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Ruling Japanese crime Like a Dragon.

"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.'"
Curtis J. Milhaupt and Mark D. West, The Dark Side of Private Ordering: An Institutional and Empirical Analysis of Organized Crime

The Mafia.... BUT JAPANESE!! Yakuza note  are Japanese mobsters, sometimes known outside Japan as "the Japanese Mafia", and euphemistically known inside Japan as "anti-social organizations" or "violent groups." note  Yakuza insist that their organizations originated in Robin Hood-style groups of outlaws and vigilantes during Japan's feudal era, but scholars believe that they are in fact descended from roving bands of Rōnin 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 hired muscle. There, they mingled with and frequently joined local urban self-defense groups and mutual aid societies, and this is where their claim of the service to society comes from. The fact that these groups were often indistinguishable from criminal gangs is usually blissfully ignored. The modern descendants of such gangs are the very Yakuza groups that are discussed here. Today, some 70% of Yakuza come from burakumin background, and 10% of Yakuza are ethnic Koreans (despite Koreans making up about 0.5% of the Japanese population), both of which are groups which have historically faced discrimination in Japanese society.

There is also an alternative hypothesis suggesting that Yakuza are descendants of legitimate organizations of tekiya, or peddlers of shady or stolen goods, whose leaders were even allowed to carry swords (when that was illegal for most people following the Meiji Restoration). Those groups, though, were often associated with less legitimate organizations of gamblers.

Yakuza has existed since the 19th century, but the real rise of the Yakuza happened after World War II. Japan had lost the war, and one of the nasty little secrets of the war had been the Imperial military jacking up the senrin with methamphetamine. When the military had collapsed, it left behind a Mt. Fuji size stockpile of meth. Yakuza seized it, and began trading on it. The Super Serum intended for military use then spread to the civilians, and while it did certainly aid on reconstruction of Japan so quickly after the WWII, it also caused a widespread meth addiction epidemic among the Japanese. Yakuza made good money on the illicit drug trade, and it still today controls the Japanese drug market. Unsurprisingly, methamphetamine is the most popular drug in Japan.

The name "yakuza" came from a traditional Japanese card game called Oicho-Kabu, which is esimilar to Baccarat. Like it, the goal of the game is to reach a total of 9, the last digit of any total over 10 makes your hand. note  Having two of the same card makes it the card number. note  The worst hand you can get in the game is an eight, a nine and a three, totalling 20 = 0. 8-9-3 is expressed as "ya-ku-za" phonetically in Japanese.

Please note that real Yakuza never actually use the term "Yakuza", but prefer more romantic kennings like Gokudo (the outermost path) or Ninkyo dantai (chivalrous society), tying into the romanticized view of the Yakuza.

Yakuza are also commonly associated with uyoku dantai groups (basically Japan's nationalist right wing militia fanatics), and are commonly accused of doing so in order to camouflage their criminal activities behind a political ideology, which would be protected speech. Some Yakuza groups have close ties with uyoku dantai, and a few have even adopted the ideology for real and dropped their criminal activities.

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. Like their Western counterparts, they derive most of their profit from extortion, Protection Racket, drug trafficking, and the like. They like to maintain that they provide a service to the community, which in return owes them both respect and money. But unlike the Mafia or the Chinese Triads, Yakuza are not secret societies. They often operate openly, even so far as to maintain offices and carry business cards. And their strict code of honor and dedication (at least superficially) to "protecting the community" means that they're often an accepted part of Japanese society, and even the police will leave them alone as long as they don't carry guns, deal in drugs, or harass the tourists (which the honor code doesn't allow anyway). They even police their own territories and deal with street-level crime, as such crime would reflect very badly on the local boss (or oyabun) and be seen as a sign of weakness. As humorist Dave Barry put it, nothing in Japan can be disorganized — not even the crime.

As the Yakuza benefit from a degree of legitimacy and transparency, they are not often very active outside of Japan, unlike many crime syndicates. They do have footholds in other parts of the Pacific and even mainland Asia, but they operate outside of their home turf largely through proxies and alliances, seldom firsthand or alone. Where the average mafioso or triad with sufficient violence and ambition can set up shop anywhere with a large enough presence of their ethnic group, the Yakuza are dependent on the societal acceptance and official status they are granted in their hometowns to operate at full capacity. The Yakuza succeeds largely through strictly regulated codes of behavior and agreements that keep them from upsetting the general public or drawing the attention of police and government officials, preferring to profit from shady but legitimate or quasi-illicit activity and keeping their actual "crime" as quiet and subtle as possible. Operating in another country without the tacit tolerance of the authorities presents significant difficulties for the Yakuza.

The stereotypical Yakuza character matches the real-world profile fairly closely. He is heavily tattooed, a trait so identified with delinquency that many bathhouses in Japan will forbid people with tattoos on the premises. He's Always Male, as female Yakuza are very rare in the male-dominated Japanese society. If you see a woman in a Yakuza clan, she's either a Miss Kitty in charge of the clan's prostitution deals, a Dragon Lady (in the rare cases when she works directly with the other male members), the boss's daughter or the boss's consort, known as "ane" (Japanese for big sister). He wears an expensive suit and dark sunglasses, and he walks with a distinctive swagger that announces his profession. While he claims a benign interest in the community, he's also likely to be as violent and destructive as his Western counterpart, especially if he feels he is not receiving the respect he deserves — but this combination of honor and violence allows some works to ascribe Samurai traits to him. And he may be missing a finger, either as a punishment or as a loyalty test, a trait so associated with the Yakuza that it's a big reason you rarely see Four-Fingered Hands in Japanese media. In this sense, the Yakuza can be seen as somewhere in between the finesse of the classic Italian mafioso and the brutality of the Russian bratva. Gun laws are extremely strict in Japan, so while a clan will certainly have access to firearms, they rarely carry or use them. Knives are more common, but since bladed weapons also carry the legal implication of premeditated violence, many Yakuza will use non-weapons, such as bats, martial arts weapons, such as bokken and shinai, or traditional weapons with collector/artistic value to fight or do harm, as such implements have plausible deniability as weapons. Besides the legal loopholes, these weapons also add to the traditional and honorable aesthetic Yakuza fiction strives for.

