A New Life: Discussing life experiences in and out of the yakuza

  With Dr Hirosue Noboru (researcher), Shindo Tatsuya (ex-yakuza, pastor),  and Yoshioka Mikio (ex-yakuza, Mission Barabbas evangelist)

  Hosted by Professor Federico Varese and Dr Martina Baradel

  An Extra-Legal Governance Institute event

  Free | Hybrid Event

The Japanese crime syndicates collectively known as the yakuza have their origins in the 17th century. After WWII, and in particular during the 1980s, the yakuza thrived enormously: counting tens of thousands of members, they were deeply embedded within Japanese society and directly involved with economy and politics. However, increasingly harsh regulations against the yakuza, coupled with a long and severe economic crisis, have affected many of the yakuza’s legal activities. 

Today, yakuza members are reduced to fewer than 25,000 – a historic low – and this downward trend is set to continue. Infamous for their flamboyant style, the yakuza have virtually disappeared from the urban spaces they formerly occupied, and are also now scarcely involved in political scandals.

Streamed live from Nagoya, Japan, this talk will explore what it means to be a member of the yakuza today, and the changing role of the yakuza within Japanese society. Three guests will discuss the reasons for joining the yakuza, the difficulties of living within the yakuza, and the troubles ex-members face when starting a new life. Through the words of a yakuza researcher, and two ex-members, this event will shed light on the material realities of those who choose to join this organisation, and the repercussions this choice bears even after leaving the group.

The event will be both online and in-person. The conversation will be in Japanese and simultaneously translated into English for guests joining via Zoom. Guests who wish to join in person, please email martina.baradel@sociology.ox.ac.uk by 28th November to register and receive the venue details.


To join virtually, please register here