Punch Perms ( Japanese Afros) Only in Japan

This is an older hair style from 60’s to the 90’s…


A punch perm (パンチパーマ panchi pāma?) is a type of tightly permed male hairstyle in Japan that was popular among yakuza (mafia), chinpira (low-level mafia), bōsōzoku (motorcycle gang members), truck drivers, construction workers, and enka singers, from the 1960s till the mid-1990s. This hair style probably got its name from “needle punch carpeting”, a type of floor covering with a short and tightly curled nap.

The punch perm began to fall out of usage as a result of its general association with the yakuza, as well as normal fashion trends.

A variation of the punch perm that is worn primarily by bōsōzoku is called “aippa”: both sides of the forehead are shaved to create a cross between widow’s peak, an afro, and an exaggerated sculpted early 1960s pompadour.

Another variant is the “iron perm”. While a punch perm is created with rollers and chemicals…

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The Yamaguchi-Gumi which was formed in 1915, is the largest Yakuza Clan in Japan.  Its membership is estimated to be at least 50,000.   Its members make up 45% of the total of all Yakuza in Japan.   This group offers an umbrella organization for small Yakuza families all answering to the Kumicho.  This clan is based out of Kobe, while it has territory throughout Japan, to include Tokyo.

The leader of the Clan is called the Kumicho.  He is the equivalent of a mafia godfather.  There are key differences between the mafia godfather and the Kumicho.  The Kumicho of the Yamaguchi – Gumi to include the current one is the 6th since 1915.  This stability speaks in part to the level of discipline of the clan.   While the Mafia in the U.S. has been effectively disrupted by attacking the leadership with stiff prison sentences, making the position not one to have.  The leadership in Japan has not been attacked in the same manner.

This group is one of the richest underworld gangs in the world earning billions a year. The clan like all the other Yakuza groups have a serious effect on the economy of Japan,  One tactic the Yaks have used has been to buy one share of stock in a company,  than black mail the leadership with threats to disrupt shareholder meetings with dirt about either the leadership or thier dealings.  This is a successful tactic in the conservative country.  It was reported in Christopher Seymours Yakuza Diary,  that the recession of 95 was called the Yakuza recession.  The example cited was of a smaller bank that had folded after having $110 in bad loans, $70 million to organized crime.   This group is also active in traditional organized crime, human trafficking, gambling,extortion, drug dealing, etc….

A documentary from Japan about the Yamaguchi-Gumi, it speaks to the structure of the clan.









I have been doing research for this blog and I have been able to identify a Yakuza enforcer.  The enforcer I can now say is Godzilla.  Godzilla was first sighted in the 50’s during a period when the government tried to crack down on the Tokyo Clan.  The myth that Godzilla was a response to “pollution” was a cover story that the Yakuza put out there with their connections with the media.  Godzillas appearances corresponded with efforts to crack down on the Yakuza.   The employment of a such a devastating weapon speaks to the Yakuza use of overwhelming force on their enemies.

Tattooed Outlaws 2

I think about a time I was in Juvenile hall when I was a kid.  One of the most vibrant memories, and one lasting one was of a Latin King I had breakfast with.  This guy I don’t his name, it was at the time I was new to lock up and scared shitless.  But you gotta front or you gonna get fucked up.  I was a total  15 year-old wanna be for sure.  I was scared, and pretty disturbed, having my freedom restricted.  The idea, of not being able to go to 7 – 11.  That rattled me and made realize how big of a mistake I have made.  I hung with the Kings in my neighborhood, so that dictated that I was gonna ride with the Kings in the Audie Home.  So I’m sitting at a table with the rest of the people,  This  kid probably about 16 was inked up, definitely not following the Yakuza tradition of covering up your ink and not getting an exposed piece.  He had a lot of ink, black and white, no color.  He knuckles were done, He had a massive playing card King Head Profile on his arm which left no doubt what clan he belonged to.   Breakfast that day, to hard-boiled eggs, and oj.  I remember it was difficult to talk, the guards would bust your shit if you represented a gang or got lippy.  We were able to talk in whisper only.  He told me he was from down south.  I told him where I was from, his response was incredulous, like when a tourist comes up to you for directions to something that obvious.    At that time, I felt caged, I looked around at my peers and they were all fucked up, fucked hair, they smelled, they were gone.   I had that moment, when I was forced to look at myself.   I was just like them, in my powder grey pin-stripe baggies and Chuck Taylors.   Did I want this to be my career?  Was I going to be a jail-bird?  I would have to get much harder much quicker.   fortunately, I was released after a nite.   I just recall riding in the backseat of my father’s car, both my parents lecturing, I wasn’t listening to them, I felt a hardness deep in my heart, and I thought about those tattoos….



This is an article discussing the United States government imposing sanctions on Japan, until they crack down on the Yakuza.  The U.S. saying that Yakuza is a direct threat to global capitalism.  The government is developing sanctions against a the Japanese government based upon the openness of the relationship between the Yakuza and government…

The modern current class of Yakuza are under attack from their government and now the international community.  You know as I think about it, the U.S. again are being hypocritical in their foreign policy.  I submit the case of Colombia.  Our government-funded the Government of Uribe extensively through Plan Colombia,  The Government of Alvaro Uribe had extensive ties to Narco Traffickers as well as to their own death squads.  No sanctions for them.  Sorry that was an aside…

As Japan faces the issue of the Yakuza, it will be interesting to see how the Yakuza will adapt their business practices, but I’m confident in the end they will adapt and carry on much as how the American Mafia adjusted and adapted to the crackdown.



