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Warsaw 12-06-2007 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sickbadthing
Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"


Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"



Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"



Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"



Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"



Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"



Assassinations shock Mexican musicians


· Death of two singers takes toll into double figures
· No obvious links to the nation's drug cartels

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 6, 2007
The Guardian

Mexican musicians are trying to close ranks after assassins killed two singers in the space of a few hours - following a year in which at least eight others in the profession have died violently.

Sergio Gómez, the leader of the hugely popular K-Paz de la Sierra group, was kidnapped after playing a stadium in the central state of Michoacán on Saturday night. His battered, burned, and strangled body was found dumped on a roadside on Monday. Kayda Peña survived a bullet in the back during an assault on her hotel in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday only to be killed by gunmen later with two shots to the face while being treated in hospital. A female friend and a hotel employee had already died in the initial attack.

Article continues
"We musicians have to unite; we have to work against violence in the music scene," Omar Sánchez, singer of the group Alacranes Musical, told reporters after filing past Gómez's coffin in a Mexico City funeral parlour.

Gómez, also a major figure in the US, played an up-tempo Duranguense style of music. Peña sang Grupera - a hybrid of Latin and Country rhythms performed in cowboy outfits. Both are popular in parts of Mexico caught up in a turf war between rival drug cartels believed to be responsible for more than 2,000 execution-style murders this year, despite a military-led crackdown.

Mexican drug smuggling has long had a musical component, most famously ballads about traffickers' heroic exploits known as narcocorridos. More recently, a wider range of styles have been appropriated by the gangs and their admirers who post them on YouTube to accompany grisly montages of blood-soaked bodies.

Valentin Elizalde's song A Mis Enemigos (To My Enemies) became an anthem for the Sinaloa cartel's battle for supremacy with the Gulf cartel. The singer was killed after a concert he gave in the rivals' territory in November last year.

What is particularly worrying for musicians, who thought keeping a distance from violent themes was tantamount to life insurance, is that neither Peña nor Gómez had any obvious links with the drug subculture. Both were famous for songs about love and heartbreak. And while one of Peña's first hits was titled Tiro de Gracia (the final bullet that kills a tortured victim), the song is actually a crooned requiem for a failed relationship.

Gómez's family, friends and colleagues have also vehemently denied the singer had any link to drugs - a claim repeated by many fans who gathered to send him off both in a tumultuous gathering in Michoacan and in Mexico City. A mass in the capital's cathedral is planned.

As there are no obvious links to the trafficking underworld, speculation in the Mexican media on both deaths has turned to possible love triangles. Yet it is difficult to relegate these well-organised killings to simple crimes of passion. Peña died in an incident reminiscent of the way drug traffickers have, in the past, rescued arrested leaders being treated in hospital following a shoot out with the authorities. Gómez was reportedly kidnapped after his vehicle was stopped in its tracks by 10 SUVs. "They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star travelling with bodyguards," Elijah Wald, author of a book on narcorridos, said. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.'"

http://animatedtv.about.com/library/...s/slStormy.jpg

yoshinobu's revenge 12-06-2007 01:55 AM

If i won a Bose I'd sell it. Fuck Bose.

What brand/make is it?

Warsaw 12-06-2007 01:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yoshinobu's revenge
If i won a Bose I'd sell it. Fuck Bose.

What brand/make is it?

http://www.vrc.org.uk/graphics/2005/80s/smurfs.jpg

sickbadthing 12-06-2007 02:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warsaw

History

[edit] Origins
The "kabuki-mono" were a group that dressed in a somewhat peculiar style and spoke in vulgar specialized vernacular that matched their often abrasive and outrageous behavior.
The "kabuki-mono" were a group that dressed in a somewhat peculiar style and spoke in vulgar specialized vernacular that matched their often abrasive and outrageous behavior.

Despite their notoriety in modern Japan, the precise origin of the Yakuza is still somewhat the subject of debate. The first historical interpretation of their derivation is from the hatamoto-yakko or Kabuki-mono of the 17th century Genroku Era,[2] who were derivative classes of the low-rank hatamoto, which resembled a quarter of the shogun.[3]

Other theories, suggested by the Yakuza members themselves claim their origins are from the machi-yokko, who policed villages by protecting them from the hatamoto-yakko that tried to steal from them, despite their being outmatched by the Hatamoto-yakko in training and strength. Despite their shortcomings, the machi-yakko were regarded as folk heroes similar to those in the stories of Robin Hood, with some groups being made the feature of plays and dramas.[4][5] The derivation from the hatamoto-yakko or Kabuki-mono known for their adoption of strange hair styles and outrageous dress manner refers to a relevant era of the Genroku Period in which kabuki plays, and onnagata were prominent.

Despite the different groups, the majority of the events which led to their inception occurred during the Edo period. As peacetime brought about by the destruction of the Toyotomi Clan ensured the Tokugawa shogunate's role of maintaining peace, shogun retainers were no longer required in their role as soldiers[6] and moved from their own catchment areas to live in feudal castles where their income was determined by their daimyō.

Due to the isolation of Japan and restriction of foreign trade, Japan's agricultural production and domestic trade greatly improved which resulted in the increase of power in the merchant class and the financial dependency of the samurai upon them -- samurai retainers were paid with rice by their daimyō, and then sold in markets as a means of generating their salary.

As natural disasters, famine and tax increases led to the destabilization of the social hierarchy and the decline of morals due to public dissatisfaction with the government, factions of wayward, leaderless samurai known as ronin began to focus their attention from community service towards generating money through theft and violence towards smaller mercantile villages with disparate policing and little feudal control as they presented less-dangerous means of achieving iniquitous money. However, Yakuza that claim origin from the machi-yakko refute their origins from the hatamoto-yakko due to its association with thievery, which is supposedly unpracticed amongst modern Yakuza.

In larger towns, several of these groups often existed simultaneously, and they often fought for territory, money and influence much like modern gangs, disregarding any civilians caught in the crossfire. Again, this is the origin of a popular theme of Japanese film and television, made famous in the West by an Akira Kurosawa film called Yojimbo in which a wandering ronin sets two such gangs against each other and eventually destroys them. Yakuza derived some practices from both machi-yakko and kabukimono. Their protection rackets can be seen as originating from machi-yakko, but their more colorful fashion and language are derived from the kabukimono tradition.

[edit] Divisions of origin

Despite uncertainty about the single origin of Yakuza organizations, most modern Yakuza derive from two classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo Period: tekiya, those who primarily peddled illicit, stolen or shoddy goods; and bakuto, those who were involved in or participated in gambling.[7]

Tekiya (peddlers) were considered one of the lowest of Edo castes. As they began to form organizations of their own, they took over some administrative duties relating to commerce, such as stall allocation and protection of their commercial activities. During Shinto festivals, these peddlers opened stalls and some members were hired to act as security. Each peddler paid rent in exchange for a stall assignment and protection during the fair. The Edo government eventually formally recognized such tekiya organizations and granted the "oyabun" (servants) of tekiya a surname as well as permission to carry a sword. This was a major step forward for the traders, as formerly only samurai and noblemen were allowed to carry swords.