Yakuza are so prominent in Japanese culture that they have 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. Yakuza also appear quite often in Cyberpunk fiction, if only because Japan Takes Over the World is typical of the genre.

The Yakuza have been on a rapid decline in recent years. Laws directly and regulations indirectly targeting Yakuza groups have become increasingly strict since the 90's, public opinion of their image has suffered and their membership has begun to dwindle, with informal organized crime and unaffiliated white collar crime filling the vacuum. Some in law enforcement worry about the impact that the death of the Yakuza may have on Japan, as for better or worse the Yakuza have kept gun violence, street crime and drug trafficking low in the country, and are often the only obstacle for aggressive street gangs running wild and Ruthless Foreign Gangsters setting up shop, with some Yakuza clans even taking pains to protect Japan's lucrative tourism industry. As the Yakuza are relatively legitimate and strictly regulated, it is surprisingly easy for police to monitor their activity, and groups will even cooperate with police (if only to sell them a patsy or cut a deal) to come up with solutions for crimes that demand retribution. Compared to gangs and syndicates with less established relationships with the authorities, the Yakuza can be argued as the Lesser of Two Evils, and since much of their business revolves around moneylending, sexwork and controlling other criminals, the victims of their violence are often considered Acceptable Targets by the general public. Were the Yakuza to disappear, some fear that something far worse would fill the void.

In fiction Yakuza members will almost always be ethnically Japanese, but they are not homogenous in real life. As said earlier, many in mainland Japan are of Korean descent. There have also been notable cases of Hāfu, people of mixed Japanese ancestry, joining. Yakuza also have a presence in Okinawa and other Ryukyu Islands, whose people are ethinically different from Japanese and have their own languages and customs. Overseas clans in places like Hawaii and California also often have non-Japanese members.

See also The Mafia (and its Russian cousin The Mafiya), The Irish Mob, The Triads and the Tongs, London Gangster, The Cartel, The Syndicate, Mafia Princess.

