Fukuoka police hand out anti-yakuza manga to school children


Staff Writer

Police in Fukuoka Prefecture are distributing a manga booklet that aims to steer schoolchildren away from choosing to become a yakuza as a career path.

The southern prefecture is a hotbed of organized crime. It is home to the headquarters of five yakuza syndicates, which law enforcement agencies rate as among the most dangerous.

Last month, the Fukuoka Prefectural Police distributed copies of an anti-yakuza manga brochure to about 780 public libraries and junior high and high schools across the prefecture.

The 20-page leaflet, titled “Konna hazu ja nakatta” (“This is not how it was supposed to be”) carries a stern message: One step into the world of yakuza, and your life is over.

The cartoon depicts the crumbling life of an unnamed schoolboy who has joined a local mafia.

The campaign is one element of the intensifying crackdown on organized crime by Fukuoka police. In the fall, they arrested dozens of senior members of the Kudo-kai, one of the most notorious yakuza clans, on charges such as murder.

The prefectural police originally made the manga available on its website in February 2012. The online version received 285,000 views by the end of last year, far more than anticipated, said official Tetsuya Nishida.

Some pages of the leaflet are targeted not only at schoolchildren but also their parents and teachers, outlining the latest situation regarding Fukuoka-based yakuza syndicates, said Nishida.

He said that the printed product is expected to reach a wider audience than the online manga, including people who do not use the Internet.

The story’s lead character finds himself both coerced into committing crimes and browbeaten by his yakuza seniors. The crimes range from mugging strangers to trafficking drugs and, ultimately, killing a rival gangster. His misdeeds take a devastating toll on his family, leaving his parents debt-ridden and scrambling to flee their neighborhood.

“Becoming a yakuza tormented my family and left me friendless,” the boy says in despair. “Had I not joined the gang, my life would have been much happier.”