Bakuto (gamblers) had a much lower social standing even than traders, as gambling was illegal. Many small gambling houses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge of towns and villages all over Japan. Most of these gambling houses ran loan sharking businesses for clients, and they usually maintained their own security personnel. The places themselves, as well as the bakuto, were regarded with disdain by society at large, and much of the undesirable image of the yakuza originates from bakuto; This includes the name "yakuza" itself.

Because of the economic situation during the mid-period and the predominance of the merchant class, developing Yakuza groups were composed of misfits and delinquents that had joined or formed Yakuza groups to extort customers in local markets by selling fake or shoddy goods.[7] The roots of the Yakuza can still be seen today in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Although the modern yakuza has diversified, some gangs still identify with one group or the other; For example, a gang whose primary source of income is illegal gambling may refer to themselves as bakuto.

[edit] Post-War Yakuza: Gurentai
This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (September 2007)

As Japan began to industrialize and urbanization got underway, a third group of yakuza called gurentai (*********連隊) began to emerge (though the name gurentai was not given until after World War II). Whether they fall into the traditional definition of yakuza is still open to debate, but they certainly gave birth to another kind of yakuza, the bōryokudan (violence group). In short, a gurentai is a gang in a much more traditional sense, a group of young unruly thugs who peddle their violence for profit. They often engaged in the suppression of unions and other workers' organizations and such activities brought them much closer to the conservative elements of the Japanese power structure. During the militarisation of Japan, some of them became the militant wing of Japanese politics known as uyoku (right wing, 右翼), i.e. ultra-nationalists.

Unlike more traditional yakuza, uyoku did not maintain territories—they leveraged their violence for political gain. The most famous group before World War II was the Kokuryū-kai (黒龍*********), or Black Dragon Society. The Kokuryu-kai was a secret ultra-nationalist umbrella organization whose membership was composed of government officials and military officers as well as many martial artists and members of the Japanese underworld who engaged in political terrorism and assassination. They also provided espionage services for the Japanese colonial government. Kokuryū-kai engaged in contraband operations including the Chinese opium trade, as well as prostitution and gambling overseas which provided them with funds as well as information.

During the post-War rationing, the yakuza controlled the black market much in line with traditional tekiya operations. At the same time, they also moved into controlling major sea ports as well as the entertainment industry. The biggest yakuza umbrella group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, emerged in the Kansai region, which had a large entertainment industry in the city of Osaka as well as a major sea port in Kobe. American occupation forces fought against them in vain and conceded defeat in 1950. Yakuza also adapted to a more western style, including wearing clothing reminiscent of US gangsters, and began to use firearms. At this point, tekiya and bakuto no longer confined themselves to their traditional activities and expanded into any venture they found profitable. At the same time gurentai began to adopt traditional roles of tekiya and bakuto. They also began to feud among themselves, jockeying for power and prestige.

In the 1960s, Yoshio Kodama, an ex-nationalist, began to negotiate treaties with various groups, first with the Yamaguchi-gumi of Kazuo Taoka and Tōsei-kai of Hisayuki Machii and eventually with the Inagawa-kai. Fights between individual gangs, however, are ongoing.

[edit] The Korean Yakuza
This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (September 2007)
Certain public Japanese bathhouses (sentō) and gymnasiums often openly ban those bearing large or graphic tattoos in an attempt to prevent Yakuza from entering.
Certain public Japanese bathhouses (sentō) and gymnasiums often openly ban those bearing large or graphic tattoos in an attempt to prevent Yakuza from entering.

Main article: Koreans in Japan

Koreans are a prominent part of yakuza, despite or perhaps because Koreans suffer discrimination in Japanese society. Although Japanese-born people of Korean ancestry are a significant segment of the Japanese population, they are still considered resident aliens. But Koreans, who are often shunned in legitimate trades, are embraced by the Japanese yakuza precisely because they fit the group's "outsider" image. The man who paved the way for Koreans in Japanese organized crime was the Korean yakuza godfather Hisayuki Machii.

Born Chong Gwon Yong in 1923 in Japanese-occupied Korea, Machii was an ambitious street hood who saw opportunity in Japan and seized it. After the Japanese surrender, Machii worked with the United States Counter Intelligence Corps, which valued his staunch anti-communist beliefs. While leaders of the Japanese yakuza were imprisoned or under close scrutiny by the American occupying forces, the Korean yakuza were free to take over the lucrative black markets. But rather than trying to rival the Japanese godfathers, Machii made alliances with them, and throughout his career, he remained close to both Kodama and Taoka.

In 1948 Machii established the Tosei-kai (Voice of the East Gang) and soon took over Tokyo's Ginza district, the Times Square of Japan's capital. The Tosei-kai became so powerful in Tokyo that they were known as the "Ginza police," and even the Yamaguchi-gumi's all-powerful Taoka had to cut a deal with Machii to allow that group to operate in Tokyo. Machii's vast empire included tourism, entertainment, bars and restaurants, prostitution, and oil importing. He and Kodama made a fortune on real estate investments alone. More importantly, he brokered deals between the Korean government and the yakuza that allowed Japanese criminals to set up rackets in Korea, a country that had been victimized by the Japanese for many years. Thanks to Machii, Korea became the yakuza's home away from home. Befitting his role as fixer between the underworlds of both countries, Machii was allowed to acquire the largest ferry service between Shimanoseki, Japan, and Pusan, South Korea—the shortest route between the two countries.

In the mid-1960s, pressure from the police forced Machii to officially disband the Tosei-kai. He formed two supposedly legitimate organizations around this time, the Toa Sogo Kigyo (East Asia Enterprises Company) and Toa Yuai Jigyo Kumiai (East Asia Friendship Enterprises Association), which became fronts for his criminal activities. He was widely believed to have helped the Korean Central Intelligence Agency kidnap then-leading Korean opposition leader Kim Dae Jung from a Tokyo hotel (see kidnapping of Kim Dae-Jung). Kim was whisked out to sea where he was bound, gagged, blindfolded and fitted with weights so that his body would never surface. The execution by drowning was abruptly cancelled when aircraft buzzed the ship, and Kim was mysteriously delivered to his neighborhood in Seoul. American intervention is said to have saved his life. A police investigation revealed that Machii's people had rented every other room on the floor of the hotel where Kim had been staying, but Machii was never charged with any crime in connection with kidnapping. Machii "retired" in his 80s and was frequently seen vacationing in Hawaii. He died on September 14, 2002.

Also, Tokutaro Takayama was the kaicho of the Fourth Aizukotetsu yakuza gang. An ethnic Korean, he rose to power as the head of the Kyoto-based gang until his retirement in the 1990s.

[edit] Organization and activities
The Yakuza are a popular subject in films
The Yakuza are a popular subject in films

[edit] Structure

During the formation of the yakuza, they adopted the traditional Japanese hierarchical structure of oyabun-kobun where kobun (*********分; lit. foster child) owe their allegiance to the oyabun (親分; lit. foster parent). In a much later period, the code of "jingi" (仁義, justice and duty) was developed where loyalty and respect are a way of life. The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalized by ceremonial sharing of sake from a single cup. This ritual is not exclusive to the yakuza — it is also commonly performed in traditional Japanese Shinto weddings, and may have been a part of "sworn brotherhood" relationships.

