafia - known collectively as yakuza - has had a considerable influence on Japanese society over the past fifty years. Based on extensive Japanese language source material and interviews with criminals, police officers, lawyers, journalists, and scholars, this is the first Englishlanguage academic monography to analyse Jap...

Peter B. E. Hill is at University of Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.78 inPublished:January 26, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199291616

ISBN - 13:9780199291618

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Mafias and the State2. Yakuza Evolution3. The Modern Yakuza - Structure and Organization4. Shinogi - Sources of Income5. The Botaiho6. Heisei Yakuza - Burst Bubble and Botaiho7. Yakuza, Law, and the StateAppendixesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any one with an interest in the interplay of culture, crime, and law.'The Law and Politics Book Review