The Yakuza is Quietly Helping Earthquake Victims in Japan

The Japanese are just a different breed altogether. Not only was there very little looting after the big earthquake and tsunami, their mafia groups are now also helping out with the relief effort!

Hours after the first shock waves hit, two of the largest crime groups went into action, opening their offices to those stranded in Tokyo, and shipping food, water, and blankets to the devastated areas in two-ton trucks and whatever vehicles they could get moving.

The day after the earthquake the Inagawa-kai (the third largest organized crime group in Japan which was founded in 1948) sent twenty-five four-ton trucks filled with paper diapers, instant ramen, batteries, flashlights, drinks, and the essentials of daily life to the Tohoku region.

An executive in Sumiyoshi-kai, the second-largest crime group, even offered refuge to members of the foreign community—something unheard of in a still slightly xenophobic nation, especially amongst the right-wing yakuza.

The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime group, under the leadership of Tadashi Irie, has also opened its offices across the country to the public and been sending truckloads of supplies, but very quietly and without any fanfare.


I was quite impressed with how orderly the Japanese people were after the devastation faced by their current situation...

impressed, but more saddened with the realisation that if this event had taken place in the USA or even Australia I seriously doubt our country men would handle a similar situation with such calm, polite and orderly manner.

I am not sure what is wrong with the West and our "me, me, me" mentality but the western worlds should be learning more from the Japanese about being decent to one another during times of crisis.

Think back to Katrina and the farce that this event turned out to be.. riots, beatings and murder...

It may be the land of the free, but decency and fairness are taking a back seat to profit and greed.
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This isn't necessarily altruism for its own sake. After all, you can't make money from extortion and drug sales if your primary clientele is dead or more concerned about issues of day-to-day survival.
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the Japanese society still has a strong honor code with in it.

in western civilizations, that earthquake would have been closer to a zombie apocalypse: take whatever you want cuz it doesn't matter anymore, it's yours.

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Good lord, their society is struggling enough without having to turn this into a referendum on which culture is 'better' or not. They're a first world country dealing with a horrific disaster. They have their own positives and negatives as a society, and they're no better or worse as people than anyone else. To take their reactions and issue the blanket statement that the west is overrated shows nothing about the situation, only an already ingrained bias on the part of the commenter.
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You'll find that during the recent floods and hurricane Yasi, Australians were bending over backwards to help one another. Many whose homes were badly damaged but survived shared/gave away all of their own food and clothes to those who lost everything. People risked their lives to save total strangers ane even others' pets from being washed away. After the disaster, many volunteered to help rebuild the destroyed homes. There were a few isolated cases of looting (most of whom were caught) and no doubt there will be some cases in Japan too.

The Japanese are conducting themselves most honourably during this tragedy but this is no reason to cast a judgemental blanket over the entire west based on 1 example from the US.
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Uh, there have been plenty of disasters in the good ol' U S of A in which people acted in a civil non-riotous, non-looting way. Those don't garner the headlines. Please don't make this an East/West culture thing.

The giant fires down in southern California, were actually much more orderly affairs. I've been in floods, and I don't remember any looting or riots.
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new orleans is a bad example to compare it to. like someone mentioned before, look at how SoCal handled their disaster. wa slike night and day. it was "we want help now" compared to "what can i do to help" attitudes.
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@ted: It may be a bit of an oversimplification, but it's not a distorted stereotype of the Japanese culture.

Of course there have been "western" disasters that were calm and orderly afterward, but I don't think that's the point here. The Yakuza are a uniquely Japanese cultural institution. They may do awful things to one another and extort businesses in certain areas, but they're still fascinating and unlike any other organized crime group. Almost all of their syndicates have newsletters that quite literally have "tips" on how to be a better Yakuza member. One of the newsletters from Inagawa-kai (I believe) even had the request "Please do not inconvenience members of the public by handing out business cards while on assignment."

Another interesting fact: The Yakuza are one of two groups in Japan that buy large American cars (think Cadillacs). The other one? Dentists.
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The Japanese, unlike many other countries, are very well prepared for disasters such as this. Yes, even this one. It's part of their infrastructure, so it's not like looting was even necessary. People are conditioned to trust that supplies will get to them. (And they have). Furthermore, when I was in Japan there was one thing I learned: security is very, very tight. It's almost a police state. Even in the chaos of an earth quake, looting would be tricky to pull off. I'm always creeped out by the racist "Asians are just superior people" unlike "some others who shall remain nameless." If you believe that then please do some research on war crimes during WWII. While the altruism and courage people have shown is outstanding, that doesn't mean that victims of other disasters are sinister ne'er do wells. It means we need to have better preparedness.
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What a shame. That the Yakuza are helping is noble; that commenters use this as another chance to drag out and kick the US is ignoble.

The fact is that humans tend to help each other in times of great upheaval and uncertainty. This is not a Japan thing; this is a human thing. We are hard wired as social creatures, and this is most evident when life turned upside down.

A few Malthusians may point out Katrina, but I would counter that those people had been preconditioned by years of dependency on the state; distorted away from natural behavior by dependency, and the propaganda of entitlement.

People are inherently this good. Were it not so, we would not be where we are.
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@Katy: calling Japan "almost a police state" is just ridiculous. I find difficult to name countries that have more respect for their citizens rights.
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