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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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015I2SKQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,385 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

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zendicant Pangolin on December 15, 2008
Format: DVD
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 By Netuza on May 27, 2011
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
An extraordinarily limited viewpoint that tells the outsider little about the lives of Yakuza. We don't see them doing any of their real business per se, nothing illegal that is, and very little else of even minor interest. What we do see: the new Yakuza apprentice and his peers very carefully folding napkins and laying them on special napkin-holding plates, arranging cups and saucers and teapots on trays, slowly walking them from room to room, turning about precisely as they open and close doors, setting the table item by item ... doing it another few times on different days ... bowing on the way out while uttering ritual courtesy phrases, soaping the backs of their superiors in bath houses and toweling them dry, smoking on a rooftop, driving the boss around, ritually bowing and speaking in praise of the boss at a New Year's gathering ... are you excited yet? Learned a lot? Looking forward to more? Yeah, same here.

Another day at the office, Yakuza style. They might as well be working for a chicken hatchery or at an ice cream store. The Yakuza boss drones on morosely about declining business and the difficulty of developing talent, but not in a way unique to Yakuza. It's the high point of the movie. But it's not a very high point. If you've been at work all day and want to come home and see somebody else doing more of it, here's your movie. If you think you're going to get anything like an open look into a very closed society, guess again.
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