"As Joseph Castellano… put it, 'What is a Gambino crime family?… Does this Gambino crime family have an office? Does the office have a plaque on the door that says, “Gambino crime family?”' In Japan, the answers would be, in reverse order, ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘read our rules and creed.’"
— The Dark Side of Private Ordering
Japanese mobsters, often called "the Japanese Mafia
" in Greater Europe, and euphemistically "anti-social organizations" and "violent groups" by native folks. The term refers solely to the members of crime organizations, not to the organizations themselves, which may take many different names. The yakuza insist that their organizations originated in Robin Hood
-style outlaw groups and vigilante groups during Japan's feudal era, but scholars believe that they are in fact descended from roving bands of Ronin
who harassed and extorted the local peasantry.
Not that these are mutually exclusive descriptions
, though. Tired of robbing the penniless peasants, these Ronin bands often gravitated towards more affluent cities, where they sought employment as a hired muscle
. There they mingled with and frequently joined, local urban self-defense groups and mutual help societies, and this is where their claim of the service to society
comes from. The fact that these groups were often indistinguishable from the petty gangs
is usually blissfully ignored. The modern descendants of such gangs are the very Yakuza groups that are discussed here. Today some 70% of the Yakuza come from burakumin
background and 10% of the yakuza members are ethnic Koreans
(despite Koreans making up about 0.5% of the Japanese population).
There is an alternate hypothesis of their origin as descendants of legitimate organizations of tekiya (peddlers of shady or stolen goods), whose leaders were granted permission to carry swords by the Edo government. And less than legitimate organizations of gamblers, the term ya-ku-za even comes from the card game Oicho-Kabu
Yakuza resemble The Mafia
in that they are very organized crime syndicates, with strict codes of behavior and etiquette, and encompass many levels of ritual and formality. Unlike the Mafia and the Chinese Triads, though, they are not secret societies, and often operate openly, even so far as to maintain offices and carry business cards. Like their Western counterparts, though, they derive most of their profit from extortion, protection rackets, human trafficking, and the like. Yakuza like to maintain that they provide a service to the community, which in return owes them both respect and money. A consequence of being ultra-violent while maintaining a strict honor code is that in fiction they sometimes get to have samurai
traits, or at least katana.
The stereotyped yakuza character matches the real-world profile fairly closely: he is heavily tattooed
(so identified with delinquency that many bathhouses forbid people with tattoos on the premises), male, and may be missing a finger
(either as a loyalty test or as punishment, one reason Four-Fingered Hands
are rarely seen in Japanese media). He wears an expensive suit
and dark sunglasses
, and walks with a distinctive swagger that announces his profession. While he claims a benign interest in the community, he is as likely to be as violent and destructive as his Western counterpart, especially if he feels he is not receiving the respect he deserves.
Yakuza are so prominent in Japanese culture that they have even spawned an entire genre of films which are as distinct from western gangster films as the yakuza are from western gangsters. While many of these films are little known in the west, movies like Tokyo Drifter
and Battles Without Honor and Humanity
pioneered many tropes that western audiences have since come to associate with martial arts and action pictures, and their influence can be detected in productions as diverse as Kill Bill
and Cowboy Bebop
Female yakuza are very rare in the male-dominated Japanese society, but if one appears, she is either a Dragon Lady
or the boss's daughter
. A Yakuza princess is typically fully aware of her families' business activities and may even support them.
As Japan Takes Over the World
is quite typical for the genre, expect Yakuza to to appear quite often in most cyberpunk fiction.
See also The Mafia
(and its Russian cousin The Mafiya
), The Irish Mob
, The Triads and the Tongs
, The Cartel
, The Syndicate
, Mafia Princess
And then there's also the film The Yakuza
and the videogame Yakuza
, also known as Ryu Ga Gotoku
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Anime & Manga
- The final arc of the second season of Black Lagoon, "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise," centers around a war between two rival yakuza groups triggered by the death of one of their bosses, a war that Russian mob boss Balalaika wants to use to gain a foothold in the Japanese underworld. The yakuza, as befitting of the show's tendency to play every mafia movie cliche in the book to the hilt, but unfortunately for them, Balalaika is a Magnificent Bitch and doesn't play by their rules. And then, Rock and Revy meet up with Yukio Washimine, the girl who is about to become the leader of one of these groups... yeah, it doesn't end well.
