Seven Samurai 1954 - Yakuza: Gangster Brotherhood TV - Misha Glenny - 13 Assassins 2010 - Sanjuro 1962 - Street Mobster 1972 - Dragnet Girl 1933 - Tokyo Drifter 1955 - Sukiyaki Western Django 2007 - The Last of the Samurai 2003 - Bunraku 2010 - The Yukuza 1974 - Sonatine 1993 - Into the Sun 2005 - The Office US TV -
In the 16th century, during the Civil Wars, an endless cycle of conflict left the countryside overrun by bandits. Seven Samurai 1954 starring Tikashi Shimura & Isao Kimura & Yoshio Inaba & Daisuke Kato & Minoru Chiaki & Seiji Miyaguchi & Toshiro Mifune & Bokuzen Hidari & Kamatari Fujiwara & Keiko Tsushima & Yoshio Tsuchiya et al, director Akira Kurosawa, opening caption
Is there no God to protect us? ibid. village woman
We’ll fight. ibid. old man
Defence is more difficult than offence. ibid. #1 Samurai
This job affords no stipend and no reward. ibid.
There’s no creature on earth as wily as a farmer. ibid. mad Samurai
I want to die quickly. I want to die soon. And leave this suffering behind. But you know, the other world may be just as full of suffering as this one. ibid. old woman
If you only think of yourself, you’ll only destroy yourself. ibid. #1 Samurai
In the end, we lost this battle too. ibid. #1 Samurai
In modern-day Japan there’s an ancient brotherhood of gangsters known as the Yakuza. Secretive organisations that control a criminal empire. Yakuza: Gangster Brotherhood
The Yakuza is one of the world’s biggest mafias. Over 80,000 mobsters control crime rackets, drug deals, human trafficking and protection. ibid.
Across Japan more than twenty crime syndicates compete for a piece of the action. ibid.
In Japan the Yakuza are legal organisations. ibid.
Some people take their problems directly to their local Yakuza. ibid.
Some estimates claim that up to a half of all Yakuza members have sacrificed a finger to their boss. ibid.
In recent years Yakuza turf wars have turned more vicious and deadly. ibid.
The Yakuza are survivors. ibid.
Land-sharking – the most ruthless business practice to emerge during the baburu, and one that quickly produced a dizzy mixing of Japan’s mighty corporate world with the proud yakuza underworld. Misha Glenny, McMafia
Large parts of Kansai (western Japan) were rocked by the most bloody yakuza war on record. Hundreds of members and associates of the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Ichiwa-kai fell victim in carefully coordinated hits. ibid.
The public despaired both of the yakuza behaviour and the apparent inability of the police to do anything about the violence. ibid.
Business started to borrow money. Lots of it ... The stock market shot into the stratosphere ... It was not long before the extraordinary speculation on the Nikkei found its way into the property market ... A lot of people didn’t want to sell, and so the companies and banks turned to muscle – the yakuza. ibid.
Japan’s legal and illegal worlds were steadily becoming indistinguishable, and nowhere was that distinction more fuzzy and impenetrable than at the Sumitomo Bank. ibid.
Itoman [subsidiary of Sumitomo] squandered about half a billion dollars of its capital, and police estimated that about half of this ended up in the coffers of the Yamaguchi-gumi. ibid.
Japanese taxpayers underwrote the excesses of the bubble period, subsidising the obscene money-grabbing in which both the zaibatsu and the yakuza had indulged. ibid.
We stroll into the bar on the corner ... a cumbersome old TV from the 1970s on its last legs, but still pumping out Japanese music videos. In general, the clique holds that the Japanese maintain a stark social reserve, but such considerations are brushed aside as the landlady beams excitedly at Django, while placing some raw fish and tofu in front of us. She grabs the telephone and calls her friends. ‘Django’s here. Come on down.’ ibid.
Like most established organised criminal communities, the yakuka have a complex mythology about their origins. ibid.
Apart from those who have lost their little fingers, the most ostentatious mark of yakuza membership is the tattoo. ibid.
