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Young Yakuza (2007)

Naoki Watanabe , Chiyozo Ishii , Jean-Pierre Limosin  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Young Yakuza
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Product Details

  • Actors: Naoki Watanabe, Chiyozo Ishii, Hideyuki Ishii
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Limosin
  • Writers: Jean-Pierre Limosin
  • Producers: Christian Baute, Hengameh Panahi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Cinema Epoch
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015I2SKQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,665 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Young Yakuza" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This story, based on real events, explores the secret world of Japanese organized crime, called the Yakuza. Young Naoki is a failure at school, work and in his personal life and is caught up in a wave of juvenile delinquency. His mother, driven by shame and despair, is reunited with an old friend who offers to introduce her son into the ranks of the Yakuza. Naoki’s news boss takes him under his wing. The Kumagai crime organization, confronted by new trends facing Japan, feels that the Yakuza is being edged out of modern society. Divided by loyalties to his mother and to his new "family," Naoki will have to choose between the light and the dark.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very strong three stars for this documentary December 15, 2008
This is an odd film, compelling but odd. I have no idea how it was done but the director of this film was able to gain access to a minor Yakuza crime family from the Shinagawa section of Tokyo (one of the promises made between the director and the yakuza boss was that only the legitimate aspects of the yakuza life could be portrayed, ie nothing illegal, no violence, etc).
The movie begins with the introduction of a ne'er do well young man, age 20, to a Yakuza apprenticeship that is to last one year. In between literal albeit stylized depictions of his everyday life as he learns to become a Yakuza are interviews with the Yakuza boss and scenes of him conducting business.
The Yakuza boss himself is more fascinating than the apprentice by far. Most of his musings involve the increasing strictures upon the gangs in Japan and also the deleterious effect of modernity upon an ages old institution. (Interesting aside about alterity: The man is a Roman Catholic in a country where Christianity is a tiny minority).
Although compelling, the movie doesn't contain any action to speak of, nor any commentary. So one is left to figure out that the the jolly gaijin who appears midway through is actually the Yakuza's confessor and priest who was sent for to arrange to have blessings said in the boss's name. This being deemed necessary, one surmises because of his precipitous fall in the gang hierarchy, "I am nothing now, because I put my job on the line" he comments.
Nothing is said about the circumstances surrounding this calamitous set back, only that he must now try to rebuild an organization.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The shadow of Japanese stoicism May 27, 2011
By Netuza
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I rate this documentary 5 stars for bringing to light the essence of the yakuza spirit: giri. Although the initial focal point Naoki (the apprentice) is lost with his sudden undeclared departure, the boss of the Kumagai clan Masatoshi Kumagai becomes an unparalleled protagonist who shares with the viewer his reflections on his role as a non-blood-parental figure of the clan members: to show affection in a contained, expressionless, and stoic way. I disagree with those who believe that the documentary 'lost steam.' Naoki reappears almost at the end, showing his directionless existence in between worlds (the underworld and the mainstream society). The documentary portrays aspects of the contemporary Japanese society that are little known. It breaks stereotypes, and challenges the Western expectation of a linear progression of a film. I applaud Limosin's work.
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Format:Amazon Instant Video
I am a grad student in Economics who is interested in Japanese society and culture. One great virtue of this documentary of this movie is that you can see the nonviolent aspect of Yakuza's daily operation. Although this is no essential accounts of the business model of Yakuza, since there is probably agreement between the director and the Yakuza that nothing in this movie shall have the nature of evidence of crimes, from a cultural perspective, these daily operations, the codes of conducts, the rituals are enlightening.

You may read further for the boss, Masatoshi Kumagai's wikipedia page, as well as an interview of him by the french business magazine, L'Expansion". The article is titled, We Have To Evolve Our Business Model".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real Life Yakuza December 20, 2010
Yes, the main character leaves the Yakuza before we get to see him fully initiated. But this real life, which is impossible for a director to predict. If you want action, this film is not for you. If you want a realistic image of the modern Yakuza, then check it out.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique view June 17, 2008
By Aslg
Young Yakuza is that unique blend of reality show and Godfather-esque drama. An insightful look at the underworld of Japan and how the modern world has changed the world of the Japanese Mafia.

There is an oddness to the relationship between young Naoki and the mob boss Kumagai is an odd one, but touching at the same time. Perhaps it takes a foreign director, in this case French auteur Jean-Pierre Limosin, to have the objectivity to tell this story in this manner.
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