During the World War II period in Japan, the more traditional tekiya/bakuto form of organization declined as the entire population was mobilised to participate in the war effort and society came under strict military government. However, after the war, the yakuza adapted again.

Prospective yakuza come from all walks of life. The most romantic tales tell how yakuza accept sons who have been abandoned or exiled by their parents. Many yakuza start out in junior high school or high school as common street thugs or members of bōsōzoku gangs. Some yakuza "goons" are actually mentally handicapped, but recruited due to their large physiques. Perhaps because of its lower socio-economic status, numerous yakuza members come from Burakumin and ethnic Korean backgrounds. The leadership levels of yakuza gangs usually consist of very sharp, cunning, intelligent men, as the process to rise to the top-levels in the yakuza can be very competitive and Machiavellian.

Yakuza groups are headed by an Oyabun or Kumichō (組*********, family head) who gives orders to his subordinates, the kobun. In this respect, the organization is a variation of the traditional Japanese senpai-kōhai (senior-junior) model. Members of yakuza gangs cut their family ties and transfer their loyalty to the gang boss. They refer to each other as family members - fathers and elder and younger brothers. The Yakuza is populated entirely by men, and there are usually no women involved except the Oyabun's wife who is called "o-nee-san" (お姉さん older sister). Unlike many crime groups, women are sometimes involved in its activities. When the Yamaguchi-gumi (Family) boss was shot in the late nineties, his wife took over as boss of Yamaguchi-gumi, albeit for a short time.

The Yakuza have a very complex organizational structure. There is an overall boss of the syndicate, the kumicho, and directly beneath him are the saiko komon (senior advisor) and so-honbucho (headquarters chief). The second in the chain of command is the wakagashira, who governs several gangs in a region with the help of a fuku-honbucho who is himself responsible for several gangs. The regional gangs themselves are governed by their local boss, the shateigashira. [1]

Each member's connection is ranked by the hierarchy of sakazuki (sake sharing). Kumicho are at the top, and control various saikō-komon (最高顧問, senior advisors). The saikō-komon control their own turfs in different areas or cities. They have their own underlings, including other underbosses, advisors, accountants and enforcers. Those who have received sake from oyabun are part of the immediate family and ranked in terms of elder or younger brothers. However, each kobun, in turn, can offer sakazuki as oyabun to his underling to form an affiliated organisation, which might in turn form lower ranked organisations. In the Yamaguchi-gumi, which controls some 2500 businesses and 500 yakuza groups, there are even 5th rank subsidiary organisations.

[edit] Rituals
A Dowa Yakuza member's "Irezumi" showing a fierce tiger. Often, these tattoos are used to represent a desired or possessed characteristic such as wealth and bravery.
A Dowa Yakuza member's "Irezumi" showing a fierce tiger. Often, these tattoos are used to represent a desired or possessed characteristic such as wealth and bravery.

Yubitsume, or finger-cutting, is a form of penance or apology. Upon a first offense, the transgressor must cut off the tip of his left pinky finger and hand the severed portion to his boss. Sometimes an underboss may do this in penance to the oyabun if he wants to spare a member of his own gang from further retaliation. Its origin stems from the traditional way of holding a Japanese sword. The bottom three fingers of each hand are used to grip the sword tightly, with the thumb and index fingers slightly loose. The removal of digits starting with the little finger moving up the hand to the index finger progressively weakens a person's sword grip. The idea is that a person with a weak sword grip then has to rely more on the group for protection — reducing individual action. In recent years, prosthetic fingertips have been developed to disguise this distinctive appearance. (When the British cartoon Bob the Builder was first considered for import to Japan, there were plans in place to add an extra digit to each of the title character's four-fingered hands to avoid scaring children. The same thing was also considered for the show Postman Pat.) [2]

Many Yakuza have full-body tattoos. These tattoos, known as irezumi in Japan, are still often "hand-poked," that is, the ink is inserted beneath the skin using non-electrical, hand-made and hand held tools with needles of sharpened bamboo or steel. The procedure is expensive and painful and can take years to complete.[8]

Yakuza in prison sometime perform pearlings: for each year spent in prison one pearl is inserted under the skin of the penis.

When yakuza members play Oicho-Kabu cards with each other, they often remove their shirts or open them up and drape them around their waists. This allows them to display their full-body tattoos to each other. This is one of the few times that yakuza members display their tattoos to others, as they normally keep them concealed in public with long-sleeved and high-necked shirts.

Another prominent yakuza ritual is the sake-sharing ceremony. This is used to seal bonds of brotherhood between individual yakuza members, or between two yakuza groups. For example, in August 2005 , the Godfathers Kenichi Shinoda and Kazuyoshi Kudo held a sake-sharing ceremony, sealing a new bond between their respective gangs, the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Kokusui-kai.

[edit] Principal families
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Although yakuza membership has declined following an antigang law aimed specifically at yakuza and passed by the Japanese government in 1992, there are thought to be more than 87,000 active yakuza members in Japan today. Although there are many different Yakuza groups, together they form the largest organized crime group in the world. Most yakuza members belong to four principal families (see below.)
Principal families Description Their Mon (crest)
Yamaguchi-gumi
(六代*********山口組, Rokudaime Yamaguchi-gumi, Yamaguchi-gumi
?) Created in 1915, the Yamaguchi-gumi is the biggest yakuza family with more than 39,000 members divided into 750 clans (thus making up 45% of all yakuza in Japan.) Despite more than one decade of police repression, the Yamaguchi-gumi has continued to grow. From its headquarters in Kobe, it directs criminal activities throughout Japan. It is also involved in operations in Asia and the United States. Shinobu Tsukasa, also known as Kenichi Shinoda, is the Yamaguchi-gumi's current oyabun. He follows an expansionist policy, and has increased operations in Tokyo (which has not traditionally been the territory of the Yamaguchi-gumi.)
Yamabishi (山菱), the Mon of the Yamaguchi-gumi
Yamabishi (山菱), the Mon of the Yamaguchi-gumi
Sumiyoshi-rengo
(住吉*********), sometimes known as Sumiyoshi-kai (住吉*********) The Sumiyoshi-rengo is the second largest yakuza family, with 10,000 members divided into 177 clans. The Sumiyoshi-kai, as it is sometimes called, is a confederation of smaller yakuza groups. Its current oyabun is Shigeo Nishiguchi. Structurally, Sumiyoshi-kai differs from its principal rival, the Yamaguchi-gumi, in that it functions like a federation. The chain of command is more lax, and although Shigeo Nishiguchi is always the supreme oyabun, its leadership is distributed among several other people.
Inagawa-kaï
(稲川*********) The Inagawa-kaï is the third largest yakuza family in Japan, with roughly 7,400 members divided into 313 clans. It is based in the Tokyo-Yokohama area and was one of the first yakuza families to expand its operations to outside of Japan. Its current oyabun is Kakuji Inagawa.
Toua Yuai Jigyo Kummiai (東亜友愛*********業組*********), sometime called Tōa-kai (東亜*********) Founded by Hisayuki Machii in 1948, the Tao Yuai Jigyo Kummiai yakuza family quickly became one of most influential yakuza groups in Tokyo. It is composed of yakuza of Korean origin, and numbers more than 1,000 divided into 6 clans. Its current oyabun is Satoru Nomura.