If you're looking for the Sega franchise about Yakuza, click here.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • 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.
  • Akagi deals with illegal gambling in post-WWII Japan, Yakuza included.
  • In Akiba Maid War, maid cafes are simply fronts for entire Yakuza rings, and the waitresses who work there aren't afraid to do the dirty work against the opposition in order to keep up appearances.
  • 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.
  • Bi no Kyoujin is built around this premise, in which the Seme Kabu falls for former Street Urchin turned smuggler Nirasawa, his Uke, and takes him as his henchman. The story notably explores the problems such a relationship would cause in a Yakuza clan where the presence of an "ane" (title given to the leader's wife) is a sine qua non.
  • In the Black Jack story "Tetsu of the Yamanote Line", the titular Tetsu (a notorious pickpocket) makes the mistake of stealing money from a guy who turns out to be a yakuza member, and the guy's fellow mobsters take the money back and cut Tetsu's fingers off in retaliation.
  • 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, have a code, 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.
  • Bleach:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • A yakuza group shows up in the anime version of Bokurano since Misumi Tanaka, the local Team Mom and the military's liaison to the kids in the robot, turns out to have Yakuza ties (she was previously married to a mid-ranked Yakuza boss named Ichirou who was murdered some years ago). They mainly play a role in protecting and looking after the kids... in particular Jun Ushiro, who is the son of Ichirou and Misumi, though he doesn't know it at first.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs has the Port Mafia which can be count as one. While never hesitant to crime they have their own strict codes for it, and in-universally is said to be a legal organization.
  • Though it's not openly mentioned, Sei from Burst Angel is implied to be a yakuza leader, or at least a Yakuza Princess.
  • Denji, the main character of Chainsaw Man, was condemned to a life of poverty partly because a yakuza group made him pay off his deceased father's debts. On the whole, the series treats the yakuza with little kindness, showing them to be a bunch of stupid, short-sighted thugs with a serious case of Moral Myopia. Even Katana Man, the most dangerous yakuza member, is shown to be a self-deluding spoiled brat who won't acknowledge his grandfather's crimes against Denji.
  • 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).
  • 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 accidentally disrespecting their boss, they manage to placate him by offering half-price tickets to their next play. Hilarity Ensues 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.
  • Yakuza show up a few times in Darker than Black, but mostly just wind up getting beaten senseless in large numbers.
  • Durarara!!:
    • In one episode, 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. Even more, the pint-sized Yakuza Princess of the clan, Akane Awakusu, strikes up an Inter Generational Friendship with Shizuo.
  • The seme and Fetishized Abuser from Ayano Yamane's Finder Series, Ryuuichi Asami, is a yakuza leader. The series also features members of both his group and of rival organizations.
  • 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.
  • There's a big organization of them, the Jugondou, in Ga-Rei. They even have supernatural ties, including connections in...Transylvania?
  • In The Garden of Sinners, Shiki Ryougi's father was a Yakuza leader, and as shown in the Distant Finale, Shiki herself has become the new head of the Ryougi family.
  • 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.
  • The main character of Gokusen is a schoolteacher whose coworkers do not know she is the granddaughter of a powerful oyabun (yakuza boss).
  • A common feature in Gokushufudou: The Way of the Househusband, despite the fact that the eponymous character retired from that life long ago to become, well, a House Husband. He regularly meets acquaintances from rival groups and they all engage in mundane, everyday activities like "trying out new appliances" or "shopping for groceries" as though they were all conducting yakuza business.
  • 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.
  • In the final arc of Great Pretender, "Wizard of Far East", Makoto starts working for a yakuza group, ostensibly to take them down, but finds himself Becoming the Mask.
  • In one arc of GTO: The Early Years, Eikichi and Ryuji accidentally steal and wreck a young yakuza leader's Precious, Precious Car, and are forced to come up with 100 million yen in a day or they'll be given Cement Shoes and tossed into the bay.
  • Gungrave - tale of unrequited romance and mafia "friendship"...and stars an undead cowboy assassin who can only function if filled with blood.
  • The "very nice men" that start the plot of Hayate the Combat Butler. Ironically enough, they are more honorable than Hayate's Parents themselves.
  • Feature prominently in Hinamatsuri; main character Nitta is an up-and-coming member who joined through their business associations, and thus lacks their traditional experience with violence. Being a comedy series, however, they're played for laughs, along with most everything else.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Otaha of Karas was a yakuza enforcer before he got killed and turned into Karas.
  • 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 '20s, 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 by basically raping a teenaged Taka.
  • 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.
  • 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 badass 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service:
    • Sasayama looks like a yakuza stereotype come alive, what with his Face of a Thug, crude language, pinstripe suit, missing leg, Bald of Evil and very visible head-scar, and frightens the whole crew into submission on his first appearance by making them think their latest client had mob ties. He's actually a former police detective (as readers of MPD Psycho would know) forced into retirement by the loss of his leg and currently a social worker. More entertainingly, his cousin looks practically identical to him despite having entered a completely different line of business, which makes Numata snark that peg-legs must be a family trait.
    • The crew disrupt an actual yakuza operation in volume 6: The yakuza run an operation around providing people's dead relatives a post-mortem marriage, leading to said dead relatives' ghosts seeking out and killing the 'partners' provided to them by the yakuza through a marriage shrine. In the end, the oyabun of the gang suffers a Karmic Death courtesy of the same shrine.
  • 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.
  • Yakuza-apparent are mooks in the Mai-HiME Destiny light novel series.
  • About half the main cast of My Bride is a Mermaid, 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.
  • My Hero Academia: The Shie Hassaikai is apparently one of the last few surviving Yakuza groups in Japan since the rise of All Might and other heroes, during which the Yakuza were declared villains. Not only had Magne never even seen one before Overhaul, but Toga didn't even know what a Yakuza is. When Mr. Compress explains that "[Overhaul is] an endangered species left over from old times", Overhaul says he isn't wrong. While he attempted to rid society of Quirks and the so-called "Hero Syndrome", his true goal was to bring the Yakuza back to its former glory for the man who brought him into the group.
  • In the High School AU ending of Naruto and its OVA Shippu Konoha Gakuen Den, New Transfer Student Naruto's goal is to become the yakuza leader of all of Japan.
  • They make an appearance in Chapter 7 of Neko-de Gomen!.
  • In Nisekoi, the central plot is kicked off when the yakuza group run by Raku Ichijou's father gets into a turf war with an incoming Mafia family, which goes to a truce when he's declared the boyfriend of the Mafia Princess daughter of the rival family, Chitoge Kirisaki. Naturally, the two can't stand each other, but they agree to maintain the facade because neither wants to see gang warfare. Just as naturally, they start falling for each other for real. Some moments analyze how the mafia and the yakuza differ, such as how openly each operates and how acceptable the concept is in Japan versus other parts of the world.
  • Somuku Kanou in Okane ga Nai runs a yakuza-approved Loan Shark business in Shinjuku.
  • One Piece:
    • Some pirate crews in this setting show parallels with the Yakuza: use of familial terms like "Big Bro", tattoos, an initiation ceremony involving drinking sake, and so on. Johnny and Yosaku, who aren't pirates, fit the Yakuza member stereotype even better.
    • In God's Present to the Future from Wanted! (1998), 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.
  • 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.
  • In Parasyte, Gotou makes his debut in the series by massacring a local Yakuza clan in brutal and one-sided fashion, simply to test his capabilities against a large group armed with blades and firearms.
  • 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.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the publicity finally backfire on a Yakuza group: Homura Akemi, the show's resident badass, 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 for her witch-killing needs.
  • Reborn! (2004): 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?!")
  • In Saint Young Men, Jesus befriends a large group of Yakuza members, partially due to their belief that he's secretly a Yakuza prince (after he mentioned that he was crucified by the authorities and got out by the will of his father). Of course, his influence brings out the best in them. He's Jesus. Befriending outcasts and criminals is just what he does.
  • Similarly, in Sakura Gari (which also takes places in Tokyo of The Roaring '20s), 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. While Souma does pay up, Takafumi dies when he is tortured in police custody.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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... but said teacher is shown having the ability to deftly avoid any camera which tries to photograph him.
  • The family that the protagonist of Stop Hibari Kun goes to live with after his mother dies is a yakuza family.