- In Blood+, Mao Yahana's unseen father is a Yakuza; she steals money from him so she can afford to follow the heroes all over the world.
- Yakuza show up a few times in Darker Than Black, but mostly just wind up getting beaten senseless in large numbers.
- Acid Town centers around the interactions between several Yakuza gangs and a Chinese "pseudo-yakuza" gang as one of its main plots. Nearly everyone in the story is Yakuza or connected to someone who is, which is part of what makes the setting a Crapsack World.
- In one episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sousuke helps strengthen one group, the Mikihara-gumi (whose boss is Ren's dad), against the predations of another group, the Ryujin-kai. By giving them Training from Hell and equipping them with weapons and military-grade powered armor/Bonta-kun replica costumes. Yes, you read that right. For bonus points, Sousuke goes through the training in his Bonta-kun armor (i.e. through most of the episode), with Kaname acting as his "translator".
- In Gantz, two Yakuza are among the first group of hunters.
- The main character of Gokusen is a schoolteacher whose coworkers do not know she is the granddaughter of a powerful oyabun (yakuza boss).
- The "very nice men" that start the plot of Hayate the Combat Butler. Ironically enough, they are more honorable than Hayate's Parents themselves.
- Given that Section 9 works for Interior Security, yakuza don't make many appearances in Ghost in the Shell, usually only in the role of supplying real terrorists with illegal goods. They feature more prominently in Innocence, but appear as nothing but a gang of regular thugs.
- Bleach has 7th Squad lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba, who is patterned after a yakuza, complete with shades and the tattoo taking up most of his back space.
- As president of the Shinigami Man's Association, he seems to have carried this trait over to a degree. Meetings of the association consist of the various male lieutenants wearing similar glasses and leaving their haori draped open across their shoulders.
- There are two Yakuza girls in Kujibiki Unbalance and while one is a rough tomboy cardshark, the other is an ojou Kid Samurai with a katana.
- Love Mode: Reiji Aoi is tall, dark, and, at least once, mistaken for yakuza. The fact that his business include a variety of shady businesses probably doesn't help matters much.
- Somuku Kanou in Okane Ga Nai runs a yakuza-approved Loan Shark business in Shinjuku.
- Ritsu Kasanoda of Ouran High School Host Club is apparently a young yakuza boss. Also in the episode introducing Renge, she drags two students that are of Yakuza families to play the role of baddies in her elaborate movie of the Host Club.
- In the Paranoia Agent episode "A Man's Path", a corrupt policeman goes to desperate lengths to pay his debts to the Yakuza.
- The mythical permutation of Yakuza is seen in a Yojimbo inspired episode of Samurai Champloo, in which one Yakuza family is presented as being run by a kindly and benevolent patriarch who created the organization to be a refuge for social outcasts. On the other hand, the opposing group were common thugs, and this type of Yakuza sometimes shows up as the villain of the episode (i.e. the sex slavery ring was implicitly run by them, given the reference to one mook losing a finger if guilty of further incompetence).
- In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, one of the teachers at the school is shown to have a Yakuza tattoo on his back, which freaks the protagonist teacher out. One episode shows the main characters trying to avoid being caught doing something embarrassing which can be photographed and used to shame them. Said teacher is shown having the ability to deftly avoid any camera which tries to photograph him.
- About half the main cast of Seto no Hanayome, including the heroine, are yakuza mermaids. Being a light comedy, they're played positively enough to be samurai-ish; they have a few swordspersons around, and San uses a Japanese pun to riff on 'chivalry'.They never do anything Yakuza-ish because they're too busy screwing up Nagasumi's life.
- Episode 7 of Trapeze deals with a yakuza member who has a phobia of sharp objects and eventually starts wearing ski goggles to protect his eyes.
- Yakuza-apparent are mooks in the Mai-HiME Destiny light novel series.
