A direct request from Shinichi Chiba to appear in the film is also disclosed! The only former female head of Yamaguchigumi reveals “30 years of life in the Gokudo and the bond with a big-name actor”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A direct request from Shinichi Chiba to appear in the film is also disclosed! The only former female head of Yamaguchigumi reveals “30 years of life in the Gokudo and the bond with a big-name actor”.

Special Read】Nami Odagiri (71): Recognized by Kazuo Taoka, the third head of the Yamaguchigumi, and entered the world of chivalry.

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Mr. Odagiri looks back on his life. After retiring from the Kyokudo, he opened a members-only kappo-ryori (Japanese cooking restaurant). She is loved by many people.

The only female head of Yamaguchigumi.

There is a woman who has led an unusual life that is spoken of with such a title. Her name is Ms. Nami Odagiri (71). She is a former president of the Fukuoka-based Izu Ichi Ryuga-kai, the third generation Yamaguchigumi, and lived through the turbulent times when the yakuza were at their height.

It has been about 16 years since he retired from the yakuza world. When we visited him for an interview to find out more about his life, he showed us a picture (the second one). In the picture is Shinichi Chiba (82 years old), a famous actor.

I was having a drink at a club in Ginza, and the president of a company I know came with Mr. Chiba, and we sat down together. Mr. Chiba and I had been friends for many years. He called me two months before he passed away, and that was the last time I saw him.

Mr. Chiba said to Mr. Odagiri, “Let’s make a movie. Mr. Chiba had approached Mr. Odagiri about making a movie, saying, “Let’s make a movie, with Ms. Nami as the model. It was in 2007 that the project began to take concrete shape. Mr. Chiba wrote a letter to Ms. Odagiri. The letter expressed his extraordinary passion for the film.

Love and emotion are the root and theme of the filmmaking I seek.

I agreed to produce the film after reading this letter. Mr. Chiba said, “I want to depict a story of love between a mother and her child, not a yakuza movie,” and in his later years, he also said, “I was troubled because there were no actresses who could play the role of Mr. Nami.

The title of the film is “Mother on the Wall. Ms. Odagiri herself was imprisoned twice. “When my children were small and I still missed my mother, I was in a cage. I have lived a life of childlessness,” he says.

As it turns out, the film was never completed. The COVID-19 crisis interrupted the interviews for the script. During that time, Mr. Chiba never returned home.

A direct appeal to the Yamaguchigumi boss, Mr. Taoka

The life of Mr. Odagiri was so intense that Mr. Chiba craved him as a subject for a movie. The yakuza is a male-dominated society dominated by violence. How did Ms. Odagiri, a woman, enter the world of the yakuza?

Born and raised in Miyazaki Prefecture, Ms. Odagiri was poor and was often ridiculed for her attire by others, and she spent her days fighting with them. Even so, he entered one of the best preparatory schools in the prefecture. However, in the middle of his sophomore year, he got into trouble again over his clothes. Leaving behind a note saying, “I will never cause you any trouble,” he left Miyazaki as if he had run away from home. He was only 17 years old.

After giving birth to her first son at the age of 23, she continued to perform on stage. So, while singing at a club in Hakata, Fukuoka, the manager told me, ‘You should meet our owner once,’ and I greeted him. That person was Kenji Izu, the head of the Izu Kenji clan.”

The Izu boss was one of the Yamaguchigumi’s most prominent yakuza fighters, who had made a name for himself through such incidents as the Yozakura Ginji Incident (*1). Ms. Odagiri was a 24-year-old single mother at the time. The Izu boss must have been aware of her situation. He asked her to sing at his restaurant and paid her one million yen on the spot. Later, Mr. Odagiri told the Izu boss, whom he later called more like a father than a real father, that he had a thought for him.

I offered him the sake cup to repay his kindness and devote the rest of my life to him,” he said. But he said, ‘This is not a job for a woman. You should be a woman and find happiness at home,'” he said. My boss was a warm-hearted man with a good heart, but no matter how many times I begged him to let me become a yakuza, he would not allow me to do so.

Ever since he was a small child, he was so competitive that he would fight back when he was beaten. He spent his days fighting with men in the entertainment district, and gradually, about 80 of his friends gathered around Mr. Odagiri, who would rush to his place with a single phone call. When Mr. Odagiri was 26 years old, he made a big decision. At the age of 26, Mr. Odagiri made a big decision: he founded the Ippon Dokko (*2) organization.

He said, “I established an organization like the Gurentai, the predecessor of the Ryugakai, and set up an office in Chikko, Hakata.

