As hard as it is to explain to anybody on the outside who has no idea who I am, what I do, or anything I'm involved in, it's almost an understatement to say that "yakuza" became something of an on-brand identity for me this past year. For starters (and this is going to sound absolutely ludicrous), I was pretty deeply involved in a very public conversation about an American anime voice actor who had allegedly been involved in numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations over the last few decades. When a Japanese friend of mine saw my Twitter feed and was beginning to grow concerned about some of the horrendous things she was seeing not only about the actor but about his vitriolic and vengeful fan base that she didn't necessarily understand, I made the mistake of responding to her tweets to me in Japanese briefly explaining the situation I was going through. From there, that fan base began spinning the narrative to say that I was slandering the actor's name to Japan, and that--even more absurdly--surely by me speaking such ills of this actor in another language, I have incited the rage of the Japanese crime syndicate, the yakuza.
"Toni Cipriani was an Italian mobster who had lived in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, for some time. Strategizing his way to supremacy, Toni had been quietly keeping tabs on the likes of Niko Belic and the metro booming Rasta, Little Jacob. The knowledge Toni Cipriani had gathered on the two underworld bosses would allow Toni to destroy the history of the Rastafarian and the Siberian. Word on the streets, the Colombian Cartel run by Mr. Montana had been quiet in recent events as well."
"Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other," Eric Burdon once said.
Last year in the month of August, when I was traveling to help a Christian girl, who was abducted by a brick kiln factory contractor, I received a phone call from one Dr. Qaisar, who introduced himself as a Project Director for Pakistan China relationship. He told me he has been appointed in the department that connects the Chinese boys and Pakistani Christian girls for marriage. He asked me to identify the Pakistani Christian girls who are willing to marry Chinese boys.
Scarface. Growing Up Gotti. The Godfather. West Side Story. A Bronx Tale. Fuggetaboutit...
When you read about killer cults and dangerous cult leaders like Charles Manson, it’s hard not to be fascinated. The kind of experiences that people have when they’re in cults are surreal, terrifying, and push the limit of what the human experience is defined as.
While women are an often-overlooked minority when it comes to gang activity, there are actually many female gang members both presently and historically active. Some aspects of gang life are more or less the same for male and female gang members, while other aspects may be very different for women than for men. As gang activity in the United States continues to rise, so does the number of women involved in gang violence and crime, as victims, perpetrators, and often both. But the unfortunate truth is, just as for men, women involved in gangs are often involved for life, whether they want to or not. Gang involvement is far from a minor problem for women, and very few gangs, in reality, are all-male gangs.
The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Sopranos... whatever combination of media you get your Mafia information from, you're probably not entirely correct. Sometimes, these tales hew very close to the truth. Even when they do though, organized crime is constantly changing, moving, and evolving. What might have been true at one time, in one place, may not be a hard rule of the game. Our fascination with organized crime has led to a multitude of media productions that depict the group in particular ways, ingraining certain myths about the Mafia into our heads.
One of the most prolific serial killers you have probably never heard of went by at least three nicknames: “the Polack”, “Big Rich” and “The Iceman” for his disturbing practice of freezing some of his victims in order to confuse the investigation into the time of death. This man's name was Richard Kuklinski, and by all exterior accounts he lived a fairly normal, upper-middle-class lifestyle with a wife and a couple of kids in New Jersey. Kuklinski claims to have had as many as 200 victims, and even claims to have murdered Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa. You see, Richard Kuklinski lived a double life. Family man by day, and Mafia hitman the rest of the time.
The Italian mafia, something that thousands of people are familiar with thanks to the popular movies such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and the TV show the Sopranos. Yet the Italian mafia is anything but pure fiction. It was, in fact, very real, and contrary to popular belief, started not in New York City, which would later be home to the five families, but instead, the Italian Mafia first set foot in America down south in New Orleans, Louisiana.
(Based upon a true story.)
An Offer You Can’t Refuse