When you hear the word ‘mafia’ you probably think of the five families and of Chicago and New York, or of the mafia which controls 13% of the GDP of Italy, or of crazy Russians, but the largest and richest mafia network exists in Japan. The ‘Yakuza’, which roughly translates into ‘Mafia’ in Japanese, is the collective term for several large organised crime groups which have controlled the black economy in Japan for years.
The Yakuza have a history which stretches back hundreds of years and the largest of the families now is the Yamaguchi Gumi which sees annual revenue of over $6bn, making it larger than many corporations on the NASDAQ. Most of that revenue comes from drug trafficking, gambling and extortion rackets.
Crime Lords of Tokyo is a Nat Geo documentary which looks at the history of the Yakuza, meets with real members of the crime syndicate and the law enforcement officers given the job to try and convict them, and discusses the stringent code of conduct which members must abide by if they want to keep all of their body parts.