- Paperback: 253 pages
- Publisher: Kodansha USA; Reprint edition (July 15, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 4770019483
- ISBN-13: 978-4770019486
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 4.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Confessions of a Yakuza: A Life in Japan's Underworld Paperback – July 15, 1995
"A wonderful storyteller with a variety of unusual experiences." -- Washington Post Book World
"Fascinating ... gang hierarchy, the relationship between the police and the mob, the organization of gambling sessions and of prison life." -- Quadrant
"Packed with colorful details and insights, told straightforwardly without machismo or exaggeration... Important and entertaining." -- Manoa
"This is the kind of history that rarely gets recorded... Interesting, candid, and honest." -- Far Eastern Economic Review
"Vivid and accurate." -- Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Dr. JUNICHI SAGA is a medical doctor with a general practice in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Lake Kasumigaura. He began taping his elderly patients' reminiscences about thirty years ago when he realized what a wealth of detail and information they contained. He has published numerous works of local history and ecology, two of which are available in English: Memories of Wind and Waves and Memories of Silk and Straw. In his spare time he does ink painting.
JOHN BESTER, the translator, is one of the foremost translators of Japanese fiction. In 1990 he was given the first Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature, for his English version of a short-story collection by Yukio Mishima entitled Acts of Worship.
Top Customer Reviews
This Yakuza's confession is a look at Japan during its transition into the industrial age; a time when the country's view of itself as the land of the rising sun was just begining to take on the sinister overtones that led to the second world war.Read more ›
The ex-yakuza in this story, as he tells his tale over the months, knows he is slowly dying. He starts to see the doctor, a general practitioner in a quiet suburban neighborhood, when he realizes that is body is really starting to fall apart. His doctor knows the man's in a bad way, but he replies with optimistic predictions when his patient asks things like, "I don't have much time left, do I?"
Over several visits, the doctor realizes what a hard and amazing life the man has led. He asks to interview him for a book, and the yazuka agrees. The doctor then deals with a range of emotions: a desire even he doesn't understand to record the man's tale and tell it to the world, a sense of urgency due to his knowledge of the man's health, and an awareness of the need not to pester the old man with daily visits and long interviews. (This hesitance may arise from a healthy respect for the still-formidable old man.)
Anyone looking for graphically violent and prurient tales about modern-day Japanese gangsters robbing banks and shooting at each other will be greatly disappointed--although there is some violence. The most fascinating aspect of this novel is its portrayal of how people interacted with each other so much differently back then--ways we would consider cryptic today, hiding their emotions, putting up with insults, acting with almost subservient humility to save face for their companions or organization. Putting on a brave face when faced with amazing adversity.Read more ›
of the best flowing tales with a lot of holes (probably due to the translation of the extended interview the book is based on.) Story does not delve deeply into the "world" of the yakuza but tries to show it on the surface through the story of one of its fringe members. Human interest vice violence
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this book in 2013 or 2014, after learning that Bob Dylan -- a life-time hero of mine and recent Nobel Laureate -- "sampled" ten or so of Mr. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Michael J. Coursey
I enjoyed this read because it was a book of personal recollections of a real life Yakuza. Some of the stories were very charming. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I knew nothing about the Yakuza so found this very interesting. Also insight into life in Japan before WWII.Published 7 months ago by DB
Fascinating account by a Japanese criminal as told to his physician.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you are interested in Japanese culture and history from the point of view of a person, you will like this book.Published 13 months ago by JMW
Bought this as a gift for my bestie, because she loves Japanese gangs and fiction, and she loves it so much!Published 16 months ago by Cassandra Fryxell