The Young Head Takayama After 9 Years Since the Departure from the Prestigious Martial Arts Organization | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Young Head Takayama After 9 Years Since the Departure from the Prestigious Martial Arts Organization

Nonfiction writer Masahiro Ojima looks back on the history of the "Yamaguchigumi split war" before the turning point, and the future prospects.

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Yamaguchigumi VI head Tsukasa Shinobu leaves Tokyo Station last June. This year marks the 18th year since he became the head of the gang in 2005

The Yamaguchigumi VI has maintained its huge power, while the Kobe Yamaguchigumi has continued to shrink its power due to a series of departures of its core organization.

Comparing the latest data published by the National Police Agency, the Yamaguchigumi VI had approximately 3,800 members in 2010, while the Kobe Yamaguchigumi had approximately 330, less than one-tenth of the current number. Although there is a large gap in power, there has been no movement on the part of Kobe Yamaguchigumi to dissolve the organization, and the rivalry will enter its ninth year.

It was in August 2015 that the 6th Yamaguchigumi split. At the time of the split, Yamaguchigumi VI had approximately 6,000 members, and Kobe Yamaguchigumi had approximately 2,800. Although there was a gap of more than 2 to 1 in terms of power, Kobe Yamaguchigumi initially had the upper hand: it joined an organization that had been punished by Yamaguchigumi VI and had left the organization, and there were also transfers of organizations affiliated with Yamaguchigumi VI. Although the standoff continued at first, there were a number of incidents throughout the country that appeared to be caused by the rivalry, including accidental incidents as well as shooting at an office and backing a large dump truck into the ground.

However, a turning point event occurred on the side of the 6th Yamaguchigumi. Seiji Takayama (75), the number two young leader, was released from prison in October 2019. Shortly before that, two members of the Yamaguchigumi’s core organization at the time, Yamaken-gumi, were simultaneously shot to death in Kobe City, and in November of the same year, a brutal incident occurred in Amagasaki City where a senior member of the Kobe Yamaguchigumi was killed by dozens of bullets from an automatic rifle. At the time, a senior investigator who was in charge of organized crime countermeasures at the police authorities was,

Members of the Yamaguchigumi’s umbrella organization, the 6th Yamaguchigumi, took the opportunity of Takayama’s release from prison to show off their power. In the first place, the withdrawal of the Kobe (Yamaguchigumi) organization must have been carried out because they saw Takayama’s absence from society due to his imprisonment as a good opportunity.

He also expressed the view that the Kobe (Yamaguchigumi) should have taken a chance and decided to leave the organization. After that, the number of incidents by the 6th Yamaguchigumi gradually became overwhelming.

One of the key figures in the current feud, Wakamasa Takayama, head of the Yamaguchigumi VI.

The Kobe Yamaguchigumi was formed by a total of 13 organizations, led by five members: Kunio Inoue, 75, head of the Yamaguchigumi; Tadashi Irie, 78, head of the Takumi clan; Takashi Ikeda, 78, head of the Ikeda clan; Osamu Teraoka, 74, head of the Chiyukai; and Toshio Masaki, 76, head of the Masaki clan. However, as the 6th Yamaguchigumi became dominant, these leading organizations left one after another.

In particular, the Yamaguchigumi was known as a prestigious organization that produced the 5th Yamaguchigumi leader, Yoshinori Watanabe, but his successor, who succeeded Inoue as leader, left the Yamaguchigumi in ’20 to lead the Yamaken-gumi. The Ikeda-gumi, which was known for its abundant financial resources, also left the organization at the same time.

What was a blow to Kobe Yamaguchigumi here was that the Yamakengumi returned to the 6th Yamaguchigumi in September 2021. Ikeda-gumi was designated as a designated gang under the Anti-Boryokudan Law in November ’21 because its activities as an independent organization were confirmed.’ In 2021, the 6th Yamaguchigumi had approximately 4,000 members, while the Kobe Yamaguchigumi had approximately 510, further widening the gap.

In 2022, there was a further movement to downsize the organization, and the Takumi clan, an affiliate of the Kobe Yamaguchigumi, announced its withdrawal from the organization, and the Chiyotukai was dissolved.

A designated gang leader who has been keeping an eye on the split said,

“It has been eight years since the split, but I don’t know what Inoue (the head of the Kobe Yamaguchi Gumi) really wanted to do. Since he did what is called a reverse sake cup, it is something that we know will lead to a fight from the spot. However, Inoue did not take any breakthrough measures, and Kobe (Yamaguchigumi) was left on the defensive. So many young people left Kobe.”

He turns a critical look at Inoue.

Then, he throws a further question.

The biggest loss for Kobe (Yamaguchigumi) was that the head of Yamakengumi (Inoue’s successor) left to lead the organization. He left his former boss behind. It was a situation that could not be explained to the world. Furthermore, he returned to the 6th generation (Yamaguchigumi). This must have been painful.

He also raises further questions about the top executives who participated in the formation of the Kobe Yamaguchigumi, led by Inoue. I don’t know why smart people like Irie (head of the Takumi clan) and Ikeda (head of the Ikeda clan) carried Inoue. (Even Teraoka, who was president of the Chivalrous Friends Association) is a man of considerable strength who never bends from his principles as a yakuza. It is no exaggeration to say that he is a fine human being. I still wonder why these people followed Inoue.

The aforementioned senior investigator who is in charge of organized crime countermeasures at the police authority also said, “The 6th Yamaguchigumi is pushing us.”

The Kobe Yamaguchigumi was being pushed by the 6th Yamaguchigumi, and its organization was only shrinking. Inoue suddenly realized that there was no one around him.

Inoue pointed out.

The difference in power in 2022 was about 3,800 members of the Yamaguchigumi VI and about 330 members of the Kobe Yamaguchigumi, less than one-tenth, making it impossible to recover. The Takumi Gumi, like the Ikeda Gumi, is expected to be designated as a designated gang in the future as an independent organization. The Kobe Yamaguchigumi is divided into four factions, but the departed organizations are showing their attitude to continue their activities in the future.

  • Interview and text Masahiro Ojima

    Nonfiction writer. After working for the Sankei Shimbun newspaper as a reporter for the National Police Agency, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police Department, the Judicial Press Club, and the National Tax Agency Press Club, he became a freelance writer. His recent books include "The True Story of the Yamaguchigumi Split" (Bungeishunju).

  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki

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