- Though it's not openly mentioned, Sei from Burst Angel is implied to be a yakuza leader, or at least a Yakuza Princess.
- Sanctuary combines Yakuza with the Government Procedural, with its two Magnificent Bastard heroes — an up-and-coming Yakuza leader and a junior member of the Japanese parliament — working together to remake Japanese society from the top down and bottom up.
- Akagi deals with illegal gambling in post-WWII Japan, Yakuza included.
- Gungrave - tale of unrequited romance & mafia "friendship"...and stars an undead cowboy assassin who can only function if filled with blood.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: Although taking place in Japan, they originate in Italy. note However, shortly after Dino's introduced they pretend Tsuna's been kidnapped by a Yakuza gang, and the name Reborn gives Gokudera and Yamamoto is a real Yakuza... who the two proceed to beat up looking for their boss ("What'd you do with Jyudaime?!")
- All of Tokyo Crazy Paradise is centered around the Yakuza- more specifically their young leader Ryuji and his female bodyguard Tsukasa.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke's mom, Atsuko Urameshi, has some kind of... connections, shall we say... with the local yakuza. Specifically, she gets her buddies to intimidate Yusuke's principal into letting him back into school after he comes back to life. The anime version Bowdlerised this away.
- There's a big organization of them, the Jugondou, in Ga-Rei. They even have supernatural ties, including connections in...Transylvania?
- Yakitate Japan has a baking battle to determine the successor to a Yakuza family.
- In Tekkon Kinkreet, the yakuza act as unwelcome agents of change in Treasure Town.
- Kagetora from Psyren is a yakuza, from the outfit to the sunglasses to the manner of speech. Rather than tattoos, his body is heavily scarred from fighting.
- Otaha of Karas was a yakuza enforcer before he got killed and turned into Karas.
- Kochikame: Goshogawara is the boss of a family of Yakuza who don't do anything. Well, they do look out for Sailor Moon collectibles for their boss.
- Ichi the Killer: just about every character; the majority are actively in an organization, others are either ex-yakuza or had/have some other 'professional' connection with them.
- In one episode of Durarara!!, the reporter goes to some of them to ask about the strongest man in Ikebukuro, and there's some discussion about how they have business in the area but stay out-of-sight unless the various delinquent wars get so bad that they need to intervene.
- One particular Yakuza group, Awakusu-Kai, becomes a lot more prominent in the later Light Novels when Izaya exploits some in-fighting and frames Shizuo for the murder of three of their men.
- Underneath all of the Science Fiction and Western trappings Cowboy Bebop is essentially a classic Yakuza story, pitting a "noble" yakuza (Spike) against a "nihilist" yakuza (Vicious)
- In Holyland, Yuu's Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Shinichi is attacked extends to attacking drug pushers, which leads to one of these telling Masaki to put a lid on Yuu's activities lest the latter wants their attention. Later on, he shows up again to tell Masaki to do something about the teen gangs pushing Shiromon/True before the adults have to get involved.
- The seme in Kazuma Kodaka's Kizuna, Kei Enjouji, is the Heroic Bastard of a Yakuza boss, and has the perfect Yakuza looks except for the tattoo. Enjouji himself didn't know about this until his mother died and he got a letter telling him the truth. His heritage bites him badly once when some mooks run over his uke, Ranmaru, when they were actually trying to kill Enjouji and Ranmaru pulled a Diving Save for him.
- For worse, one of Kei's rivals for Ranmaru's love is his half-brother Kai Sagano, the legitimate heir to their Yakuza clan. And then he starts falling for his bodyguard, a rather Bad Ass Yakuza guy named Masanori Araki, who has been his caretaker ever since Kai was a child. Your mileage will HEAVILY vary on his being Squick or not.
- The erotic-comedy Dance till Tomorrow has some pretty funny scenes when the main character discovers his theater troupe is practicing in an office building shared by Yakuza. After accidently disrespecting their boss, they manage to placate him by offering half-price tickets to their next play. Hijinks Ensue when he shows up with ten other serious-looking Yakuzas, scaring the actors so bad most of them forget their lines. While remaining totally stoic during the play, the boss tells them afterward he found it hilarious. So much so that he winds up attending every showing. He later becomes a casual acquaintance of the protagonist, at one point helping him collect debts from people by using his intimidation tactics.