[edit] Current activities

[edit] In Japan

Much of the current activities of the yakuza can be understood in the light of their feudal origin. First, they are not a secret society like their counterparts of the Italian mafia and Chinese triads. Yakuza organizations often have an office with a wooden board on the front door, openly displaying their group name or emblem. Members often wear sunglasses and colourful suits so that their profession can be immediately recognized by civilians (katagi). Even the way many Yakuza walk is markedly different from ordinary citizens. Their arrogant, wide gait is markedly different from the quiet, unassuming way many Japanese go about their business. Alternatively, Yakuza can dress more conservatively and flash their tattoos to indicate their affiliation when the need arises. On occasion they also sport insignia pins on their lapels. One Yakuza family even printed a monthly newsletter with details on prisons, weddings, funerals, murders, and poems by leaders.

Until recently, the majority of yakuza income came from protection rackets in shopping, entertainment and red-light districts within their territory. This is mainly due to the reluctance of such businesses to seek help from the police. The Japanese police are also reluctant to interfere in internal matters in recognized communities such as shopping arcades, schools/universities, night districts and so on. In this sense, yakuza are still regarded as semi-legitimate organizations. For example, immediately after the Kobe earthquake, the Yamaguchi-gumi, whose headquarters are in Kobe, mobilised itself to provide disaster relief services (including the use of a helicopter), and this was widely reported by the media as a contrast to the much slower response by the Japanese government. For this reason, many yakuza regard their income and hustle (shinogi) as a collection of a feudal tax.

Yakuza are heavily involved in sex-related industries, smuggling pornography from Europe and America into Japan. They also control large prostitution rings throughout the country. In China, where the law restricts the amount of children per household and the cultural preference is for boys, the yakuza can buy unwanted girls for as little as $5,000 and put them to work in the mizu shōbai, which means 'water trade' and refers to the night entertainment business, in yakuza-controlled bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The Philippines are another source of young women. Yakuza trick girls from impoverished villages into coming to Japan, where they would be given respectable jobs with good wages. Instead, they are forced into becoming prostitutes and strippers. Often the girls succumb to the demands of their pimps, since they are earning more money than they ever could in the Philippines. [3]
The alleys and streets of Shinjuku are a popular modern Tokyo Yakuza hangout.
The alleys and streets of Shinjuku are a popular modern Tokyo Yakuza hangout.

Yakuza frequently engage in a uniquely Japanese form of extortion, known as sōkaiya (総*********屋). In essence, this is a specialized form of protection racket. Instead of harassing small businesses, the yakuza harasses a stockholders' meeting of a larger corporation. They simply scare the ordinary stockholder with the presence of yakuza operatives, who obtain the right to attend the meeting by a small purchase of stock. They also engage in simple blackmail, obtaining incriminating or embarrassing information about a company's practices or leaders. Once the yakuza gain a foothold in these companies, they will work for them to protect the company from having such internal scandals exposed to the public. Some companies still ******* payoffs as part of their annual budget.

The Yakuza have a strong influence in Japanese professional wrestling, or puroresu. Most of their interest in wrestling activities and promotions is purely financial. The Yakuza have mostly gotten involved by financially supporting wrestling promotions with fading fortunes, or simple business loans. Many venues used by wrestling (arenas, stadiums, and so forth) are owned or connected to the Yakuza, and as such, when a promotion uses one of their sites, the Yakuza receive a percentage of the gate. The Yakuza as a whole is regarded as a great supporter of both puroresu and MMA. It's not unusual for wrestlers to receive specific instructions on what to do in their matches so as to appeal just to Yakuza members in the crowd. It is thought in Japan that it is safe to say that none of the large wrestling promotions in Japan would fold, because they would be rescued by the Yakuza. The pioneer of wrestling in Japan, Rikidozan, was killed by the Yakuza. WWE wrestler Yoshihiro Tajiri was asked to start a Yakuza gimmick, an offer he quickly refused, fearing that he would be targeted by the real Yakuza. Professional wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara is often referred to as "Kumicho (i.e, "Godfather") and his wrestling promotion was called the Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. He often portrays Yakuza figures as an actor on Japanese television comedies and dramas.

Yakuza also have ties to the Japanese realty market and banking, through jiageya (地*********げ屋). Jiageya specialize in inducing holders of small real estate to sell their property so that estate companies can carry out much larger development plans. Japan's bubble economy of the 1980s is often blamed on real estate speculation by banking subsidiaries. After the collapse of the Japanese property bubble, a manager of a major bank in Nagoya was assassinated, and much speculation ensued about the banking industry's indirect connection to the Japanese underworld.

Yakuza have been known to make large investments in legitimate, mainstream companies. In 1989 Susumu Ishii, the Oyabun of the Inagawa Alliance (a well known Yakuza group) bought US$ 255 million worth of Tokyo Kyuko Electric Railway's stock. [4]

As a matter of principle, theft is not recognised as a legitimate activity of yakuza. This is in line with idea that their activities are semi-open; theft by definition would be a covert activity. More importantly, such an act would be considered a trespass by the community. Also, yakuza usually do not conduct the actual business operation by themselves. Core business activities such as merchandising, loan sharking or management of gambling houses are typically managed by non-yakuza members who pay protection fees for their activities.

There is much evidence of Yakuza involvement in international crime. There are many tattooed Yakuza members imprisoned in various Asian prisons for such crimes as drug trafficking and arms smuggling. In 1997, one verified Yakuza member was caught smuggling 4 kilograms (8.82 pounds) of heroin into Canada. In 1999, Italian-American Mafia Bonnano family member, Mickey Zaffarano, was overheard talking about the profits of the pornography trade that both families could profit from.[9] Another Yakuza racket is bringing women of other ethnicities/races, especially East European[10] and Asian[11] to Japan under the lure of a glamourous position, then forcing the women into prostitution.[citation needed]

Because of their history as a legitimate feudal organization and their connection to the Japanese political system through the uyoku (extreme right-wing political groups), yakuza are somewhat a part of the Japanese establishment. In the early 80s in Fukuoka, a yakuza war spiraled out of control and a few civilians were hurt. The police stepped in and forced the yakuza bosses on both sides to declare a truce in public. At various times, people in Japanese cities have launched anti-yakuza campaigns with mixed and varied success. In March 1995, the Japanese government passed the "Act for Prevention of Unlawful Activities by Criminal Gang Members" which made traditional racketeering much more difficult.

[edit] In America

Yakuza activity in the United States is mostly relegated to Hawaii, but have made their presence known in other parts of the country. The Yakuza are said to use Hawaii as a way station between Japan and mainland America, smuggling crystal methamphetamine into the country and smuggling back firearms to Japan. They easily fit into the local population, since many tourists from Japan and other Asian countries visit the islands on a regular basis. The Yakuza were estimated to control around 90% of the methamphetamine trade in Hawaii as of 1988. They also work with local gangs, funneling Japanese tourists to gambling parlors and brothels.

