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.


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