The biggest syndicate the Yamaguchi-gumi in the mafia in Japan also known as the Yakuza has been dealing with internal discontent for over a year.
According to reports members of the infamous Japanese mafia group were unhappy with leader Shinobu Tsukasa aka “Kenichi Shinoda” and his handling of the gang. This growing discontentment has now led to a split in the Yamaguchi-gumi and the emergence of Japan’s third biggest mob the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi. Leaders of this new Japan mafia group say they decided to leave and form their own group in order to honor the wishing of previous Yamaguchi-gumi leaders.
The newly formed Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi is over six thousand members strong and is only surpassed by the Tokyo based Sumiyoshi-kai and its parent group the Yamaguchi-gumi according to authorities. The new mob in Japan has quickly spread its influence into 36 of the 47 prefectures in Japan. The emergence of this new group has continued to weaken the country’s biggest syndicate the Yamaguchi-gumi, which has seen its membership drop from 23,400 to now just over 14,000 according to reports. The top bosses in the organization have also seen its ranks thin down from 73 to 56.
The split is one of the main reasons for the syndicates recent decline, but the National Police Agency points out the gang has become less popular. A 2015 report claimed the total Yakuza membership which then numbered around 46,900 had fallen by approx 12 percent, leading to it being the lowest figure since 1958. Now police in Japan fear this split could lead to conflicts between the two rival groups. In a state of constant alert they have raided over 150 locations leading to over 200 arrests since last September in an effort to avoid potential problems between the mafia groups.