In California, the Yakuza have made alliances with local Vietnamese and Korean gangs as well as Chinese triads. Yakuza gangsters have also been spotted in Las Vegas and New York City, where they appear to collect finders fees from American mafiosos and businessmen for guiding Japanese tourists to gambling establishments, both legal and illegal. [5]

[edit] In Australia

Yakuza presence in Australia at present is minimal, being restricted mainly to the Gold Coast, Queensland, where Yakuza members go to launder money in Gold Coast Casinos, or to extort money from Japanese businesses (mainly tourism). As it stands, the Yakuza have no known permanent stakes in Australia, but with new anti-gang laws appearing in Japan, some anticipate the Yakuza making plans for a permanent base in Australia, which would bring them into direct confrontation with gangs such as the Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta and the Irish Mob.

Warsaw 12-06-2007 02:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sickbadthing
History

[edit] Origins
The "kabuki-mono" were a group that dressed in a somewhat peculiar style and spoke in vulgar specialized vernacular that matched their often abrasive and outrageous behavior.
The "kabuki-mono" were a group that dressed in a somewhat peculiar style and spoke in vulgar specialized vernacular that matched their often abrasive and outrageous behavior.

Despite their notoriety in modern Japan, the precise origin of the Yakuza is still somewhat the subject of debate. The first historical interpretation of their derivation is from the hatamoto-yakko or Kabuki-mono of the 17th century Genroku Era,[2] who were derivative classes of the low-rank hatamoto, which resembled a quarter of the shogun.[3]

Other theories, suggested by the Yakuza members themselves claim their origins are from the machi-yokko, who policed villages by protecting them from the hatamoto-yakko that tried to steal from them, despite their being outmatched by the Hatamoto-yakko in training and strength. Despite their shortcomings, the machi-yakko were regarded as folk heroes similar to those in the stories of Robin Hood, with some groups being made the feature of plays and dramas.[4][5] The derivation from the hatamoto-yakko or Kabuki-mono known for their adoption of strange hair styles and outrageous dress manner refers to a relevant era of the Genroku Period in which kabuki plays, and onnagata were prominent.

Despite the different groups, the majority of the events which led to their inception occurred during the Edo period. As peacetime brought about by the destruction of the Toyotomi Clan ensured the Tokugawa shogunate's role of maintaining peace, shogun retainers were no longer required in their role as soldiers[6] and moved from their own catchment areas to live in feudal castles where their income was determined by their daimyō.

Due to the isolation of Japan and restriction of foreign trade, Japan's agricultural production and domestic trade greatly improved which resulted in the increase of power in the merchant class and the financial dependency of the samurai upon them -- samurai retainers were paid with rice by their daimyō, and then sold in markets as a means of generating their salary.

As natural disasters, famine and tax increases led to the destabilization of the social hierarchy and the decline of morals due to public dissatisfaction with the government, factions of wayward, leaderless samurai known as ronin began to focus their attention from community service towards generating money through theft and violence towards smaller mercantile villages with disparate policing and little feudal control as they presented less-dangerous means of achieving iniquitous money. However, Yakuza that claim origin from the machi-yakko refute their origins from the hatamoto-yakko due to its association with thievery, which is supposedly unpracticed amongst modern Yakuza.

In larger towns, several of these groups often existed simultaneously, and they often fought for territory, money and influence much like modern gangs, disregarding any civilians caught in the crossfire. Again, this is the origin of a popular theme of Japanese film and television, made famous in the West by an Akira Kurosawa film called Yojimbo in which a wandering ronin sets two such gangs against each other and eventually destroys them. Yakuza derived some practices from both machi-yakko and kabukimono. Their protection rackets can be seen as originating from machi-yakko, but their more colorful fashion and language are derived from the kabukimono tradition.

[edit] Divisions of origin

Despite uncertainty about the single origin of Yakuza organizations, most modern Yakuza derive from two classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo Period: tekiya, those who primarily peddled illicit, stolen or shoddy goods; and bakuto, those who were involved in or participated in gambling.[7]

Tekiya (peddlers) were considered one of the lowest of Edo castes. As they began to form organizations of their own, they took over some administrative duties relating to commerce, such as stall allocation and protection of their commercial activities. During Shinto festivals, these peddlers opened stalls and some members were hired to act as security. Each peddler paid rent in exchange for a stall assignment and protection during the fair. The Edo government eventually formally recognized such tekiya organizations and granted the "oyabun" (servants) of tekiya a surname as well as permission to carry a sword. This was a major step forward for the traders, as formerly only samurai and noblemen were allowed to carry swords.

Bakuto (gamblers) had a much lower social standing even than traders, as gambling was illegal. Many small gambling houses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge of towns and villages all over Japan. Most of these gambling houses ran loan sharking businesses for clients, and they usually maintained their own security personnel. The places themselves, as well as the bakuto, were regarded with disdain by society at large, and much of the undesirable image of the yakuza originates from bakuto; This includes the name "yakuza" itself.

Because of the economic situation during the mid-period and the predominance of the merchant class, developing Yakuza groups were composed of misfits and delinquents that had joined or formed Yakuza groups to extort customers in local markets by selling fake or shoddy goods.[7] The roots of the Yakuza can still be seen today in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Although the modern yakuza has diversified, some gangs still identify with one group or the other; For example, a gang whose primary source of income is illegal gambling may refer to themselves as bakuto.

[edit] Post-War Yakuza: Gurentai
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As Japan began to industrialize and urbanization got underway, a third group of yakuza called gurentai (*********連隊) began to emerge (though the name gurentai was not given until after World War II). Whether they fall into the traditional definition of yakuza is still open to debate, but they certainly gave birth to another kind of yakuza, the bōryokudan (violence group). In short, a gurentai is a gang in a much more traditional sense, a group of young unruly thugs who peddle their violence for profit. They often engaged in the suppression of unions and other workers' organizations and such activities brought them much closer to the conservative elements of the Japanese power structure. During the militarisation of Japan, some of them became the militant wing of Japanese politics known as uyoku (right wing, 右翼), i.e. ultra-nationalists.

Unlike more traditional yakuza, uyoku did not maintain territories—they leveraged their violence for political gain. The most famous group before World War II was the Kokuryū-kai (黒龍*********), or Black Dragon Society. The Kokuryu-kai was a secret ultra-nationalist umbrella organization whose membership was composed of government officials and military officers as well as many martial artists and members of the Japanese underworld who engaged in political terrorism and assassination. They also provided espionage services for the Japanese colonial government. Kokuryū-kai engaged in contraband operations including the Chinese opium trade, as well as prostitution and gambling overseas which provided them with funds as well as information.

During the post-War rationing, the yakuza controlled the black market much in line with traditional tekiya operations. At the same time, they also moved into controlling major sea ports as well as the entertainment industry. The biggest yakuza umbrella group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, emerged in the Kansai region, which had a large entertainment industry in the city of Osaka as well as a major sea port in Kobe. American occupation forces fought against them in vain and conceded defeat in 1950. Yakuza also adapted to a more western style, including wearing clothing reminiscent of US gangsters, and began to use firearms. At this point, tekiya and bakuto no longer confined themselves to their traditional activities and expanded into any venture they found profitable. At the same time gurentai began to adopt traditional roles of tekiya and bakuto. They also began to feud among themselves, jockeying for power and prestige.

