Everyone definitely has some kind of perception regarding gangs and the Mafia, but in most cases it is based on movies or books. Very few among us have witnessed or participated in activities that demonstrate the true face of being a thug or a gangster. Sometimes, the romantic or heroic interpretation of these people cannot be further from the truth.
One of the most notorious crime organizations in the world is the Yakuza. They are known for their strict codes and hierarchy, as well as for the fact that most of the high rank members are engaged in legitimate business.
This is exactly the case with Shouta. He has a normal and legal business running a successful Macau casino.
But being a businessman is not his only role. As a Yakuza, he is often assigned to “remove” someone—the Yakuza prefers to call an assassination a mark.
Shouta is the main character in an astonishing brand new production—the “Black Business: Modern Day Yakuza” documentary. The film aims to reveal in detail what it takes to work for one of the biggest crime syndicates in the world.
The first thing you read on the screen suggests that you should toss your perception of Japan in the trash bin because the country is not all about immaculate customer service and smiley faces.
Next, an image of Shouta holding a cigarette is shown, and the host asks him if he ever had to kill someone during his time as a Yakuza. He replied in a calm manner that he does not kill people, but “removes” them instead. Some situations and problems can only be solved using the “removal” approach. He added that “removing” in this particular sense of the word does not equal firing someone from a job.
A little later in the movie, Shouta says that one the main things that can describe the business is the lack of hesitation when taking an appropriate action if a problem occurs.
Luke Huxham is the documentary’s director. He lives near Tokyo.
It is estimated that the Yakuza has roughly a hundred thousand members, and they are separated into multiple gangs across Japan.
In the nine-minute documentary, Shouta—who is still in his 30’s—says that being a Yakuza is not some random choice; instead, it is a family tradition. His father and a loyal friend of his father were Yakuza as well.
Being a troublesome kid in school, Shouta’s parents decided to send him to study in America. Now, he says he has an interest in some businesses, and this is why he often travels between Asia and the US.
The Yakuza make their money mostly from stockbroking, real estate, and prostitution, but Shouta says that they are now focusing on lending money and collecting the interest, and this business takes place even outside Japan’s borders. He also speaks about how corrupt the country’s government and police forces are, adding that maybe the Yakuza have contributed to this reality. He added that the Yakuza always have someone to rely on among the higher-ranking police officers, or even within the political parties.
By the end of the documentary, Shouta says that he does not feel any guilt about his Yakuza role and for the things he had done. Everything is just business to him, nothing more.
Luke Huxham was asked if Shouta was a fictional character and everything he said was actually legit and was all real. He neither confirmed, nor denied; every viewer must decide independently what to believe after watching the production.
The director has some experience shooting such short documentaries. Less than a year ago, he directed another similar documentary for the underworld of Japan called “Underground Hero: Love To Hate Me”, where the main focus was on a Lamborghini fan.
The two documentaries have the same producer, which is named Maiham Media. The company stated in their YouTube account that the familiar face of Japan consists of technology, temples, geisha, sushi, and attention to detail in customer service. However, they insisted that one of the less-known faces of the country is represented by the Yakuza, which they call “Black Business”.
The producers add that the Japanese crime syndicate does not consist of thugs and criminals, but rather of international businessman who use a combination of knowledge, money, and persuasion to achieve their behind-the-scenes business—both in and outside Japan.
Another distinctive feature of the Yakuza that this documentary shows is the low threat the organization poses to the normal people. The members act polite and seem calm and talkative; however, they are ruthless and calculate everything well in order to be able have a better position.