  • In Tekkonkinkreet, the yakuza act as unwelcome agents of change in Treasure Town.
  • All of Tokyo Crazy Paradise is centered around the Yakuza- more specifically their young leader Ryuji and his female bodyguard Tsukasa.
  • In Tokyo Shinobi Squad, yakuza often terrorize entire neighborhoods in order to take over the land and renovate it into upscale shopping centers for personal profit at the expense of the local businesses and the people living there. Jin exterminates a group who wanted to blow up an arcade he frequents.
  • 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.
  • The Voynich Hotel:
    • One of the guests is an ex-Yakuza named Taizou Kuzuki, who becomes involved with the Ninja Maid Helena. By his own admission he wasn't exactly a high-ranked member, though he does have irizumi tattoos on his shoulders and upper back. Later in the series, Kuzuki's Dark and Troubled Past catches up with him... in the form of the yakuza from his former group, who come to claim the huge sum of money he stole from them before escaping. They brutally torture him, and even brag about having not just killed his brother (who was planning on leaving the group with Taizou) but having his back tattoos flayed off and displayed on the wall of their headquarters. Helena is... unhappy when she shows up and sees what's happened. Amusingly enough, his tattoos convey his strength within the group with RPG Elements; apparently his big brother was special enough to have a magic resistance rating.
    • Towards the end, Mamiya's Little Miss Badass younger sister kills everyone in the headquarters of Kuzuki's yakuza group, believing that, after hiring them to kill Taizou, they double-crossed them and got Mamiya killed.
  • The Haguro family from Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest. The son of the leader, Haguro Dou, is the Big Bad, and towards the end he gathers a group of them so they can "help" him violently gangrape Aoshika, triggering Inugami's Roaring Rampage of Rescue.
  • Yakitate!! Japan has a baking battle to determine the successor to a Yakuza family.
  • 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, solely mentioning that Atsuko and some "friends" had something to do with it.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • The Yakuza exist in the Marvel Universe, but just as the Mafia takes a backseat to the Maggia so too does the Yakuza take a backseat to fictional Japanese underworld groups such as Clan Yashida and The Hand. The most prominent Yakuza members in the MU are members of Clan Yashida, and unsurprisingly they usually clash with Wolverine.
  • In Nikolai Dante, just as mafiya families reinstated Imperial Russia, so a yakuza network known as Black Dragon took over Japan and most of the Pacific Rim. They were a significant threat to Russia, until much of their territory was destroyed in a catastrophe that Tsar Vladimir totally had nothing to do with, honest.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Megami no Hanabira: The Yakuza appear as the Chaos-aligned faction in the story, lead by a man of undisclosed rank named Shusui Naito. Their aim is to spread the Demon Summoning Program outside the city for the sake of empowering the underclass as part of a deranged, White Guilt-ridden scheme by their leader.
  • Digimon: Children of Time: As revealed in Children of the Present, Ryo Akiyama is the heir to a yakuza group, and Rika's grandmother Seiko was once a mob wife.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero the Organization is funded mainly by this, and also it's the background of Tsuruya's family.
  • The Prince by Neverending Odyssey is a Death Note AU where Light Yagami is kidnapped by the Yakuza when he's eleven years old and this harsher upbringing ironically results in him being much more merciful and careful when he adopts his Kira persona.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers Dark Fics, it's not uncommon to have Kiku aka Japan directly involved with the Yakuza. ... Uhm.
  • In 893 Harry Potter is raised by the Yakuza and so becomes a very independent, badass Professional Killer.
  • In Neon Metathesis Evangelion, the local yakuza begins to beat down whatever NERV employee they can find in the seedier parts of town in order to teach NERV a lesson about their arrogance after Toji is injured while piloting an Evangelion, which his father the local oyabun took personally.
  • Jokingly referenced at one point in Doing It Right This Time, when Hikari's father makes a comment about Toji's dad "...missing a suspicious number of fingers", to which Hikari rather crossly retorts that the man is actually a carpenter who injured his hand in a workplace accident.
  • In Ranma Saotome, Chi Master, Qiáng Wang manages to gain control over a yakuza group based out of an area close to Nerima by killing its leader.
  • The Horsewomen Of Las Vegas features the Yakuza as one of the crime organizations in the story. They are run by Antonio Inoki in the story, but he does not appear. Instead, the Yakuza are represented by two of his top, personally-trained capos, Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Film — Animated 
  • Isle of Dogs: One of the groups in on the Kobayashi conspiracy is the local yakuza, in charge of public opinion via intimidation and misinformation. The mayor is also shown to have yakuza tattoos.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Endgame has Clint Barton (now going by The Ronin) kill several of these right before Black Widow recruits him.
  • Bullet Train features a number of Yakuza characters, with the biggest threat being the Russian leader of a Japanese crime family.
  • 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 Osaka. Along the way he makes a deal with Sato's main rival, a much more traditional, old-school oyabun named Sugai, to take him down, and Sugai makes a point of shaming Sato's dishonorable behavior.
  • The Yakuza. Right there in the title.
  • Yojimbo's plot is centered on a gang war between two opposing factions of crime families in a dying town, each one backing a local businessman to become mayor and hoping to hire the titular hero's services. Notably, the term "yakuza" is never spoken aloud, with most characters preferring to use the term "gambler," since the crime families originally fought over control of the town's lucrative gambling trade. It's not a very glamourous take; the vice they trade in looks every bit as cheap and tawdry as it is and most of them are just greedy, cowardly weaklings who can't even muster up the will and bravery to properly have a brawl in the street until one family's Ax-Crazy leader shows up with a revolver he got while travelling. Some of the first and last events of the film are a local farmer's son running away to try to have a short and exciting life of adventure and luxury as a criminal, and him being the only yakuza the hero spares when he slaughters the remaining henchmen in the finale, gruffly telling him a long, boring life of growing food is better than what lies in front of him.
  • 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 Nihon No Don, in sharp contrast to the Battles series, places the yakuza in a much more corporate post-war atmosphere through a historical epic-style lens in a similar vein to the The Godfather. That being said the betrayals, double-crosses and honorable facades from the Battles films remain and are emphasized with political jockeying and high-level corruption thrown into the mix, in a way mirroring what the Real Life yakuza syndicates had become by the 70s.
  • The Iron Claw Yakuza clan from the Dolph Lundgren film Showdown in Little Tokyo, led by evil Yakuza boss Yoshida, who murdered Kenner's parents long ago.
  • 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 (2007) features the Yakuza fighting the Triads in San Francisco.
  • In The Punisher (1989), the title character has killed off so many Mafia members the Yakuza is able to take control. They return as a faction in Punisher: War Zone.
  • Seijun Suzuki made several increasingly surreal, stylish, over-the-top yakuza films in the 1960s.
    • Youth of the Beast: A hoodlum named Jo gets himself hired as an enforcer by a yakuza gang. He's actually a disgraced ex-cop, who believes that someone in the gang killed his old partner. Jo is determined to get revenge.
    • Tokyo Drifter: A young Yakuza, cut adrift when his oyabun retires, wanders Japan before he's forced to return to Tokyo to settle affairs with his old boss and their rivals.
    • Branded to Kill: The #3 killer in Japan botches a job and becomes a target for #1 in this highly stylized example from Seijun Suzuki.
  • The World of Kanako: At one point, main protagonist Akikazu gets abducted by the Yakuza who are looking for Kanako because she and Matsunaga have been causing lots of trouble with their blackmailings of child molesters. They present Matsunaga who is kept in a body bag, sliced up but still alive. On realizing that Akikazu seems to want Kanako dead too, they give him the name of the person who was ordered to kill Nagano (= Detective Aikawa).
  • A Colt is My Passport is a 1967 Japanese film about a Yakuza hit man who is betrayed by the leader of his gang after carrying out a job to assassinate the leader's rival.
  • In Taxi 2, the protagonists have to liberate a Japanese state secretary and a policewoman who is the girlfriend of one of the heroes from a Yakuza gang. Commissaire Gibert briefly refers to them as "Jacuzzis".
  • Pigs and Battleships is about a rather penny-ante, small potatoes yakuza gang. Interestingly, unlike most films in this genre that generally portray the yakuza as cool and badass, in this one they're bumbling Stupid Crooks.
  • Lost Girls and Love Hotels: Kazu is a Yakuza member, and has the tattoos of his clan over his torso.
  • Walk Cheerfully might be the earliest example, being a 1930 film about a yakuza hoodlum who decides to go straight to win the love of a virginal good girl.
  • In Kate the protagonist is hired to assassinate a yakuza target. The yakuza's counterstrike leaves her with only 24 hours to live, during which she declares war on the rest of their organization.
  • Yakuza Apocalypse: Genyo Kamiura is a vampire in charge of a Yakuza that's been protecting a small neighbourhood. Nobody knows he's a vampire, though.
  • Jirocho Fuji is a Very Loosely Based on a True Story portrait of a Real Life 19th century yakuza. Jirocho and his men are affable Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters who fight turf wars with other gangs but make it a point to not hurt "straight people", and don't even seem to do anything criminal other than run gambling dens.