- The Haguro family from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest. The son of the leader, Haguro Dou, is the Big Bad.
- They make an appearance in chapter 7 of Neko-de Gomen!.
- Kanzaki in Beelzebub is the second son of the Kanzaki-gumi oyabun or family head. It allows him to abuse the other members with complete impunity while being himself a Japanese delinquent, which the Yakuza generally despise.
- In Kasei Yakyoku, the male lead Taka Itou, his younger brother Saburou and a kid named Junichirou Uchida (the brother of one of Taka's love interests) are involved with the Yakuza of The Roaring Twenties, though not entirely by choice. Taka's boss is seen on-screen, and he's a brutal Yakuza whose only sort-of soft spot is for his daughter Nami, despite having killed his own wife when she tried to cheat on him with a young Taka.
- Similarly, in Sakura Gari (which also takes places in Tokyo of The Roaring Twenties), the Yakuza forcibly recruit Masataka's beloved older brother Takafumi and get him to be in debt with them. Masataka's handsome boss Souma offers to pay for it, but only if Masataka becomes his lover. Takafumi dies when he is tortured in police custody.
- In One Piece Wanted, in the second story the main character Bran at one point come across some yakuza guys walking down the street, from whom he pickpockets a pistol he'll use later. They're depicted in the stereotypical way, one of them even has a bokuto (wooden sword) across the shoulder.
- The family that the protagonist of Stop Hibari-kun goes to live with after his mother dies is a yakuza family.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the publicity finally backfire on a Yakuza group: Homura apparently has no problem locating their headquarters and uses her Time Stands Still power to walk right in and pilfer a bunch of pistols, shotguns and ammunition.
- The mage clans in the Anime version of Kaze no Stigma are depicted using yakuza tropes with oyabun (bosses), princesses and intergenerational conflict over clan succession. It's an example of tropes as easily recognizable cultural shorthand.
- In Saint Young Men, Jesus befriends a large group of Yakuza members, partially due to their belief that he's secretly a Yakuza prince. Of course, his influence brings out the best in them. He's Jesus. Befriending outcasts and criminals is just what he does.
- In Gintama, of the Four Devas of Kabuki-cho, Jirochou is the leader of the yakuza. Some of his exchanges with his daughter have the formality and speech patterns seen in yakuza movies.
- In the Dark Knight Universe, the Joker was apparently a member (or at the very least bears a tattoo of a large red dragon on his back), as opposed to his usual depiction as having mafia ties. Probably because we already knew about Gotham's mafia (pretty much ripped from The Godfather), and the Joker had to be a wild card. (Hence the name.)
- The Yakuza are one of the many crime factions in Gotham City in the main DCU.
- They have grown into almost a symbiotic relationship with the Judges of Hondo Cit in Judge Dredd, both hating but ultimately having to relay on the other.
- The King of Hell's Kitchen has a yakuza group hopped on MGH trying to take Hell's Kitchen for them after the fall of the Kingpin. In this story, the Yakuza are played like a bunch of greedy thugs with tattoos and katanas. Daredevil wasn't amused
- In the 2014 Halloween comic for Team Fortress 2, Merasmus the magician made deals with the yakuza in order to gain funds for his Carnival of Carnage. He's already lost one finger, though, and thus is very desperate to get his carnival up and running so he can pay them back as soon as possible.
- Pretty much every single Japanese character in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
- The Bride goes after O-Ren Ishii, the queen of the Yakuza, and her personal army, the Crazy 88, in Kill Bill Part 1. The Yakuza also feature heavily in O-Ren's tragic backstory, with Boss Matsumoto and his men, who killed O-Ren's parents when she was just a little girl which prompts her rise as the Lady of War boss we meet.
- In Crows: Zero, the father of the protagonist Takaya Genji is a powerful Yakuza boss. Genji later befriends Katagiri Ken, a lowlife in a rival Yakuza organization.
- Many of Takashi Miike's films are about Yakuza, including Ichi the Killer and Gozu.