In the 1960s, Yoshio Kodama, an ex-nationalist, began to negotiate treaties with various groups, first with the Yamaguchi-gumi of Kazuo Taoka and Tōsei-kai of Hisayuki Machii and eventually with the Inagawa-kai. Fights between individual gangs, however, are ongoing.

[edit] The Korean Yakuza
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Certain public Japanese bathhouses (sentō) and gymnasiums often openly ban those bearing large or graphic tattoos in an attempt to prevent Yakuza from entering.
Certain public Japanese bathhouses (sentō) and gymnasiums often openly ban those bearing large or graphic tattoos in an attempt to prevent Yakuza from entering.

Main article: Koreans in Japan

Koreans are a prominent part of yakuza, despite or perhaps because Koreans suffer discrimination in Japanese society. Although Japanese-born people of Korean ancestry are a significant segment of the Japanese population, they are still considered resident aliens. But Koreans, who are often shunned in legitimate trades, are embraced by the Japanese yakuza precisely because they fit the group's "outsider" image. The man who paved the way for Koreans in Japanese organized crime was the Korean yakuza godfather Hisayuki Machii.

Born Chong Gwon Yong in 1923 in Japanese-occupied Korea, Machii was an ambitious street hood who saw opportunity in Japan and seized it. After the Japanese surrender, Machii worked with the United States Counter Intelligence Corps, which valued his staunch anti-communist beliefs. While leaders of the Japanese yakuza were imprisoned or under close scrutiny by the American occupying forces, the Korean yakuza were free to take over the lucrative black markets. But rather than trying to rival the Japanese godfathers, Machii made alliances with them, and throughout his career, he remained close to both Kodama and Taoka.

In 1948 Machii established the Tosei-kai (Voice of the East Gang) and soon took over Tokyo's Ginza district, the Times Square of Japan's capital. The Tosei-kai became so powerful in Tokyo that they were known as the "Ginza police," and even the Yamaguchi-gumi's all-powerful Taoka had to cut a deal with Machii to allow that group to operate in Tokyo. Machii's vast empire included tourism, entertainment, bars and restaurants, prostitution, and oil importing. He and Kodama made a fortune on real estate investments alone. More importantly, he brokered deals between the Korean government and the yakuza that allowed Japanese criminals to set up rackets in Korea, a country that had been victimized by the Japanese for many years. Thanks to Machii, Korea became the yakuza's home away from home. Befitting his role as fixer between the underworlds of both countries, Machii was allowed to acquire the largest ferry service between Shimanoseki, Japan, and Pusan, South Korea—the shortest route between the two countries.

In the mid-1960s, pressure from the police forced Machii to officially disband the Tosei-kai. He formed two supposedly legitimate organizations around this time, the Toa Sogo Kigyo (East Asia Enterprises Company) and Toa Yuai Jigyo Kumiai (East Asia Friendship Enterprises Association), which became fronts for his criminal activities. He was widely believed to have helped the Korean Central Intelligence Agency kidnap then-leading Korean opposition leader Kim Dae Jung from a Tokyo hotel (see kidnapping of Kim Dae-Jung). Kim was whisked out to sea where he was bound, gagged, blindfolded and fitted with weights so that his body would never surface. The execution by drowning was abruptly cancelled when aircraft buzzed the ship, and Kim was mysteriously delivered to his neighborhood in Seoul. American intervention is said to have saved his life. A police investigation revealed that Machii's people had rented every other room on the floor of the hotel where Kim had been staying, but Machii was never charged with any crime in connection with kidnapping. Machii "retired" in his 80s and was frequently seen vacationing in Hawaii. He died on September 14, 2002.

Also, Tokutaro Takayama was the kaicho of the Fourth Aizukotetsu yakuza gang. An ethnic Korean, he rose to power as the head of the Kyoto-based gang until his retirement in the 1990s.

[edit] Organization and activities
The Yakuza are a popular subject in films
The Yakuza are a popular subject in films

[edit] Structure

During the formation of the yakuza, they adopted the traditional Japanese hierarchical structure of oyabun-kobun where kobun (*********分; lit. foster child) owe their allegiance to the oyabun (親分; lit. foster parent). In a much later period, the code of "jingi" (仁義, justice and duty) was developed where loyalty and respect are a way of life. The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalized by ceremonial sharing of sake from a single cup. This ritual is not exclusive to the yakuza — it is also commonly performed in traditional Japanese Shinto weddings, and may have been a part of "sworn brotherhood" relationships.

During the World War II period in Japan, the more traditional tekiya/bakuto form of organization declined as the entire population was mobilised to participate in the war effort and society came under strict military government. However, after the war, the yakuza adapted again.

Prospective yakuza come from all walks of life. The most romantic tales tell how yakuza accept sons who have been abandoned or exiled by their parents. Many yakuza start out in junior high school or high school as common street thugs or members of bōsōzoku gangs. Some yakuza "goons" are actually mentally handicapped, but recruited due to their large physiques. Perhaps because of its lower socio-economic status, numerous yakuza members come from Burakumin and ethnic Korean backgrounds. The leadership levels of yakuza gangs usually consist of very sharp, cunning, intelligent men, as the process to rise to the top-levels in the yakuza can be very competitive and Machiavellian.

Yakuza groups are headed by an Oyabun or Kumichō (組*********, family head) who gives orders to his subordinates, the kobun. In this respect, the organization is a variation of the traditional Japanese senpai-kōhai (senior-junior) model. Members of yakuza gangs cut their family ties and transfer their loyalty to the gang boss. They refer to each other as family members - fathers and elder and younger brothers. The Yakuza is populated entirely by men, and there are usually no women involved except the Oyabun's wife who is called "o-nee-san" (お姉さん older sister). Unlike many crime groups, women are sometimes involved in its activities. When the Yamaguchi-gumi (Family) boss was shot in the late nineties, his wife took over as boss of Yamaguchi-gumi, albeit for a short time.

The Yakuza have a very complex organizational structure. There is an overall boss of the syndicate, the kumicho, and directly beneath him are the saiko komon (senior advisor) and so-honbucho (headquarters chief). The second in the chain of command is the wakagashira, who governs several gangs in a region with the help of a fuku-honbucho who is himself responsible for several gangs. The regional gangs themselves are governed by their local boss, the shateigashira. [1]

Each member's connection is ranked by the hierarchy of sakazuki (sake sharing). Kumicho are at the top, and control various saikō-komon (最高顧問, senior advisors). The saikō-komon control their own turfs in different areas or cities. They have their own underlings, including other underbosses, advisors, accountants and enforcers. Those who have received sake from oyabun are part of the immediate family and ranked in terms of elder or younger brothers. However, each kobun, in turn, can offer sakazuki as oyabun to his underling to form an affiliated organisation, which might in turn form lower ranked organisations. In the Yamaguchi-gumi, which controls some 2500 businesses and 500 yakuza groups, there are even 5th rank subsidiary organisations.

