Former Yakuza VTuber Taro talks about the unexpected foreign brands popular among the yakuza. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Yakuza VTuber Taro talks about the unexpected foreign brands popular among the yakuza.

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Surprising foreign brands popular among yakuza…

With the passage of the Riot Law (Law Concerning the Prevention of Unjust Acts by Members of Organized Crime Groups), the clampdown on the yakuza has become very strict, and the yakuza have very few clothing options.

So says “Jogakutaro,” a virtual youtuber (VTuber) who is active under the name “Jogakutaro,” which refers to a person who has been in prison many times, and is himself a former yakuza.

Yakuza are very careful about their appearance so as not to be taken advantage of. In movies and TV dramas, yakuza are often seen dressed up in expensive suits, but how do they really look?

In the early Showa period, it was not customary for yakuza to wear suits at all. However, with the enactment of the Anti-Riot Law and other measures, the yakuza were subjected to stricter regulations, and as a result, expensive suits became popular as a result of their avoidance of wearing yakuza clothing. Italian brands such as Armani and Versace were particularly popular.

Immediately after becoming a yakuza, Taro Jongjo had a custom-made suit made for him by his older brother. He says that his brother’s attention to the clothes of his henchmen and the women in their company was also to keep up appearances as a yakuza.

He would be seen as a man of low character if he wore expensive clothes but his henchmen or the women with him wore cheap clothes, so he was very careful about the fashion of the people around him. You don’t want to be taken for a fool by wearing nice clothes. It’s like a lion’s mane (laughs).”

(Laughs.) Because of these circumstances, the yakuza wear nice clothes. If they wanted to avoid being taken advantage of, they could just wear clothes with their clan’s crest on them, but they can no longer do so due to the passage of the Anti-Robbery Law.

In the past, when you joined a yakuza clan, you were given a badge in the shape of the clan’s crest, but now that the Violence Against Women Act has been passed, you can no longer wear it because you will be arrested if you leave the clan’s office wearing it. Because of this, retired yakuza and their families have been selling their badges on the Internet. To avoid that, they started collecting them when they leave the office.”

Yakuza are also subject to various other restrictions, such as having to wear long sleeves even in summer because showing their tattoos is now grounds for arrest. The “cool” yakuza may be disappearing more and more in the future.

Read “Gokudo Rakuen,” a super-realistic manga about the yakuza supervised by “Jigokudo Taro,” who knows all about the world of the yakuza.

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