So I have to admit this is not my original idea, Yakuza v. Mafia.  It came from a show called “Deadliest Warriors.”   This show compared murdering implements. For the Mafia of the 30’s they had the Tommy Gun, Malotov, Ice Pick, and Baseball Bat, for the Yakuza from the 40’s after the war, they had a Sten Gun, a Si, Porcelain grenade, and a p-38 pistol.   They went through the weapons and their effects, through simulations and scientific tests.   They than took the information and ran it through battle simulations.  The mafia won something like 60% of the time based upon all the factors. They than filmed a simulation.  I am attaching the simulation.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb-eqiyEQ-0

Thats  “science” and all, definitely a Western Bias…  It made me think for me who would win not as Deadliest Warrior, but how about a comparison the most Romantized, sensationalized, fantastic organized crime group..

The first category  Cool Looks–  Now for the Mafia you could go two ways, one matching velour track suit with gold chains or Shark Skin Suit…Yakuza  a black suit and with black tie black sun-glasses….Winner Yakuza

Ultra Secret Bad Guy ceremony  Mafia code of Omerta oath, when executed correctly can be pretty cool bad guy oath.  The new inductees to the Cosa Nostra, are forced to burn a fortune tellers card in their hand as they pledge that they will always be silent of the deeds of the mob, under penalty of death.  ( As far Back as Joe Valachi, has shown it can be broken.)   The Yakuza Yubitsume, finger shortening ceremony.  This being the sign of allegiance to the godfather, by the cutting off of the tip of your pinky finger.   Winner Mafia The Yakuza ceremony is a little harsh…

Ominous bad guy Meal–  This is when the Yakuza or Mafia are approached in movies or on T.V.  shows, they are always eating, now for the Mafia Pasta with marinara and meatballs,  they are always seemed to be eating that meal, with a white handkerchief in thier shirt.   The Yakuza would be eating noodles as well, but with chopsticks, occasionally emphasizing a point by pointing them.   This one is tough, the Mafia member eating the pasta looks more like an evil pig, very effective, it would be funny if they eat health food all the time, but when vic shows up they start eating the pasta… Winner Mafia

This leg of the contest goes to the Mafia.  I will compare more aspects in later issues.

Graveyard of Honor (1975)

This is a good yakuza movie review..

Sadako's Movie Shack

This movie follows the life of an archetypical yakuza thug that rose from the refugee camps of World War II in Tokyo but unlike his peers in the Kawada clan who follow a code of conduct, Rikio Ishikawa follows his own set of rules which puts him on a collision course not only with his own gang but other factions as well. After nearly starting a gang war and then killing his clan’s godfather, he is imprisoned for 18 months and banned from joining any yakuza clan in Tokyo for 10 years. Resurfacing in Osaka after his release from prison and being pulled into the world of drugs by a prostitute, Ishikawa comes back to Tokyo and stirs up a hornets nest between the various gangs in the city. His old clan is none too pleased he’s back in town. Attacking and killing yet another godfather who was once a…

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Anton Kusters

Anton Kusters is a Belgian Photographer who spent two years in Tokyo, Japan among a Yakuza group.  His photos are very well done portraits of this underground society.  I wanted to include these pictures because they are a record of real Yakuza, These are the real deal.  Not a movie.   These photos are from his book Odo Yakuza.   I am attaching his webpage please visit it.   http://www.antonkusters.com/the-yakuza-2nd-edition-book-cover/

yubitsume or you bit sue me?

In my previous post I talked a little about Yubitsume ceremony.   This is a unique to Yakuza sign of loyalty from a soldier to a Don.  This speaks to level of dedication that they have or had.

Yubitsume translates to finger shortening.   What happens is that a soldier who made a mistake,  as sign of respect and toughness, cuts off the tip of his pink finger.  The reason behind this is it makes the handling of a samurai more difficult thus making the soldier more dependant of the clan. The more mistakes he makes more finger parts get cut off.

The manner in which I have seen it done in movies, seems as if it could be the way they did it.  The soldier takes out his handkerchief and puts it on the table.  He than takes a razor-sharp knife out. I have seen them tie a string around the finger to cut off the blood flow.  He than slices the tip-off, with his other hand he picks up the part and he wraps it in his white handkerchief.  He than takes it to the Don, who he would present it to after he had made a mistake.

This ceremony is done less frequently now a days.  I don’t know if the ranks have diluted to punks with no respect to tradition or if it’s just that this practice brands them as Yakuza.   This latter group is now buying prosthetics to cover up their history.  Times are changing and the Yakuza are losing in part their ability to operate in the public light.

What does that say about these soldiers?  Do you think you could do it?  Or a better question what if that was a typical way to handle problems with your boss?  Sorry boss I forgot to ship that document, Ok I’m going to cut my finger off to show remorse for that mistake I made.  Sorry boss, I was on-line playing poker. Chop.  No most people wouldn’t.  Or what if in your personal life? Sorry honey I didn’t take the garbage out. Chop..

Now the finger -shortening is definitely a tradition that no other gangs are following outside of Japan.  Traditions are changing for the Yakuza, They are now ending a tradition that doesn’t fit the new reality.