[edit] Rituals
A Dowa Yakuza member's "Irezumi" showing a fierce tiger. Often, these tattoos are used to represent a desired or possessed characteristic such as wealth and bravery.
A Dowa Yakuza member's "Irezumi" showing a fierce tiger. Often, these tattoos are used to represent a desired or possessed characteristic such as wealth and bravery.

Yubitsume, or finger-cutting, is a form of penance or apology. Upon a first offense, the transgressor must cut off the tip of his left pinky finger and hand the severed portion to his boss. Sometimes an underboss may do this in penance to the oyabun if he wants to spare a member of his own gang from further retaliation. Its origin stems from the traditional way of holding a Japanese sword. The bottom three fingers of each hand are used to grip the sword tightly, with the thumb and index fingers slightly loose. The removal of digits starting with the little finger moving up the hand to the index finger progressively weakens a person's sword grip. The idea is that a person with a weak sword grip then has to rely more on the group for protection — reducing individual action. In recent years, prosthetic fingertips have been developed to disguise this distinctive appearance. (When the British cartoon Bob the Builder was first considered for import to Japan, there were plans in place to add an extra digit to each of the title character's four-fingered hands to avoid scaring children. The same thing was also considered for the show Postman Pat.) [2]

Many Yakuza have full-body tattoos. These tattoos, known as irezumi in Japan, are still often "hand-poked," that is, the ink is inserted beneath the skin using non-electrical, hand-made and hand held tools with needles of sharpened bamboo or steel. The procedure is expensive and painful and can take years to complete.[8]

Yakuza in prison sometime perform pearlings: for each year spent in prison one pearl is inserted under the skin of the penis.

When yakuza members play Oicho-Kabu cards with each other, they often remove their shirts or open them up and drape them around their waists. This allows them to display their full-body tattoos to each other. This is one of the few times that yakuza members display their tattoos to others, as they normally keep them concealed in public with long-sleeved and high-necked shirts.

Another prominent yakuza ritual is the sake-sharing ceremony. This is used to seal bonds of brotherhood between individual yakuza members, or between two yakuza groups. For example, in August 2005 , the Godfathers Kenichi Shinoda and Kazuyoshi Kudo held a sake-sharing ceremony, sealing a new bond between their respective gangs, the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Kokusui-kai.

[edit] Principal families
This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (September 2007)

Although yakuza membership has declined following an antigang law aimed specifically at yakuza and passed by the Japanese government in 1992, there are thought to be more than 87,000 active yakuza members in Japan today. Although there are many different Yakuza groups, together they form the largest organized crime group in the world. Most yakuza members belong to four principal families (see below.)
Principal families Description Their Mon (crest)
Yamaguchi-gumi
(六代*********山口組, Rokudaime Yamaguchi-gumi, Yamaguchi-gumi
?) Created in 1915, the Yamaguchi-gumi is the biggest yakuza family with more than 39,000 members divided into 750 clans (thus making up 45% of all yakuza in Japan.) Despite more than one decade of police repression, the Yamaguchi-gumi has continued to grow. From its headquarters in Kobe, it directs criminal activities throughout Japan. It is also involved in operations in Asia and the United States. Shinobu Tsukasa, also known as Kenichi Shinoda, is the Yamaguchi-gumi's current oyabun. He follows an expansionist policy, and has increased operations in Tokyo (which has not traditionally been the territory of the Yamaguchi-gumi.)
Yamabishi (山菱), the Mon of the Yamaguchi-gumi
Yamabishi (山菱), the Mon of the Yamaguchi-gumi
Sumiyoshi-rengo
(住吉*********), sometimes known as Sumiyoshi-kai (住吉*********) The Sumiyoshi-rengo is the second largest yakuza family, with 10,000 members divided into 177 clans. The Sumiyoshi-kai, as it is sometimes called, is a confederation of smaller yakuza groups. Its current oyabun is Shigeo Nishiguchi. Structurally, Sumiyoshi-kai differs from its principal rival, the Yamaguchi-gumi, in that it functions like a federation. The chain of command is more lax, and although Shigeo Nishiguchi is always the supreme oyabun, its leadership is distributed among several other people.
Inagawa-kaï
(稲川*********) The Inagawa-kaï is the third largest yakuza family in Japan, with roughly 7,400 members divided into 313 clans. It is based in the Tokyo-Yokohama area and was one of the first yakuza families to expand its operations to outside of Japan. Its current oyabun is Kakuji Inagawa.
Toua Yuai Jigyo Kummiai (東亜友愛*********業組*********), sometime called Tōa-kai (東亜*********) Founded by Hisayuki Machii in 1948, the Tao Yuai Jigyo Kummiai yakuza family quickly became one of most influential yakuza groups in Tokyo. It is composed of yakuza of Korean origin, and numbers more than 1,000 divided into 6 clans. Its current oyabun is Satoru Nomura.

[edit] Current activities

[edit] In Japan

Much of the current activities of the yakuza can be understood in the light of their feudal origin. First, they are not a secret society like their counterparts of the Italian mafia and Chinese triads. Yakuza organizations often have an office with a wooden board on the front door, openly displaying their group name or emblem. Members often wear sunglasses and colourful suits so that their profession can be immediately recognized by civilians (katagi). Even the way many Yakuza walk is markedly different from ordinary citizens. Their arrogant, wide gait is markedly different from the quiet, unassuming way many Japanese go about their business. Alternatively, Yakuza can dress more conservatively and flash their tattoos to indicate their affiliation when the need arises. On occasion they also sport insignia pins on their lapels. One Yakuza family even printed a monthly newsletter with details on prisons, weddings, funerals, murders, and poems by leaders.

Until recently, the majority of yakuza income came from protection rackets in shopping, entertainment and red-light districts within their territory. This is mainly due to the reluctance of such businesses to seek help from the police. The Japanese police are also reluctant to interfere in internal matters in recognized communities such as shopping arcades, schools/universities, night districts and so on. In this sense, yakuza are still regarded as semi-legitimate organizations. For example, immediately after the Kobe earthquake, the Yamaguchi-gumi, whose headquarters are in Kobe, mobilised itself to provide disaster relief services (including the use of a helicopter), and this was widely reported by the media as a contrast to the much slower response by the Japanese government. For this reason, many yakuza regard their income and hustle (shinogi) as a collection of a feudal tax.

Yakuza are heavily involved in sex-related industries, smuggling pornography from Europe and America into Japan. They also control large prostitution rings throughout the country. In China, where the law restricts the amount of children per household and the cultural preference is for boys, the yakuza can buy unwanted girls for as little as $5,000 and put them to work in the mizu shōbai, which means 'water trade' and refers to the night entertainment business, in yakuza-controlled bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The Philippines are another source of young women. Yakuza trick girls from impoverished villages into coming to Japan, where they would be given respectable jobs with good wages. Instead, they are forced into becoming prostitutes and strippers. Often the girls succumb to the demands of their pimps, since they are earning more money than they ever could in the Philippines. [3]
The alleys and streets of Shinjuku are a popular modern Tokyo Yakuza hangout.
The alleys and streets of Shinjuku are a popular modern Tokyo Yakuza hangout.