- Black Rain. The protagonist is a New York City cop who catches the renegade Yakuza Sato, but then has to recapture him once Sato escapes custody in Tokyo. Along the way he makes a deal with the much more traditional local boss to take down Sato. The boss makes a point out of the Sato's dishonourable behavior.
- The Yakuza. Right there in the title.
- A lot of Takeshi Kitano's movies feature him playing a yakuza, including Sonatine, Boiling Point, Kikujiro, Brother, and Outrage.
- Battles Without Honor and Humanity deconstructs Yakuza films in a particularly brutal way by telling the story of post-war Yakuza betraying everyone and everything for money and power. It also memorably depicts many of the traditions of the Yakuza in a less than favorable light; for example, the traditional pinky sacrifice turns into a pinky tug-of-war with a chicken.
- The Dolph Lundgren film Showdown in Little Tokyo.
- Johnny Mnemonic, based on the William Gibson short story, features the Yakuza as the primary antagonist, seeking the information stuck in Johnny's head. Takeshi Kitano slums as a Yakuza bigwig in the film.
- Predators has a Yakuza member among its cast who is mute through most of the film - not because of not speaking English, but because he already lost two fingers for talking too much.
- The Street Fighter and its sequels portray the Yakuza as the main villains.
- War features the Yakuza fighting the Triads in San Francisco.
- In the 1989 version of The Punisher, the title character has killed off so many Mafia members the Yakuza is able to take control.
- William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy contains many references to the Yakuza, which has become a major international force. In "Johnny Mnemonic," the Yakuza send a vat-grown cyborg assassin to kill the main character.
- In Charles de Lint's cyberpunk novel Svaha, the Yakuza (or, to use in-universe slang, the "yaks") are the primary antagonists — in Canada.
- In the Choose Your Own Adventure book Mystery of Ura Senke, the case's MacGuffin note is sought by many people and groups in Tokyo. One of these associations is the Yakuza, and in one of the sub-plots the Featureless Protagonist might be kidnapped by them while playing the Kid Detective role. Whether s/he gets out of there alive, it again depends on your decisions.
- Mentioned in Snow Crash. As part of his sales pitch, a Mafia recruiter points out that the Yakuza is often called the Japanese Mafia, but the Mafia is never called the Italian Yakuza.
- Time Scout's The Syndicate is composed of The Mafia, The Mafiya, and these guys. Their control of Japanese construction made them, effectively, the most powerful people in Japan. They even show up as tourists on the Time Terminal, occasionally.
- In The Man with the Red Tattoo, James Bond has to deal with a Japanese nationalist terrorist who is a "Dark Lord" of a fictiona Ryujin-kai yakuza gang.
- The Daily Show interviewed Jake Adelstein (he was also interviewed by 60 Minutes), a reporter who wrote a book about a particular Yakuza boss who was able to secure a visa to get into the US and receive a liver transplant, and then got livers for some of his friends.
- An episode of CSI: Miami revolves around the Yakuza, but for some reason insists on never using the word and instead referring to them as "Sakiru." This is the least of the errors in the episode.
- The Law & Order episode "Gaijin" involves a murder committed in New York City by the Yakuza.
- The Leverage team inadvertently ends up having to con the Yakuza when they try to shut down a sweatshop in "The Runway Job."
- A Time Trax episode deals with the Yakuza.
- Deadliest Warrior had the golden age Mafia [1920s] fight against the golden age Yakuza [post World War II].
- The Body of the Week on one episode of Quincy was an LAPD detective investigating a Yakuza group that was working out a gun buy from The Mafia. Said detective was stabbed in the heart with a tanto (a dagger shaped like a miniature katana). As luck would have it, Quincy's Japanese-American assistant Sam Fujiwara knew some people...
- A very, very Too Dumb to Live Yakuza boss is featured as the Asshole Victim in a 1000 Ways to Die segment. Basically, he performed an improvised Yubitsume on a bad karaoke singer and swallowed it whole, therefore he chokes on it... and dies when his even dumber bodyguard performs a Heimlich maneuver incorrectly on him.
- In the J-Drama version of Hana Yori Dango, Akira Mimasaka's family is related to the Yakuza.
