Saturday, December 3, 2011

Anti-Yakuza Laws Begin to Bite VI - Movie Studio Toei Cuts Yakuza Links

In their movies, if Toei Studios Kyoto tried to break off ties with the yakuza organized crime syndicates, the story wouldn't have a happy ending.

But in this real-life drama, the movie company announced on Nov. 21 that it will not have any further social or professional connections to the yakuza.

"Eradication of gangsters is a social requirement," a Toei Studios Kyoto official said. "Even if we make yakuza movies, we will be committed to not having relations with them in real life."

The company, which has produced popular gangster movies including the "Jingi Naki Tatakai" (Battle Without Honor and Humanity) series, said its employees will not attend parties held by crime organizations and not accept illegal requests for money.

According to sources related to the film-making industry, Toei Studios Kyoto staff members solicited advice from yakuza members in regards to movies in the past that needed some realism.

On Nov. 21, however, about 50 actors, actresses and production staff promised not to do so again.
They vowed to "not be afraid of," "not to give money to" or "not to take advantage of" gangsters.
On their part, some yakuza syndicates are trying to distance themselves from society.

Yamaguchi-gumi, a Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture-based organized crime syndicate and the biggest in Japan, said that it will refrain from an annual New Year's visit to the Kobe Gokoku Jinja shrine, according to sources.

In September, Hyogo prefectural police requested in writing that the prefecture's association of Shinto shrines and Gokoku Jinja shrine--a shrine designated as a place for worship for those who died in the war--to not allow the gangsters to visit on New Year's Day.

Yamaguchi-gumi's top officials have been visiting the local shrine near the syndicate's headquarters in Nada Ward every year before dawn on New Year's Day.

"We have not been told of the reason for the syndicate's voluntary restraint," a shrine official said. "But we will not refuse private visits by the members as we respect freedom of religion."

With all prefectures having enacted anti-yakuza ordinances by October, the Association of Shinto Shrines sent a written request to prefectural shrine associations on Nov. 9 requesting that they deal with matters related to the crime syndicates with care.

The Hyogo prefectural association of Shinto shrines decided Nov. 17 to reject group visits and notified the prefecture's 3,800 shrines.

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