70% of Mikoshi Groups in Sanja Matsuri Controlled by Yakuza

The Sanja Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, attracting millions of visitors every year, but a lot of people probably don’t realize just how deep the yakuza-Sanja connection is. According to an article in the Asahi Shinbun Newspaper, some 70 percent of the groups that participate in the festival are controlled by yakuza. After an incident a couple of years ago in which a man paid money to a yakuza gang to be allowed to ride on top of a mikoshi (in violation of the festival’s rules, and apparently an act of sacrilege), the police investigated 30 some-odd groups of local residents who carry mikoshi. They found that  more than 20 of them were headed up by members of yakuza syndicates.

The festival is apparently a source of funds for the yakuza groups, who siphon off money from the associations, as well as being an opportunity to do some PR work. Most of the yakuza come from the Yamaguchi-gumi or the Sumiyoshi-kai. The original article is here: http://zara1.seesaa.net/article/47720543.html.

I’ve seen the one openly-yakuza mikoshi group before, but I never noticed that they have the name of their gang, the “takahashi-gumi” and “godaime” (fifth generation [of the gang]) written right on the front of their jackets.

The theme of today’s photos is “happy yakuza.”

happy yaks

happy yaks2

festival yaks 4


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2 Responses to “70% of Mikoshi Groups in Sanja Matsuri Controlled by Yakuza”

  1. freedomwv Says:

    To show your tats in Japan in such a public way can only mean you are packing some power or you are trying to start some shit. I have a few tats but I rarely expose them to the public eye.

  2. Inkt en wetten – nielsenanne Says:

    […] mikoshi worden op zo’n dag door de zich over het gebied verspreide menigte geduwd. Hoewel het schijnbaar zo is dat veel van de groepjes in de zak van de yakuza zitten en we her en der wat koppen zagen die […]


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