In late November, around 9:00 p.m. in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, a group of minors known as the “Toyoko Kids” were sitting on the street next to the TOHO Cinemas, making noise with drinks in their hands. This area, known as the Toyoko neighborhood, is a hotbed of crime, including drug abuse and prostitution. Just the other day, a man known as the “Big Four of Toyoko” took a girl to a hotel, had sexual intercourse with her, and filmed the whole thing. It was while covering the incident that this reporter heard a strange rumor.
There is a mysterious group that is rapidly gaining power in the Around Shinjuku Toho Building Area. They call themselves a ‘peaceful terrorist group’ and are engaged in security activities, but some say they are really ‘Han-Gure’ (a member of the Metropolitan Police Department).
The name of the group is “Kabukicho Manjikai”. The name of the group is “Kabukicho Manjikai”, reminiscent of the biker gang “Tokyo Manjikai” that appears in the popular manga “Tokyo Manjikai Revengers”, but what is the reality?
FRIDAY contacted the president of the “Kabukicho Manjikai” who calls himself Howl. When we headed to the designated meeting place with the Toyoko kids in the background, we found more than two dozen people in their 20s and 60s hanging out. In the center of the crowd was Mr. Howl. He had long purple hair and his upper body was covered with tattoos. The reporter timidly asked, “Are you a member of the “semi-greed” organization? Mr. Howl chuckled.
We are working for the peace of Kabukicho. We are not affiliated with the yakuza, and we are not a half-greed organization. Our activities are mainly volunteer activities such as picking up trash. We have been approved by Shinjuku City. We stop fights when they break out, and we also monitor the Toyoko kids to make sure that no bad adults get close to them. We also serve food to the homeless and children who don’t have enough money to eat.
We started out with just me, but our activities gradually spread through social networking sites, and now we have a total of 160 members, including people who have no place to stay at home, people who lost their parents early and have no relatives, and homeless people.
As I was surprised by the unexpected answer, some of the Manjikai members took out cassette stoves and gas cylinders and started cooking a pot on the ground. Some of the members also started playing soccer. As I wondered if this was any different from the Toyoko Kids ……, Mr. Howl clapped his hands and said, “Let’s do it,” and the fun was over. The members got up and started patrolling the Around Shinjuku Toho Building Area, picking up trash. They talked to people who were lying on the street drunk, talked to a runaway girl carrying a suitcase, and included her in their circle. …… The activities continued until 4:00 in the morning.
I interviewed Akira, a homeless man in his forties, who was participating in the activities.
Howl gave me clothes and fed me. I wanted to follow him as a way to repay him.
The local residents are beginning to accept his activities.
In recent years, crimes targeting minors have been increasing in Kabukicho. They come to Kabukicho because they have no place to stay, but they are preyed upon by bad adults. I want to save as many of them as possible, and make this town peaceful. Eventually, I want to build an orphanage.
Many people with complicated situations have built their strongholds in Kabukicho, but they have disappeared with the times. I wonder if “Kabukicho Manjikai” is one of them. ……
From the December 10, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Takero Kizuna