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Japan's Criminal Underworld, 25th Anniversary Edition

David E. Kaplan (Author), Alec Dubro (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 426 pages
ISBN: 9780520274907
October 2012
$29.95, £24.00
Other Formats Available:
Known for their striking full-body tattoos and severed fingertips, Japan's gangsters comprise a criminal class eighty thousand strong--more than four times the size of the American mafia. Despite their criminal nature, the yakuza are accepted by fellow Japanese to a degree guaranteed to shock most Westerners. Yakuza is the first book to reveal the extraordinary reach of Japan's Mafia. Originally published in 1986, it was so controversial in Japan that it could not be published there for five years. But in the west it has long served as the standard reference on Japanese organized crime and has inspired novels, screenplays, and criminal investigations. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition tells the full story or Japan's remarkable crime syndicates, from their feudal start as bands of medieval outlaws to their emergence as billion-dollar investors in real estate, big business, art, and more.
About the Authors
Preface to the 2012 Edition
Prologue: Enter the Yakuza

1. The Honorable Outlaws

2. Occupied Japan
3. Nexus on the Right
4. The Black Mist

5. The Syndicates
6. Corruption, Japanese-Style
7. The Keizai Yakuza
8. The Collapsing Bubble

9. Meth, Money, and the Sex Trade
10. Old Markets and New
11. Across the Pacific
12. To America
Epilogue: A New Yakuza

A Note on Research
David E. Kaplan is an investigative journalist based in Washington. He is former director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and served as chief investigative correspondent for U.S. News & World Report. He is the author of Fires of the Dragon and coauthor of The Cult at the End of the World, on the doomsday sect that released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway. Alec Dubro lives and works in Washington, DC where he writes, edits, and blogs for the labor movement. He is the creator of the satirical website, The Washington Pox ( and is past president of The National Writers Union.
“Yakuza is well written, fascinating, has more relevant information in one place than any other source.”—Mark D. West Journal Of Japanese Studies
"A fascinating study of how criminal enterprise can infect the very heart of modern capitalism. Here is the backstage world of political influence and organized crime in the world's second largest economy... by far the most detailed and even-handed study of this important and neglected subject."—John W. Dower, author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II

Reviews of original edition:

"A superb study of Japan's underworld that is both entertaining and revealing. The authors miss none of the color and curious detail of the yakuza style, but at the same time go far beyond surface observations."—Far Eastern Economic Review

"The book is laden with fascinating information, some of it heretofore unavailable in English."—Washington Post

"Blend the Mafia with the Masons. Let them simmer a while, then fold in the Ku Klux Klan and you'll have the yakuza…. Important and timely…Yakuza will serve for years as the source document on Japanese organized crime."—San Jose Mercury News

"State-of-the-art investigative reporting…must reading for those who consider themselves already highly conversant with yakuza activities…disturbing."—Journal of Asian Studies

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