New Yakuza Beats Harvard

John Ramseyer’s paper “Outcast Politics and Organized Crime in Japan; the Effect of Terminating Ethnic Subsidies” is an interesting research into the dynamics of the former “Dowa” regions, which have been subjected to deep-rooted discrimination in Japan. Interestingly, he argues in the online 2017 version that the end of the subsidies to the Dowa regions coincided with the significant decline in membership of the Japanese mobs, particularly among the youth:

Needless to say, the decline of the former mobster groups coincided also with the introduction of anti mobster legislation in 1991 which seriously restricted the traditional mobsters’ ability. Ramseyer does not deny this, but nonetheless argues that the termination of subsides also contributed to the fascinating development, without citting any evidence:

The reality is far less clear cut, however, compared to the rosy description above. As all Japanese know, the Japanese society is now facing, instead of traditional Yakuza, the emergence of “Han Gure”, or young semi mobster groups who are not subject to the anti mob legislation. These young groups are known to control a variety of entertainment joints including “clubs” in fashionable districts. They also organize events which attract thousand of youths. Most importantly, it is the work of these Han Gure that sophisticated new fraud scheme has grown targeting the aged. The fraud uses a trick to force the elderly to operate the bank cash dispensers to wire the money to their accounts, or use mock delivery service to extract cash from them. In total about 30 billion yen (300 million dollars) is stolen this way each year.

In 2019, their overseas “call center” was discovered in Thailand and 15 suspects were arrested. This level of sophistication and internationaliation was unthinkable for traditional Yakuza.

Nippon Broadcasting News April 1, 2019

In reaching his rosy conclusion, Ramseter entirely fails to grasp the implications of or recognize these latest developments which are far more widespread, sophisticated and vicious, even though they already became a serious social phenomenon when the paper was published in 2017. Young New Yakuza’s shrewdness outsmarted Ramseyer.

ラムゼイヤー教授の「Outcast Politics and Organized Crime in Japan; the Effect of Terminating Ethnic Subsidies」という論文は従来「同和」地域とされ根深い差別にさらされた地区の新たな展開を論じるものとして興味深い。彼の結論は地対財特法による助成の終了と、暴力団構成員、特に若者の構成員が大きく減少したと指摘する。