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Yakuza Documentary

Yakuza Documentary: Five Must-Watch Yakuza Documentaries

In this article, we'll explore the underground world of the Japanese mafia through the top 5 Yakuza documentaries

Intro: Yakuza Documentaries

The Yakuza is a popular figure in Japanese comic books and movies. They are sinister gangsters with severed little fingers and elaborate tattoos. They originated during the Tokugawa Shogunate with separate outcast groups: tekiya and bakuto. They are also referred to as the Japanese mafia, one of the world’s powerful mafias. 

The police exert extra effort to suppress yakuza activities in the country these days, and they decrease in number as the years pass by, but it tends they will not disappear entirely. After all, they have survived for over 300 years and are closely entwined with different aspects of Japanese culture and society.

If you are curious about the Yakuza and want to learn more about them, watch the documentaries about Yakuza below:

1. Twilight Of The Yakuza -  Yakuza Documentary

This yakuza documentary talks about Japan’s organized crime syndicates as a dying breed. The Japanese government has launched a large-scale crackdown since 1992 to eradicate them, and their members are aging. The documentary gives a brief introduction about who are the Yakuza. It also answers if they can be considered evil in the country or cancer of the nation if they have among the lowest crime rates today. 

2. Death of the Yakuza - National Geographic Yakuza Documentary

This yakuza gang documentary was released in 2015 and discussed some of the group’s vast history and strict code. It touches on the yakuza life, where some members were interviewed to share their stories. The tattoos of the members are also highlighted. It shows that art is also a critical part of their existence. 

3. The Fall of the Yakuza - Yakuza Documentary

In the last ten years, a highly restrictive anti-yakuza legislation made yakuza members’ lives dysfunctional with modern-day Japan. The Fall of the Yakuza is a fascinating documentary. Mahmood Fazal explores Japan to meet with former and current yakuza members to know what happens to those who try to leave the group. He also investigates what keeps other members to stay despite the fact that new laws are targeting them. Plus, some of them are aging and cannot find new members. 

4. Japan’s most violent biker gang - Yakuza Gang Documentary

This yakuza gang documentary tells a story about the most violent biker gang in Japan: Bozozuku. The gang has a violent history, including their fights against the cops and rival crews. Gang members are known to roam the highways with customized bikes and various brutal weaponry wearing distinct jumpsuits. The documentary lets the viewers enter the world of Bosozuku and discover their lifestyle. 

5. Japan's Traditional Tattoos Are Celebrated at This Underground Pilgrimage - Yakuza Tattoo Documentary

This yakuza tattoo documentary focuses on horimono, a centuries-old tattoo art and a fundamental part of Japanese culture. Since tattoos are associated with gangs, they are stigmatized by society. The documentary also highlights a pilgrimage, where Japanese people go to the mountains to celebrate their tattoos every summer.

Yakuza Documentaries: Conclusions

Did you enjoy this list of documentaries about the Japanese Yakuza? Don’t forget to share!

Picture credits: @hfeandcostudio on Unsplash

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