They remain a core element of Japanese society, but since the collapse of the bubble they have faced unprecedented challenges to their authority, but from their enemies at home and, increasingly, from foreign rivals who are beginning to squeeze their economic base. Like the rest of Japan, the yakuza are encountering some difficulty in adapting to a globalising world. ibid.
Contrary to popular assumptions, they did not shoot, extort or bribe their way to the top: they are, bizarrely, a product of Japan’s legal system. ibid.
In its core activity, the yakuza are not only a privatised police force; they are a self-contained judicial system as well – criminal syndicates as cops, barristers, judge and jury. ibid.
The government felt able to pass the Law Regarding the Prevention of Unjust Acts by Organised Criminal Syndicate Members in 1991. ibid.
So the yakuza enjoys the unique status of being a legal and an illegal entity simultaneously. ibid.
Since 1991 the police have registered a significant consolidation of yakuza power into just three families – the Yamaguchi-gumi and two Tokyo-based groups, the Sumiyoshi-kai and the Inagawa-kai. ibid.
Their main headache recently has been the police – not in the shape of any crackdown on the families, but because of pachinko, Japan’s national sport ... Pachinko machines colonise whole high-rise buildings like mechanical spores, and players remain biologically attached to their machines for hours on end. ibid.
But while pachinko is gambling, it is in fact strictly legal and has an annual turnover estimated at about £300 billion, twice the value of the entire Japanese automobile industry, and somewhere in the region of the total global narcotics market! ibid.
The yakuza are combating their recruitment difficulties provoked by an ageing society and the declining prestige of their organisation by subcontracting Chinese groups to carry out the least attractive and riskiest part of the business. ibid
As feudal Japan enjoys peace, the samurai era is waning. But this fragile calm is threatened by the growing power of Lord Naritsugu, the Shogun’s sadistic younger brother. 13 Assassins 2010 starring Kōji Yakusho & Takayuki Yamada & Yūsuke Iseya & Gorō Inagaki & Masachika Ichimura & Mikijirō Hira et al, director Takashi Miike
Lord Naritsugu was born with a vicious nature. His lust for flesh and dishonourable conduct cannot be pardoned. ibid.
My son and his new bride slain before my very eyes. This is torture. Rather than living in disgrace, I ponder hara-kiri. ibid. dude
He who values his life, died a dog’s death. ibid. Shinzaemon
With twelve men challenging a bigger enemy, no matter how much we plan, we must have faith in luck. ibid. Shinzaemon
We are nobodies. ibid. Samurai
Twelve men can never defeat two hundred. ibid. Samurai
With death comes gratitude for life. ibid. Lord Naritsugu
Ours is not to wonder why. Ours is to obey our fate and die. ibid. Hanbei
Being a samurai is truly a burden. ibid. Lord Naritsugu
People may not be what they seem; it’s dangerous. Sanjuro 1962 starring Toshiro Mifune & Tatsuya Nakadai & Yuzo Kayama & Takako Irie & Reiko Dan & Takashi Shimura et al, director Akira Kurosawa, Sanjuro
Killing people on the slightest pretext is a bad habit. ibid. woman in barn
My name is Isamu Okita. I like fights and girls but not gambling. Street Mobster [Gendai yakuza: hito-kiri yota] 1972 starring Bunta Sugawara & Noboru Ando & Mayumi Nagisa & Asao Koike & Noboru Mitani & Nobuo Yana & Hideo Murota & Asao Uchida et al, director Kinji Fukasaku
Don’t depend on a gangster. Get what you want with your own hands. ibid. hero
In the end we joined the Yato gang. ibid.
An underdog forgets how to bite the enemy. ibid.
Give some water to the three punks. Dragnet Girl 1933 starring Kinuyo Tanaka & Joji Oka & Sumiko Mizukubo & Koji Mitsui & Yumeko Aizome & Yoshio Takayama & Koji Naga & Yasuo Nanjo et al, director Yasujiro Ozu
Just relax. In the future I’ll make at least 20 Yen per fight. I’ll get 15 Yen even if I lose. ibid. brother to sister