5 Books About Yakuza In Japenese History

The Yakuza are members of a Japanese crime syndicate founded in the 17th century during the mid-Edo period. They are a very powerful and violent Mafia-style group. The Yakuza means good for nothing. But the Yakuza can be traced to two main groups, which originated primarily from the Kyushu Islands: Tekia and Bakuto.

The Tekia were peddlers are traders of illicit goods. The Bakuto were gamblers and were largely involved in gambling houses. The name Yakuza was associated with Bakuto. At first, these gangs were seen merely as a dishonest group of delinquents who sold fake and shoddy goods. If you want to read books on Yakuza, keep scrolling!

5 Books About Yakuza (International Mystery & Crime)

Yakuza is a famous character that the Japanese remind it all time. Many movies, games, and books about Yakuza are available online or offline platforms. As a Yakuza fan or reader, you can know more about Japanese culture, myth, mentality, people, behavior, etc. Also, you can learn about the history of Japan at that time. So let’s know about them by reviewing 5 popular books about Yakuza.

1. Tokyo Vice

If you like Japanese culture, you’re going to like this book. The story begins with the author Jake Adelstein who is an investigative journalist. He went to university in Japan and set an entrance exam to work for the Yamauchi Shimbun. It is one of the newspapers in Japan that is very highly regarded. Jake Adelstein was an American who made his way up the ranks in a very competitive industry, Japanese journalism.

Essentially, he worked covering crime and things associated with the police departments. He started off working in an outlying prefecture outside of Tokyo. He then slowly worked his way into working with the top guns of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

Adelstein added many crime lists, and there was one shooting death, and the person killed was the Yakuza boss. Yakuza was a gangster group that created much chaos and hipe. Adelstein covered organized crime tasks, force theft, and public security. The thing about Japan is, and he makes this brief, is there’s not a lot of crime in Japan, but there’s enough crime if you’re covering it. What are the relationships between the Yakuza and the police? What are the relationships between Yakuza police and reporter?

Tokyo Vice

Author: Jake Adelstein
Average Customer Review: (4.5 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: Biographies of Journalists, General Japan Travel Guides
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

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2. Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld

I have read a lot about Japanese history, mythology, anything from the Yakuza to the modern government to all kinds of books about the general Japanese mindset about different social issues. It is one of my favorite books because of its great pacing. It approaches its subject matter and tries to incorporate all elements of it. The book focuses on the inner workings of this organization, how everything is structured, and the history of the mechanics of how it is incorporated into Japanese society.

It’s a very engaging read. It tries to present every angle of its subject matter rather than focusing strictly on one area. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll read some narrower, focused books. Go ahead and pick this one up. This book is the expanded edition. If you are interested in the historical aspect or even the Yakuza series of videogames from Sega, this book is for you.

Japan's Criminal Underworld

Author: David E. Kaplan
Average Customer Review: (4.5 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: History of Japan
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

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3. Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter

This book is subtitled Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter. It’s by Shockoe Tendo, the daughter of a Yakuza boss. It’s an autobiography. So therefore, it is nonfiction. It starts with when she was a child and how school members picked on her because her father was the boss of one of the Yakuza gangs. Yakuza refers to all gangs, particularly organized crime in Japan, for those unaware. So it doesn’t necessarily refer to one body but refers to several parts encompassed by one term.

It occurred with every single family with their primary income source focused on gang activity. What ends up happening is that her father loses a lot of their money. He has to borrow from loan sharks because the banks won’t grant him the loan. Mahima is one of the individuals who is a Yakuza and bad-hearted.

So the girl is forced into this type of lifestyle. Then, with her sister Mochis’s influence, she becomes a Yankee, a punk rock kid, dyes her hair blonde, gets involved in using drugs. She needs a mansion that she thinks she loves that he’s married. It seems that she’s picking up many different misfortunes, and none of it’s her fault.

This book reflects the problematic aspects that helped build the type of person she is now. It talks about why a good girl gets the entire body or the full-back tattoo and the suit. Many people refer to it as she talks about why she uses drugs, which taught her the things that have helped her evolve.

Yakuza Moon

Author: Shoko Tendo
Average Customer Review: (4.4 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: Asian & Asian Americans Biographies, Violence in Society
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

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4. The Yakuza Path: Blood Stained Tea

The story starts with a Yakuza guy with a tea house where he serves tea and does illegal gambling. The reasons why he’s no longer part of the Yakuza are quite dark. He is a fascinating character, and he has his moments when he’s incredibly kind and dedicated to protecting the city he lives in.

Also, he’s almost obsessed with keeping the old traditions of Kyoto and the Alkozai in general. Then he gets these extremely violent stacks, which are sometimes motivated by good intentions. The goodness in his heart and the pain he can inflict are quite conflicting because he falls in love with another mobster. But he’s not part of the Yakuza. He’s part of the Korean mob trying to take over Kyoto. So, it isn’t very easy.

There are nice nudges to remind you what’s been going on, but there’s not a huge recap. The first chapter rewinds everything that’s happened in the previous books. You will find the transition is flawless, seamless, and you can continue reading the stories. The protagonist’s character is fantastic, and the supporting cast is interesting. You should read the series, especially if you like mysteries and monsters.

The Yakuza Path

Author: Amy Tasukada
Average Customer Review: (4.0 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: International Mystery & Crime, Asian Literature
Available: Paperback | Kindle

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5. Wild Ones

The main character is Satchi Walker, and she is about 15 when the story starts. At the beginning of the story, she’s been orphaned, and her grandfather comes and offers to take care of her. This comes to a surprise Satchi for two reasons. One being her grandfather’s extra life. She did not exist in poorness. Then two, he is a Yakuza boss. For safety reasons, Satchi has a bodyguard, and his name is Khutor. It’s pictured here in a very seductive. He has a habit of smiling when he says something threatening.

A few instances show characters in undress, nothing like hoodies or anything for humor. But if somebody reads over your shoulder while you’re looking at this panel, an awkward conversation ensues. So I’m letting you know they’re on the bright side of things.

I especially enjoyed how the multicar portrayed the Yakuza members because they looked sufficiently frightening and simultaneously endearing. There are a few side notes to finish things up and pull it together in a bit of a bow. It is a completed manga with about ten volumes, and it is licensed in English.

Wild Ones

Author: Kiyo Fujiwara
Average Customer Review: (4.9 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: Teen & Young Adult Manga
Available: Paperback | Kindle

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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