  • 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.
  • The Yakuza are one of the main antagonists of Ragnarök, the sequel to Valhalla.
  • 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 their influence sphere alive, again depends on the reader's 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 the fictional Ryujin-kai yakuza gang.
  • Japanese Yakuza appear in military thriller Victoria. Though they do not play a major role in the story, protagonist John Rumford interacts with them during his mission to Imperial Japan, and they assist him with his "demonstration" viz. the Chinese. The main representative he deals with displays most of the associated stereotypes.
  • Machine of Death: "Improperly Prepared Blowfish" is set entirely in a Yakuza office. The characters are an oyabun (boss), his two subordinates who have a Senpai/Kōhai (senior-junior) relationship, and the oyabun's mistress.
  • Technomancer by MK Gibson: Have managed to survive to the 23rd century by becoming the Techkuza. They're basically magical samurai cyborg gangsters.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Megumi's parents were abused and functionally enslaved by Yakuza, which motivates her to join an evil Wizarding School and learn The Dark Arts so she can get strong enough to kill the gangsters and free them.
  • Yakuza My Brother by Yaakov Raz is a fictionalised account of the time the author, an anthropologist, spent with the Kyokuto-kai Yakuza family during the '80s and early '90s.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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. His story was made into the ongoing HBO series Tokyo Vice.
  • 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. Darien's first run-in with them results in one of the Yakuza cutting off his own finger as punishment for failure.
  • Deadliest Warrior had the golden age Mafia [1920s] fight against the golden age Yakuza [post World War II]. The Yakuza lost, however.
  • The Body of the Week on one episode of Quincy, M.E. 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 Boys over Flowers, 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 governor, 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.
  • Daredevil has Nobu, a Japanese crime boss as part of Wilson Fisk's empire. In season two they show up again when Elektra has Murdock investigate the dealing her father's company is involved in. They end up finding that the organization is not the Yakuza but in reality the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Hand, a Ninja clan. Iron Fist and The Defenders reveal that there are more factions to the Hand other than the Japanese one.
  • Giri/Haji is all about the relationship between the Yakuza (who are portrayed as both noble and corrupt, often simultaneously) in both Tokyo and London, other mobs, and civilians.
  • Oshin has examples of both noble Yakuza and corrupt Yakuza:
    • Oshin's friend and Hopeless Suitor Ken is portrayed as quite the noble Yakuza who helps out the main protagonist when she tries to establish herself in Tokyo.
    • When Oshin and her best friend Kayo work in an eatery and begin selling sake in it, the local Yakuza feel threatened and try to kick them out. Thanks to her deals with Ken, however, Oshin manages to win them over to her cause.
  • The MacGyver episode "Log Jam" involves MacGyver going undercover in a logging company in the Pacific Northwest, whose owners are being forced by Yakuza gangsters to illegally log protected forest land so they can sell the logs for outrageous profit back in Japan.
  • In an episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Connors came up against a group of fake Yakuza as part of a complex attempt to con them out of a large sum of money. The "yakuza" quickly admitted to being fake as soon as they discovered what the Connors were willing and able to do to get their money back.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Given the Japanese control over the Western US, it's not surprising to learn the Yakuza are in control on the illegal side of things. Even the feared Japanese military police don't usually cross them, since they have connections in high places.
  • On Schitt's Creek one of Alexis's wild adventures apparently involved the Yakuza. When Ted remarks that she can't go for a run in her high heels, she replies:
"Tell that to me at 21 escaping the Yakuza!"
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): "Ekitai Rashku" sees the team extraditing a Yakuza clan gangster back to Japan then, once he's busted out of custody by his cohorts, aiding the Tokyo Police in getting him back.
  • Giri/Haji is about a detective who follows his ex-yakuza brother to London in hopes of stopping a gang war between the yakuza clans of Tokyo.