Yakuza frequently engage in a uniquely Japanese form of extortion, known as sōkaiya (総*********屋). In essence, this is a specialized form of protection racket. Instead of harassing small businesses, the yakuza harasses a stockholders' meeting of a larger corporation. They simply scare the ordinary stockholder with the presence of yakuza operatives, who obtain the right to attend the meeting by a small purchase of stock. They also engage in simple blackmail, obtaining incriminating or embarrassing information about a company's practices or leaders. Once the yakuza gain a foothold in these companies, they will work for them to protect the company from having such internal scandals exposed to the public. Some companies still ******* payoffs as part of their annual budget.

The Yakuza have a strong influence in Japanese professional wrestling, or puroresu. Most of their interest in wrestling activities and promotions is purely financial. The Yakuza have mostly gotten involved by financially supporting wrestling promotions with fading fortunes, or simple business loans. Many venues used by wrestling (arenas, stadiums, and so forth) are owned or connected to the Yakuza, and as such, when a promotion uses one of their sites, the Yakuza receive a percentage of the gate. The Yakuza as a whole is regarded as a great supporter of both puroresu and MMA. It's not unusual for wrestlers to receive specific instructions on what to do in their matches so as to appeal just to Yakuza members in the crowd. It is thought in Japan that it is safe to say that none of the large wrestling promotions in Japan would fold, because they would be rescued by the Yakuza. The pioneer of wrestling in Japan, Rikidozan, was killed by the Yakuza. WWE wrestler Yoshihiro Tajiri was asked to start a Yakuza gimmick, an offer he quickly refused, fearing that he would be targeted by the real Yakuza. Professional wrestler Yoshiaki Fujiwara is often referred to as "Kumicho (i.e, "Godfather") and his wrestling promotion was called the Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. He often portrays Yakuza figures as an actor on Japanese television comedies and dramas.

Yakuza also have ties to the Japanese realty market and banking, through jiageya (地*********げ屋). Jiageya specialize in inducing holders of small real estate to sell their property so that estate companies can carry out much larger development plans. Japan's bubble economy of the 1980s is often blamed on real estate speculation by banking subsidiaries. After the collapse of the Japanese property bubble, a manager of a major bank in Nagoya was assassinated, and much speculation ensued about the banking industry's indirect connection to the Japanese underworld.

Yakuza have been known to make large investments in legitimate, mainstream companies. In 1989 Susumu Ishii, the Oyabun of the Inagawa Alliance (a well known Yakuza group) bought US$ 255 million worth of Tokyo Kyuko Electric Railway's stock. [4]

As a matter of principle, theft is not recognised as a legitimate activity of yakuza. This is in line with idea that their activities are semi-open; theft by definition would be a covert activity. More importantly, such an act would be considered a trespass by the community. Also, yakuza usually do not conduct the actual business operation by themselves. Core business activities such as merchandising, loan sharking or management of gambling houses are typically managed by non-yakuza members who pay protection fees for their activities.

There is much evidence of Yakuza involvement in international crime. There are many tattooed Yakuza members imprisoned in various Asian prisons for such crimes as drug trafficking and arms smuggling. In 1997, one verified Yakuza member was caught smuggling 4 kilograms (8.82 pounds) of heroin into Canada. In 1999, Italian-American Mafia Bonnano family member, Mickey Zaffarano, was overheard talking about the profits of the pornography trade that both families could profit from.[9] Another Yakuza racket is bringing women of other ethnicities/races, especially East European[10] and Asian[11] to Japan under the lure of a glamourous position, then forcing the women into prostitution.[citation needed]

Because of their history as a legitimate feudal organization and their connection to the Japanese political system through the uyoku (extreme right-wing political groups), yakuza are somewhat a part of the Japanese establishment. In the early 80s in Fukuoka, a yakuza war spiraled out of control and a few civilians were hurt. The police stepped in and forced the yakuza bosses on both sides to declare a truce in public. At various times, people in Japanese cities have launched anti-yakuza campaigns with mixed and varied success. In March 1995, the Japanese government passed the "Act for Prevention of Unlawful Activities by Criminal Gang Members" which made traditional racketeering much more difficult.

[edit] In America

Yakuza activity in the United States is mostly relegated to Hawaii, but have made their presence known in other parts of the country. The Yakuza are said to use Hawaii as a way station between Japan and mainland America, smuggling crystal methamphetamine into the country and smuggling back firearms to Japan. They easily fit into the local population, since many tourists from Japan and other Asian countries visit the islands on a regular basis. The Yakuza were estimated to control around 90% of the methamphetamine trade in Hawaii as of 1988. They also work with local gangs, funneling Japanese tourists to gambling parlors and brothels.

In California, the Yakuza have made alliances with local Vietnamese and Korean gangs as well as Chinese triads. Yakuza gangsters have also been spotted in Las Vegas and New York City, where they appear to collect finders fees from American mafiosos and businessmen for guiding Japanese tourists to gambling establishments, both legal and illegal. [5]

[edit] In Australia

Yakuza presence in Australia at present is minimal, being restricted mainly to the Gold Coast, Queensland, where Yakuza members go to launder money in Gold Coast Casinos, or to extort money from Japanese businesses (mainly tourism). As it stands, the Yakuza have no known permanent stakes in Australia, but with new anti-gang laws appearing in Japan, some anticipate the Yakuza making plans for a permanent base in Australia, which would bring them into direct confrontation with gangs such as the Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta and the Irish Mob.

http://www.davelgil.com/korea/smurf.jpg

sickbadthing 12-06-2007 02:05 AM

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sickbadthing 12-06-2007 02:06 AM

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sickbadthing 12-06-2007 02:07 AM

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Warsaw 12-06-2007 02:11 AM


Fattening Ass 12-06-2007 02:12 AM

that baby has shit on its head

sickbadthing 12-06-2007 02:13 AM

hey wait guys. this thread sucks.

zsp77 12-09-2007 02:53 AM

Hey, that's it motherfuckers!

zsp77 12-10-2007 05:22 PM

Oh yeah, and I just also won an Ipod Nano! It's gonna plug right into a port on the Home Theatre System! lol

tcm 12-10-2007 05:32 PM

'grats, man.

TheMilstead 12-10-2007 05:34 PM


TheMilstead 12-10-2007 05:34 PM

CAN'T STOP ADDICTED TO THE SHINDIG

tcm 12-10-2007 05:36 PM

btw... last time i got a new system, first song played on it was Everything In Its Right Place... dunno what it might be next time, i am pretty subject to my own whims.

aurel 12-11-2007 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zsp77
Oh yeah, and I just also won an Ipod Nano! It's gonna plug right into a port on the Home Theatre System! lol

lol? LOL? lol.

Mo 12-11-2007 09:02 AM

You are all so not funny.

topleybird 12-12-2007 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zsp77
Turns out, I work in sales,

Congratulations on discovering you have a job! What did they say when you finally showed up sober enough to be aware of your surroundings?

aurel 12-12-2007 02:42 PM

That must be why they gave him the nano. That and the fact that against all odds it can be plugged directly into the audio system. What are the fuckin' chances.

BlissedandGone2 12-12-2007 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nimrod's Son
Since it's the holiday season, I would probably donate it to someone who could use it a lot more than I could

Greedy bastard

:rock_on:


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