The leader of the Sixth Yamaguchigumi, Shinobu Tsukasa, on June 17, had an overwhelming appearance at Shin-Yokohama Station on June 17.FRIDAY Digital published on June 23 under the title “The ‘overwhelming presence’ of Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi head Shinobu Tsukasa who appeared at Tokyo Station” a photograph of the head Shinobu Tsukasa who appeared at Tokyo Station. In it, he is shown strutting around in a suit, guarded by a gang member. He had come to Tokyo to pay his respects at the funeral of Isao Seki, the head of the Sumiyoshi-kai, who passed away at the age of 76 in Tomisato City, Chiba Prefecture.
The July 5 issue of “FLASH” also danced on the front black-and-white page with a photo of the gangster under the title “Outing with plenty of time to spare” In the picture were the members of the Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi, including Shinobu Tsukasa, the boss, dressed in a white jacket and white pants, Kiyoshi Takayama, and Teruaki Takeuchi, the assistant boss.
After arriving at Shin-Yokohama Station on the day in question, the group headed for the headquarters of the Inagawa-kai Yamakawa family in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. They were there to visit Inagawa-kai President Jiro Kiyota.
This “electrifying” visit was reported in weekly magazines and true stories magazines other than “FLASH,” but what is interesting is the photos published in each magazine. This is not the only time that clear photos of these people have appeared in magazines.
Sometimes they are photographed at train stations, as in the case of Shinobu Tsukasa, or on their first visit to a shrine or a gravesite. There are many pictures and videos of gangsters who are sometimes released from prison.
Here is the question.
The people in the organization are so-called underworld people. Wouldn’t they not like to be photographed? Also, what are the conditions like at the scene of the interview? A photographer from a real-life magazine who actually does the interviews was asked.
He said, “I hold the camera and release the shutter just as if I were pointing the camera at a celebrity. In the past, there were times when I would get into trouble and ask for a photo, but now all the magazines just shut up and release the shutter.”
“I am not particularly asked to stop. According to what I have heard, there is a rule in Yamaguchi-gumi that “no one may be interviewed,” and there have been no cases of active members being interviewed. However, I have never been stopped from taking pictures.”
When magazines gather in front of the office for a photo shoot, a gang member who plays a public relations role sometimes comes out to take charge.
Some people think that the reason they are so proud to be in the frame is because they want to make their presence known, but what is really going on?
According to a senior official of a leading organization headquartered in the Kanto region, “Some groups accept having their picture taken but the majority do not.”
“We do reject them, but they still take pictures of their own accord, so we have no choice but to ignore them. I am never happy to have my picture taken.”
There are some gang leaders and gang members who are so meek that they go around showing off photos that have appeared in magazines, but most of them are members of weak organizations.
Such gang members are also the only ones who ask for interviews with magazine companies.
“Recently, we have been receiving requests for interviews from people who say, “A senior member of a certain gang is about to be released from prison, and we would like to take his picture.” We often receive requests to take pictures of so-called fifth- and sixth-tier groups whose names are not popular.”
“It seems that magazines such as Shukan Jitsuwa (True Story magazine), which handles a lot of yakuza articles, go for interviews, but it is difficult to do so for general newspapers. There is no way to report on them,” said a reporter for a photo magazine.
Although “scenes of release from prison” is a common story in Shukan Jitsuwa magazine, general magazines do not cover it unless the person is a famous gang leader or there is some special news to report. The reason why even general magazines have begun to receive requests for interviews is as follows.
“Among the Jitsuwa magazines, there were several magazines that specialized in yakuza articles. However, with the enactment of the Yakuza Exclusion Ordinance and other regulations, the clampdown on anti-social forces, including the yakuza, has become tighter, and at the same time, magazines that carry articles that support the yakuza have come under increased scrutiny.”
“Some of the magazines have been suspended from doing business with banks, and several specialized magazines have ceased publication. The fact that there are no longer any magazines that were willing to cover them has had an impact.”
While some people are disappointed because they no longer have a place to appeal to the public, there are others who do not appreciate having their picture taken.
“Some say that the visit by Tsukasa to President Kiyota “was a good opportunity to show that they can afford to be out front even though they are on high alert (due to the escalation of the war),” or “they wanted to show that they have friendly relations with the Inagawa-kai,” but this is not true.”
“President Kiyota was visited by Tsukasa because he was recovering from his illness. It is not only in the yakuza world, but also in any other world, that people go to visit their friends when they become ill.”
The “powerful” photos of these men make one feel that they are making a strong statement, but they are emphatic that there is nothing appealing about them.
Magazines cover the Yamaguchi-gumi because the public is paying attention to them. Now that there are concerns that the war over the Yamaguchi-gumi will intensify, it is likely that more and more photos of gangsters will appear in magazines.