  • 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.
  • Youngblood, by 5 Seconds of Summer, has the visual style for the music video (Tattoos, bikes, leather jackets, "gangster" theme, etc.).

  • Much like the movie it was based on, Johnny Mnemonic has these. They also have their own mode, aptly titled "Yakuza Strike".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Even although TV stations don't usually refer to him by the Y-word, this is Masahiro Chono's whole gimmick, which some have alleged is not really a gimmick at all, among other things because no yakuza has ever attempted retribution on him for offending or misrepresenting them. Chono is in fact many a yakuza's favorite wrestler for his impeccable dress, speed, agility, and "Yakuza Kick" Finishing Move. Videos of his matches have reportedly been used by correctional officers in an effort to steer violent criminals towards athletics.
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara likes to style himself as a Yakuza, to the point he founded a promotion named Fujiwara Gumi (gumi being the term commonly used for Yakuza organizations).
  • TARU used to play a Yakuza-style character in his times as the manager of the Crazy MAX stable. Even after he switched to a more occult-influenced character as part of the Voodoo Murders, he has still retained traits, like the tattoos, mannerisms, and well tailored suits whenever not wrestling. Like Chono, though, it's unclear whether this is merely a character or there is something more behind, especially because before becoming a pro wrestler, Taru was a karate master of a brand very popular among real Yakuzas.
  • A master martial artist Masked Luchador working primarily in AULL is known as Yakuza. Frequent seekers of his services include Robin Maravilla, El Psicópata, Rocky Santana, Sadico, Último Gladiador and Terry Dos Mil though given this is lucha libre, they typically want help winning AULL's trios titles, rather than anything typically associated with other Yakuza.
  • In WWE, Yoshihiro Tajiri was given a Yakuza-themed gimmick as part of the Kyo Dai faction in the early 2000s. However, the faction was short-lived because Tajiri feares that the real Yakuza might become insulted by the portrayal and enact legitimate retribution.
  • In Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, Kenzo Suzuki led a stable completely devoted to the theme, the aptly named La Yakuza. The storyline was that Suzuki was being secretly supported by the real life yakuza in order to start a Japanese invasion of AAA, which would take the form of guest Japanese wrestlers showing up as members of the group. The whole angle was short-lived, though (only Takuya Sugi and Go Shiozaki came from Japan to join it), and closed in less than a year.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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. They're generally portrayed as being much more honorable and loyal to the Combine than the Warlords who command much of the regular military, and even help protect Theodore from several attempts to overthrow him.
  • In the Hudson City sourcebook for the Hero System, the Yakuza are one of *many* organized crime factions active in Hudson City, and not even the most powerful one. Inside the Little Tokyo neighborhood, though, they're not to be crossed.

