According to “Japan Today”, the Japanese Yakuza have now entered the online dating industry.
Yep, that’s right: the Yakuza (the guys without pinky fingers) are now running their own online dating scams. The Yakuza is Japanese organized crime, so you can imagine their internet dating sites aren’t going to be on the up-and-up.
Yakuza Online Dating Sites
On these Yakuza online dating sites, a Japanese man signs up and gets to know some young Japanese lady over the internet. The scam is the dating website or marriage website claims it will set these men up with a match, but they have their females keeps stringing men along, eventually milking them for millions of yen. Generally, these online dating scams go on “up to the line” that men will not report these marriage scams to the Japanese authorites – that is, rob them of only a certain amount of money, expecting the Japanese single men won’t want to go through the embarrassment of reporting the online dating scam.
Yakuza Online Marriage Sites
Another scam the Yakuza uses is to have a woman pretend to be agreeing to an arranged marriage through a mail-order-bride type internet set and meet the man, taking as much money from him as she can. After a time, she backs out of the marriage, saying it doesn’t feel right.
So the yakuza website offers to match the man up with another potential bride – and this scam continues until the single man either runs out of money, runs out of patience or figures out the online marriage scam.
Online Mail-Order-Brides and Organized Crime
Obviously, this isn’t the first time that organized crime syndicates have gotten into mail-order-brides. Many of the Russian mail-order-bride sites of the past ten years are likely to have had Russian mob elements involved on some level. And organized crime has no doubt used the internet for all kinds of scams and criminal activities over the years. But this is the first time I’ve heard of the yakuza running its own dating website.
For the English-speaking Japanese men or foreign men living in Japan and who want to read about online dating on our site, I thought I would include a warning about the latest online dating scams coming out of Japan. This probably won’t be the last.
About the Yakuza
For those English-speaking online singles who aren’t that familiar with the Yakuza, the Yakuza are the organized crime syndicates of Japan. The Yakuza are also known as the Gokudo or “violence gangs”. Their word “yakuza” comes from three Japanese numbers “ya”, “ku” and “za” (8, 9 and 3). When these three numbers are drawn in the Japanese gambling game, Oicho-Kabu, you lose. Therefore, “ya-ku-za” is a term for something that worthless, which is how law-abiding citizens of Japan see the Yakuza: worthless people.
The Yakuza are, therefore, the outsiders and criminals of Japanese society. To identify themselves with their “gumi” or family (crime family), Yakuza tend to mark themselves with tattoos. Therefore, tattoos in Japan often carry a social stigma that the person is likely involved in criminal activities or is otherwise a worthless person.
In Yakuza lore, those Yakuza members who dishonor or offend their criminal fathers (oyabun) will sometimes cut off their pinkie finger and hand it to their leader. If they show no pain when doing so, the Yakuza member might be forgiven for the offense. If not, the sign of penance is not accepted. Cutting off one’s pinky finger has a specific meaning, as it dates back to a time where losing one’s finger would diminish one’s fighting skill with a sword.
The Yakuza are a relatively recent network in Japan, dating back to the U.S. occupation of Japan in the years immediately following World War II (1945-1955). In those years, a thriving black market existed, and the yakuza sprung up to take advantage of and control this black market.
These yakuza gangs generally came from the so-called barakumin – those people descended from traditional outsiders in Japanese society. These people were generally from professions considered unclean, like undertakers, tanners and executioners (those who dealt with “death” in all its forms). Foreigners, especially Koreans, are also traditionally drawn to organized crime, because they are also outsiders.
Today, there are numerous powerful Japanese crime syndicates, such as the Yamaguchi-gumi and Sumiyoshi-rengo, have expanded throughout Japan. Crime syndicates like the Yamaguchi-gumi even have operations overseas, and even direct Yakuza criminal activities in certain spots of the United States.
The Yakuza tend to have both legitimate and illegal sources of income. Yakuza are thought to be involved in Japanese gambling, drug trafficking, prostitution (water trade), hostess bars and protection rackets. Yakuza might combine these activities with real estate concerns, banking and financing, and connections to Japanese corporations. In fact, Yakuza like to align themselves with right-wing political groups and portray themselves as loyal nationalists.
Yakuza also portray themselves as defenders of the poor and common man, dispensing true justice when the government or local authorities fail people. Yakuza claim they only kill other yakuza, and portray themselves as either working for the common men or Japan’s modern cowboys. This hardly jibes with the facts, as yakuza tend to prey on the weak and poor as much (or more) than the rich and powerful.
Yakuza Online Dating
Now, they Yakuza has gotten into the online dating websites. I guess it was only a matter of time. I just wonder why they can’t simply run a legitimate internet dating site.