What Are The Names Of Different Ranks Within The Japanese Yakuza?

Ranks In The Japanese Yakuza 

The ranks that exist in the Japanese Yakuza are very important to the organization. There are a plethora of different classifications within the Yakuza, and some members may subsequently fall into more than one.

Furthermore, people can move up in rank depending on how they prove themselves. 

There are three categories cited for Yakuza members, which include tekiya, bakuto, and gurentai. Tekiya are considered peddlers, bakuto are considered those who enjoy gambling, and gurentai are people who could be compared to thugs. 

What Is The Yakuza?

The origin of the name Yakuza is fascinating, linking back to a card game known as Oicho-Kabu. If you split up the name Yakuza, you would get ya-ku-za, or 8-9-3. In Oicho-Kabu, this would be considered the worst hand you could possibly be dealt. Thus, the name is fitting for an organization that can be very intimidating. 

The organization is made up of men who are often involved in various criminal activities. They are known in Japan, though most people will steer clear to avoid trouble.

The Yakuza is often compared to the Mafia, though they don’t operate in the same ways. 

However, the Yakuza sees themselves as much more than just a simple criminal organization; they see themselves as having ties to the samurais of past ages.

While the Japanese police keep eyes on the Yakuza, they seem to be able to get away with a lot. That said, with it becoming easier than it used to be to enter the Yakuza, the police are becoming more wary of the organization. 

Highest Ranks Within The Japanese Yakuza 

The top rank that exists within the Japanese Yakuza is the Oyabun, who is considered the boss and the head member of the family. The Oyabun is seen as the father figure and guiding force within the Yakuza. 

Underneath the Oyabun is the Kumicho, or the supreme boss, and then there’s the Saiko Komon – senior advisor – and the So-Honbucho – the chief of headquarters. The higher-ups make up the Kanbu, directly under the Oyabun

There are also ranks that are responsible for keeping gangs organized and in line. These ranks are known as Fuku-Honbucho and the Wakagashira, also known as the number two.

Ranks that typically keep tabs on different regions of Yakuza operations include the Shateigashira and their assistant, the Shateigashira-hosu. The Shateigashira also lead the Kyodai, who are the brothers of the organization. 

Lower Ranks In The Japanese Yakuza 

The lowest ranks are the ones that are most populated. This includes the Wakashu, also known as the junior leaders, and the shatei, or the younger brothers.

Made men is the term used for people who have been in the Yakuza for their entire lives and have been able to climb ranks due to their unending dedication to the Yakuza. 

The Yakuza also has a series of other ranks that help them operate the way they do, including Kumicho-Hisho, also known as secretaries. They also have lawyers called Shingiin and accountants called Kaikei

Let’s Ask Shogo Youtube Channel Talks About The Decline Of The Yakuza

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.