- On one episode of the Israeli sitcom HaPijamot, the Local Hangout owner is extorted by a Yakuza member. The whole situation is Played for Laughs: the man extorting him comes in wearing stereotypical ninja clothing and says nothing but ‘Yakuza!’ when notifying the owner of the extortion with a note, and it turns out he’s actually the man dating the main female lead, Suzukinote , who doesn’t speak a word of Hebrew and communicates via impromptu origami.
- Hawaii Five-0: The Yakuza control many of the corrupt cops the team runs into, as well as the corrupt govenor, and blew up the car Steve's Mother "died" in. Adam, Kono's love interest, is the son of a Yakuza leader and was targeted when he tried to clean up his family's business and killed his brother who was trying to kill Kono.
- Japanese Trip-Hop artist DJ Krush was a Yakuza member before beginning his musical career. Actually, he once found a severed finger wrapped in paper on his desk; after discovering that it had belonged to his best friend, he decided to leave.
- There are persistent rumors that rock/pop/ vocalist Gackt is either a member or somehow in massive debt to the Yakuza.
- The Yakuza has deep ties to all of the Japanese music industry independent of genre, style, band size, or notoriety. Visual Kei in particular is infested with Yakuza. There are rumors that Japanese hardcore punk band Gism have Yakuza ties and will go after producers of bootleg records and merchandise. Similar rumors exist about Dir En Grey.
- At least one craft guitar and guitar gear maker, which shall not be named because no one wants to be whacked, but whose clients included a Loudness guitarist, a Loudness and X Japan bassist, and a Nightmare bassist, is operated by a blatant Yakuza member.
- Though always officially denied, New Age musician Kitaro is rumoured to have connections to the Yakuza, with his fame at least partially being due to their influence. These rumours are, in no small part, due to his first wife being the daughter of a former leader of one of the more influential clans.
- Much like the movie it was based on, Johnny Mnemonic has these. They also have their own mode, aptly titled "Yakuza Strike".
- Unsurprisingly, due to the great degree with which the game was influenced by William Gibson, Shadowrun includes plenty of Yakuza in varying capacities. The fact that the default setting for the game is the West Coast of the former U.S. may be a contributing factor, though. Mitsuhama Computer Technologies is a Mega Corp. that started out as a Yakuza money laundering operation but long ago surpassed them.
- Since BattleTech's Draconis Combine is basically a collection of Japan tropes Recycled In Space, the yakuza are quite naturally alive and well there as well. Several protagonist and important supporting characters are either members themselves or at least maintain connections, and nobody less than Theodore Kurita himself sponsored the creation of several yakuza BattleMech units to help bolster the ranks during his reforms of the Combine's military.
- The Ryu Ga Gotoku series (or as it's more commonly known, Yakuza) for the PS2 and PS3 is about a former yakuza boss by the name of Kazuma Kiryu who took the fall for the killing of the captain of his clan, and ten years later returns to the Kamurocho district and quickly finds himself being pulled back into the Yakuza underworld.
- In the original Japanese versions, the Piantas in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door were modeled after Yakuza, but in the localization they were switched to the more recognizable (in the Western world anyway) mafia stereotype.
- Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army has Satake and the Kantou haguro-gumi, but they're good guys. A bit quick to agitate, but good.
- Team Rocket in Pokemon Red And Blue and Gold and Silver.
- Team Magma and Team Aqua in Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire make a rough Expy to the Yakuza gangs in Kyushu region.
- And similar to the Paper Mario example above, the Pokémon dub makes them more mafia-like, with the boss being renamed Giovanni, the anime's Meowth having a New York accent, and most members given gangster-themed (instead of samurai-themed in the original) names.
- Red Steel basically revolves around a Civil War within the least evil Yakuza clan.
- The Yakuza shows up from time in various Mafia Wars missions.
- The Ronin in Saints Row 2 aren't; they don't uniformly follow Bushido, aren't without a Lord yet certainly aren't samurai. As a Japanese criminal organization, what else could they be?
- Johnny Gat even goes so far as to refer to the head of the organization as "the Oyabun".
