LLCU 214 Lecture 11: Week 11 (got A+ in course)

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Languages, Literatures and Cultures
LLCU 214
Donato Santeramo

Week 11 Lecture Notes: Yakuza Umbrella term for all Japanese criminal organization At least 21 major groups with more than 53,000 members Yamaguchigumi (Yamaguchi = last name, gumi = extended family) is largest group with 50 billion in revenue Kabukimono** Origin of Yakuza can be traced back to 1612 to men known as Kabukimono Their odd clothing style, the distinct haircuts and bad behaviour, longswords quickly got everybodys attention They were known as masterless samurai, ronin, and several of them began to wander around in Japan as a band of robbers, plundering villages and small cities Kabukimono were generally samurai who were unemployed during long peaceful times. They were known for their ruthless behaviour and for terrorizing all their surrounding areas. They were also well known for stabbing people for pleasure. Kabukimono gave their groups scary names and spoke in vulgar slang Machiyakko Yakuza do not see Kabukimono as their ancestors (because of the negative connotations involved with mono) instead they feel they are Machiyakko (city servants) even though they are more like Kabukimono Machiyakko became the peoples heroes, praised by citizens for help against Kabukimono Machiyakko were often weaker and far less trained than Kabukimono Yakko born in 1612 to contrast arrogance and violence of the Samurai A sense of family They were compared to Englands Robin Hood Many members were poor, criminals, misfits and orphans The yakuza became a family (they become adopted) for them as they got help with problems, got attentions and could feel degree of safety Different than Russian because dont have to renounce and are adopted Heirs of Samurai Some believe that Yakuza are the true heirs of the samurai Both are organized into strong hierarchal systems based on honour and subservience. Both regard violence as an efficient way to get things done. And both have a strong sense of tradition and pride. But this is just a myth (product of Yakuza imagination)
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