The only time I have ever had to deal with a yakuza professionally, he was waving a contract. He appeared at the office with his white shoes and I-am-a-gangster hairstyle claiming that several years ago, my company had joined a corporate-tax study association. The membership agreement stipulated that payment was required for the seminars offered by the group whether anyone attended them or not. He had come to collect the millions of yen in course fees that were supposedly overdue.

This goodfella was able to produce a bit of paper purporting to be a membership application emblazoned with the company's seal. At the time, somebody might have thought it was a good idea to keep abreast of taxes, but nobody ever actually went to the seminars — who wants to hear about corporate taxes after working at a corporation all day? Anyway, the application contained language agreeing to be bound by the terms of membership. These terms were contained in a separate document, one that we were now seeing, doubtless for the first time.

Fortunately, this hood was not a very bright extortionist. Despite claiming monies due under a supposedly valid business contract, he had not bothered to bring an invoice. In fact, he wasn't even clear about exactly how much money we owed. So we sat in a conference room for a spell while he threatened us with multiplication.