- MapleStory oddly enough, features bad guys resembling the Yakuza in Zipangu, a Japan themed world. In the original version they were pretty dark, using guns, katanas, and nunchakus to hurt you. The American version replaced those with squeaky hammers and cat mittens.
- The Gokudou-kai in Police 911.
- In Rainbow Six: Take-Down Missions in Korea, a Yakuza gang are orchestrating a series of seemingly unrelated terrorist attacks to cover the expansion of their activities into South Korea.
- The events of Persona 3 are kick-started the leader of the "Kirijou Group" believed that the world should be destroyed and called the Shadows for this purpose of fulfilling a prophecy that does such. Both his son and his granddaughter Mitsuru are out to right his wrongs and created the Specialized Extra-Curricular Execution Squad, a team of Persona users to stop him, of which Mitsuru herself is a member of. Instead what they believe to be stopping him is just expediting the process.
- The Yaki pirate faction in the X-Universe are explicitly Yakuza IN SPACE! (Fun fact: the word "yaki" means "many yakuza" in Japanese.)
- Yakuza feature prominently in Soldier of Fortune.
- Members of the Yakuza play roles in the Grand Theft Auto games, especially in GTA3 and Liberty City Stories.
- The Ashura-kai from Shin Megami Tensei IV are essentially the game's own take on the Yakuza. They provide goods and shelter for civilians, but in exchange they are rarely ever not armed.
- In Robopon, there's Riggs Construction Company. Their formula is as follows—find people, tell them to pony up for protection, blow up the houses of the people that don't pay. Rinse and repeat.
- Higurashi: When They Cry has the local Sonozaki family. One of the main characters, Mion Sonozaki, is a Yakuza Princess of the family.
- Furio Tigre, from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, has connections with Yakuza (or the Mafia in the translation). Mostly, he owes a Yakuza/Mafia boss a large sum of money after almost killing his beloved granddaughter in a car crash. For worse, the girl has sorta fallen for him, so he uses her in his plans.
- Dee Vasquez also had her own Yakuza thugs in the first game.
- And one of your clients in Apollo Justice is the son of a Yakuza boss.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou Emiya's Japanese-styled Big Fancy House is technically owned by the local yakuza. They allow him to stay there as a favor to his deceased father Kiritsugu Emiya, with whom they were on very good terms. Shirou's guardian, Taiga Fujimura, also happens to be the yakuza boss's granddaughter, though there is no indication that she takes any part in the family business.
- The Azai Corporation in G-Senjou no Maou plays a huge part in the game, as the main character's motivation is to repay his debt to them.
- Sampaguita, the 3rd game of the Yarudora series, has them as one of the antagonist factions which are after the main heroine, Maria Santos. And they're certainly not above hitting a girl.
- Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 is the heir to the largest Yakuza family in Japan. There are two other characters with connections to the Yakuza. Kuzuryuu's dead sister and Peko Pekoyama, who is Kuzuryuu's bodyguard and hitwoman.
- Mob Ties centres around several groups of Japanese mobsters.
- Featured in The Simpsons, after Homer hires the Mafia to protect Marge's pretzel business, her rivals engage in some tit-for-tat by hiring the Yakuza, leading to the memorable quote, "They'll kill ya five times before ya hit the ground!!!" The Yakuza and the Mafia then have a big gang brawl on the Simpson lawn. The pint-sized Yakuza leader just stands ominously during the brawl, prompting Homer to resist taking shelter before finding out what he's going to do. After Homer retreats inside, we see the little Yakuza doing backflips through the Simpsons' window (he apologizes to them before going back outside).
- Briefly mentioned for a joke in a South Park episode:
- In The Batman, there was Hideo Katsu, the leader of a group called The Dragon's Fangs. Catwoman made the mistake of stealing a statue from him (not knowing that he was mobster or that the statue's true value lay in the fact that it held a data disc containing the Yakuza's secret family chart), causing Katsu to believe she was sent by a rival family. Catwoman nervously tried to give it back when she found out that was the case; fortunately, Batman was more willing to listen than Katsu was.
- Archer reveals that Pam engages in drifting with the Yakuza.