    Video Games 
  • The Like a Dragon series (or Ryū ga Gotoku, 龍が如く, formerly the Yakuza series in the West) is probably the preeminent example of Yakuza in modern video games. Most of the series' playable characters and antagonists, as well as many of its side and supporting characters, either are or affiliated with the Yakuza and the plotlines of the game always principally involve Yakuza groups. In many ways, the series can be seen as a deconstruction of the Yakuza ideal, with Kiryu (and to a lesser extent Kazama) representing and trying to live the romanticized ideal of yakuza being a largely benevolent group and a shield for the people against overbearing rulers, and most of the conflict in the series comes from that ideal running headfirst into the everyday reality of organized crime in the 21st century.
  • Team Rocket in Pokémon Red and Blue and Gold and Silver are an organized crime group that strongly resemble Yakuza. Localizations include additions that make them more Mafia-like, renaming the boss Giovanni; the anime dub further gives Team Rocket's Meowth a New York accent and most of the members gangster-themed names (instead of samurai-themed in the original).
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Team Skull can be seen as wannabe-Yakuza. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the real Yakuza - Team Rainbow Rocket - turn up to cause trouble immediately after Team Skull is disbanded, posing a much greater threat as an organised syndicate made up of all the previous enemy teams in the franchise.
  • 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.
  • In Fallout 2 roving bands of Yakuza can be found around New Reno and will attack the player if provoked. However, they don't appear to closely follow Bushido and will occasionally flee from combat and state it's better to be "a live coward than a dead hero".
  • Jitsu Squad have a stage set in Neon Boulevard, a fictional urban area inspired by Japan's Shinjuku District, which is ruled by the dreaded "Yakuzo" crime gang. The Yakuzo's mooks are even dressed like stereotypical Yakuza gangsters, with tattoos and dark glasses.
  • The Ronin in Saints Row 2 are a samurai-themed Japanese-American biker gang (who also recruit locally) that are strongly implied to be backed by a Japan-based Yakuza clan via their leader's oyabun father.
  • 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 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.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei, common Yakuza thugs occasionally show up as random encounter enemies, like in Shin Megami Tensei I and the original Persona.
    • 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. They also run a human trafficking operation based in a secret facility, drawing their neurotransmitters out by force to use as demon food, and raising children in said facility in order to keep up with demand.
    • 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.
    • Persona 3 has the Kirijo Group, complete with a company-owned High School (that doubled as a Shadow research facility, a (presumably) company-owned hospital capable of holding its patients hostage without raising eyebrows, and access to military-grade weaponry, is either this or a very corrupt and powerful local corporation... And in Japan, there's usually very little to separate the former from the latter. There's also officer Kurosawa's "connections"... Which appear to have no problem giving a police officer access to lethal weaponry to sell off-the-counter to schoolchildren. It's vaguely implied that his 'connections' are Kirijo pulling strings, too.
    • Persona 5 features the Yakuza pretty heavily. The third main target is powerful oyabun Junya Kaneshiro, a greedy sociopath who gleefully blackmails and exploits teenagers, and Corrupt Politician Masayoshi Shido has extensive Yakuza connections, as revealed in the second-to-last Palace. There's also ex-Yakuza Munehisa Iwai, who's both the Hanged Man Arcana Confidant and the team's primary supplier of weapons and armor; despite the gruffness and general shadiness, he's a good man at heart.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ryuuji Yamazaki from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters fame is a Yakuza leader, though he lacks the typical tattoos. The Seventh SNK Character Sound Collection states that he entered the Yakuza as a teenager and used to be The Dragon to a powerful oyabun from Okinawa, Sorimachi, who wanted him to be his successor. Sorimachi's death is what pushed the already unstable Yamazaki fully into Ax-Crazy mode.
  • The James Bond video game NightFire features Yakuza as hired henchmen of Raphael Drake, though it does raise the question on how Drake, a Westerner, was able to gain their loyalty. Yakuza appear as the main mooks in the level Double Cross and the first mooks faced in Phoenix Fire.
  • The "Eternal Sun", from the 2005 Punisher game, are a Yakuza group encountered in the last third of the story, involved in a Mob War with the Gnucci's, the Russian Mob and The Kingpin.
  • Lo Wang deals with Yakuza quite a bit in the Shadow Warrior series. In the first game (a reboot of the original), they are his primary opponents in the first part of the game before the demons show up, and later show up in Zilla's headquarters having been granted power in the same fashion as Zilla himself and sport glowing eyes. In Shadow Warrior 2, they rule the villages and other areas that are not run by Zilla or overrun by demons, and Lo Wang clashes swords with them on more than a few occasions.
  • In Overwatch, Hanzo and Genji Shimada were the heirs to a criminal empire as well as being trained ninjas. Hanzo was the elder and the heir apparent while Genji was the younger brother who disassociated with his family's criminal activities, which led to the clan forcing Hanzo to assassinate his brother. Genji survived the attempt thanks to Overwatch and helped bring down the organization.
  • The Yakuza show up as an enemy in Chaser. The protagonist is forcibly enlisted by the local Italian mafia to fight them for several levels, until the player manages to wipe out both groups.
  • PAYDAY 2 has DLC character Jiro, a former Yakuza assassin who came to America and joined the Payday Gang in search of his son.
  • A Hat in Time has the Nyakuza from the second DLC pack, Nyakuza Metro. As you could've guessed from the name, they're all cats led by "the Empress", a legitimately scary mobster with a front as a legitimate jeweler. Aside from their leadership, they mostly sell Hat Kid fashion and discuss food trucks and the metro's crazy layout. Until the Empress puts a million-dollar bounty on Hat Kid's head, dead or alive. Then they turn out to be not so harmless.
  • The 25th Ward has the Okiai syndicate, which Tsuki, the protagonist of "Matchmaker", was a former member of. Their resurrection after previously being thought to have been abolished by the police is a major plot point.
  • Given that Binary Domain is set in a Cyberpunk future Japan and produced by the same studio behind the Like a Dragon series, it's almost inevitable that the Yakuza would turn up in some fashion. In this case, Beetle Team's infiltration into Upper Tokyo is assisted by a crime boss named Mifune, who controls the black market and vice trades in the ruined slums of Shibuya and supplies the anti-government resistance cells operating there with weapons and equipment.
  • One of the playable protagonists in World of Horror is a low-ranking Yakuza wheelman named Haru, who becomes embroiled in all the freaky eldritch activity going on in Shiokawa when his brothers pick the wrong creepy mansion to raid and get slaughtered by a cryptid, leaving Haru as the guilt-ridden Sole Survivor. His proficiency with weapons and close-quarters fighting makes him one of the more combat-oriented protagonists, and his Yakuza ties grant him a couple useful black market perks when shopping for supplies.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has the local Sonozaki family. One of the main characters, Mion Sonozaki, is a Yakuza Princess of the family.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Dee Vasquez has her own Yakuza thugs in the first game.
    • Furio Tigre, from 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.
    • One of the clients in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Wocky Kitaki, 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 and teacher, 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 The Devil on G-String 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 Kuzuryu, the Ultimate Yakuza from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, is the heir to the largest Yakuza family in Japan. There are two other characters with connections to the Yakuza: Fuyuhiko's dead sister Natsumi, who used to be the original heir candidate, and Peko Pekoyama, who is Fuyuhiko's bodyguard and hitwoman; Peko kills Mahiru Koizumi, who was involved in Natsumi's murder, after the latter pushes Fuyuhiko's Berserk Button, starting a Thanatos Gambit to save him.
  • The Yakuza are never seen in Crescendo (JP), but they have a vital role in one of the paths. Yuka Otowa's parents were in massive debt with them and were Driven to Suicide for it, which completely ruined Yuka's life.
  • DRAMAtical Murder
    • Koujaku, one of Aoba's love interest, is the son and heir of a yakuza. But one day, his Superpowered Evil Side took over and killed his family.
    • Virus and Trip are members of the local yakuza, and ther aforementioned Koujaku recognizes them as such.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Kenji swears up and down that Lily is a Yakuza Princess and that a young man who once in a while hangs out around her is a Yakuza hitman. The "young man" turns out to be Lily's bifauxnen sister Akira, who wears suits because she works as a lawyer.
    • It's implied (and Played for Laughs) that Shizune's father Jigoro ( who is Lilly's paternal uncle) is not just a high-ranked CEO, but a just as high-ranked Yakuza: he is a huge guy, he's a major Jerkass who swears by the "Rated M for Manly" rules, his very successful businesses are never really explained, he not only owns a katana but parades around with it every single time he appears, etc.
  • In Love Bakudan, Teru is the boss of the Tokugawa yakuza clan. Depending on what route you are on, her story role will differ; she can be an antagonist, an ally, or even a love interest.
  • In Princess Evangile, Masaya encounters two Yakuza thugs who are Evil Debt Collectors for loan sharks that his father owes money to. While the older one is Affably Evil and is strictly there for business, his underling resorts to violence as a first option.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Akira's best friend, Seiji Amanome, is the heir to a Yakuza boss. The Amanome name is infamous throughout the city, and Seiji frequently uses his connections in the game to gather information, get rid of nuisances, or serve as protection for him and Akira. As a result of being so closely tied to the Yakuza, Seiji is a sadistic person who gets a thrill from threatening others.