Around this time, the 1978 Osaka War Bellami Incident (*3) occurred, which shook the history of the yakuza. This was also a major turning point for Mr. Odagiri. Mr. Odagiri went on a cruise ship as a singer to celebrate the recovery of Kazuo Taoka, the third head of the Yamaguchi clan, who miraculously survived a bullet by the hitman Kiyoshi Narumi. The arrangement was made by the Izu boss, who revealed, “Mr. Taoka is fond of The Godfather, so he asked me to sing.

When I finished singing, Mr. Taoka gently handed me a thick envelope of congratulatory money. When I silently did not accept it, he told me, ‘You should take what the yakuza once gave you,’ to which I replied, ‘I don’t want the money. I replied, ‘I don’t want money.’ My boss later asked me, ‘Is there anything you want? Do you want to be a singer? He asked me directly to the boss, “Do you want to be a singer? I said directly to Oyabun, “I want to become a yakuza. When I told him, ‘I want the Yamaguchigumi’s crest,’ he was surprised, saying, ‘What? He was surprised.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to visit the main house of the Taoka clan again, escorted by the Izu boss. In the presence of his wife, Mrs. Fumiko, he directly appealed to her, saying, “I want to become a yakuza.

Oyabun Taoka gently asked me, “Do you know what it means to be a yakuza?” He said gently, ‘Do you know what it means to be a yakuza? ‘It’s a world where you either wear blue or white. Are you prepared for that? You will be killed.

Blue clothes are prison uniforms. The white clothes were for death. However, his decision was unwavering. When he said, “I want to go the same way as Izu Oyabun,” the room was filled with silence.

He said, “You are an interesting boy. I’ll watch over him and teach him some yakuza etiquette and take good care of him.

Thus, in 1979, Odagiri received the Izu clan leader’s sake cup at the Taoka residence.

Miss Nami’s Blood Record

Since then, Ms. Odagiri has been taken care of by Seiichi Izu, the head of the Izu family, the Izu clan leader’s own son, and has officially carried the Yamaguchigumi crest.

From the moment he received the sake cup, he had a mission that he set for himself. He never had a girlfriend and lived as a single man. Having had a child himself, he understands the mind of a parent better than any other boss. He treats his gang members as if they were his own children, and forbids finger-pointing in the Ryugakai.

He often said to me, ‘I can’t be a yakuza with a woman. So, if anything happened, I would be the first to rush to the door, and my child would be the first to play. Gradually, our name became popular. As for why I was able to become a yakuza, I was able to do so because I was protected by the young people and carried on the mikoshi,” he said.

Although he is modest, he has always put his body on the line. He was once kidnapped by another group during a feud, and was dragged to a bloodbath in Fukuoka’s Aburayama district.

They cut my hair, hung me upside down on a tree, and beat me with a metal bat. It hurt until about the tenth blow, when I was conscious, but after that I was paralyzed and couldn’t feel anything. Izu Oyakata saved me and scolded me, saying, “I told you not to act alone. He scolded me, saying, ‘I told you not to act alone, and yet you survived. At that time, I was hospitalized for two months.

While making a name for himself in the world, he was also imprisoned twice, spending nearly 10 years behind bars. In 2006, the year he turned 55, Odagiri decided to retire after witnessing the release of a Ryugakai member from prison after a long imprisonment.

Today, Mr. Odagiri runs a restaurant in Shinsaibashi, Osaka, called “Ajito Odagiri,” which is a kappo restaurant by reservation only. It has been seven years since he started his restaurant. On the other side of the curtain, Odagiri-san, now the proprietress, gazes calmly at us.

A two-shot with Mr. Chiba shows the intimacy of their relationship. Both of them love drinking and music, and sometimes they even sang together with a glass of wine in their hands.
Part of a letter that Mr. Chiba sent in 2007, requesting to appear in the film. He used the word “love” a lot and expressed his enthusiasm for filmmaking.
He once had a conversation with writer Shusaku Endo for a newspaper interview. In addition to Mr. Chiba, he had a wide range of friendships in various fields.
In 1991, this magazine directly interviewed Mr. Odagiri at a luxury hotel in Osaka. She did not flinch under the camera’s flash and smiled at the reporter.

1 On January 16, 1962, Kunito Hirao (a.k.a. Ginji Yozakura), a member of the Ishii clan of the Yamaguchi Gumi III, was shot and killed in his apartment in Fukuoka City.
2 A gangster organization that is not affiliated with a specific group and operates independently.
3 On July 11, 1978, gang leader Kazuo Taoka was shot by rival Dainippon Seidan leader Kiyoshi Narumi while visiting the Bellami club in Kyoto. The bullet hit him in the neck and Taoka was mortally wounded.

From the December 1, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview, text, and photos by Kei Kato (freelance writer) Kei Kato (freelance writer)

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