    Web Animation 
  • Etra-chan saw it!:
    • Tachibana is often cast in this role. Sometimes, he also appears as the leader of a Yakuza group.
    • Etra-chan appears to be a Yakuza Princess and also kidnaps Akamatsu, forcing the rest of the cast to rescue him. It turns out to be her own prank to enact a revenge against the cast for pranking her back then, with Akamatsu going along with her plan after his capture and the Yakuza members are actually her chefs who dressed up like the real deal.
    • Yuri sells the mansion that she inherinted from her parents to the Yakuza to prevent it from falling to Akamatsu's hands. When Akamatsu finds out that the mansion was sold and his divorce with Yuri was complete, he throws his phone out of anger and it accidentally hits one of the members, causing him to be beaten up.
    • Hiiragi insults a group of Yakuza members led by Katsura. While Hiiragi was let off for being a part-time worker, thanks to Katsura's intervention; however, they eventually beat Hiiragi up when he tried to cause trouble at his former workplace that fired him.
  • Gossip City has the Uwasa and Yamanba Yakuza gang. Unlike most examples, they are portrayed as sympathetic and they even help the protagonists by punishing the antagonists that torment them.

  • Mob Ties centres around several groups of Japanese mobsters.
  • Four Corners' villain, Taisuke Arakawa, who is the son of a yakuza boss.
  • Furry Fight Chronicles has Shun Gonfano and the sumiguza as the equivalent of yakuza in the story.

    Web Original 
  • French-Japanese YouTube video creator Louis-San has made several documentary videos about the Yakuza and the fascination and myths around them. Himself indulges in the fascination, especially about their codes of honor.

    Western Animation 
  • Featured in The Simpsons episode "The Twisted World Of Marge Simpson". After Homer hires the Springfield Mafia (led by Fat Tony) 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 family lawn. The pint-sized Yakuza leader just stands there ominously during the brawl doing nothing, prompting Homer to resist taking shelter because he assumes that the guy is going to do something really cool at any moment. As soon as Homer gives up and retreats inside, the little Yakuza indeed does something cool, causing Homer to groan in disappointment that he had missed it. He later comes crashing in through the Simpsons' kitchen window, and apologizes to them before dashing back outside.
  • Briefly mentioned for a joke in a South Park episode:
    Officer Barbrady: I'm sure you're wondering why we're standing in a pile of money with no pants on. I can assure you it has nothing to do with the Japanese Mafia.
  • The Batman: the episode "The Cat and The Bat" has 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 a mobster or that the statue really contained a data disc within it that contained 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. She also engages them in a drug deal (and rips them off by paying in counterfeit cash). They're only spared when Sterling directly intimidates the New York Yakuza boss and figures out a way for him to end the conflict without shame.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Japanese Mafia



The Ishida-gumi celebrates the elevation of certain members through sakazuki (or sharing of sake) to affirm their allegiance to the oyabun.

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Main / Yakuza

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