To become a Yakuza in Night City, one must
rigidly adhere to a set of five tenets:
Never reveal the secrets of the organization.
Never violate the wife or children of another
Do not withhold money from the gang.
Do not fail in obedience to superiors.
Do not appeal to the police or the law.
In Cyberpunk, the word Yakuza translates into
Good for Nothing. It originates from a Japanese
gambling game called Sammai Karuta or Three
Card. Similar to Blackjack, one needs to get
19 points instead of 21. Thus, drawing an
Eight (Ya) Nine (Ku) and Three (Za) you get
20, which was good for nothing. Yakuza originated
in Japan, but have established themselves
whether Japanese corporations have been successful.
Consequently, their influence also exerts
to Night City.
It has been commonly held by the Yakuza, that
there are only two paths they may follow,
prison or death. Based upon the ancient Japanese
principles of Giri Ninjo or strong obligations,
the Yakuza operate in Night City as they have
traditionally done in Japan. The leader is
called an Oyabun, and is granted their power
by the Osaka Clan chiefs personally. These
chiefs are a loose alliance of Yakuza operations
Yakuza rely heavily on the Japanese Bosozuka,
also known as motorcycle gangs, composed of
bloodthirsty cyberware enhanced members. The
Bosozuka are used for indirect intimidation
by the clans, due to their intimate knowledge
of most cities.
The Yakuza also operate several orphanages,
primarily in Japan. It is from here that over
fifty per cent of their membership is recruited,
the organization becoming a surrogate family.
The family aspect of the Yakuza cannot be
overemphasized, as this facet is a recurring
theme in their criminal lifestyle. One of
their rituals is Demukai, a ceremony carried
out when a Yakuza is released from prison.
The gang shows up to greet the them in limousines
and expensive attire, welcoming their own
back into the gang. This is symbolic, in showing
the prison and society, that they were unable
to reform the Yakuza’s convicted brethren.
The Yakuza’s deal in a myriad of activities,
including gambling, transportation, real estate,
night clubs, restaurants, bars, moneylending
and street stalls. While many of these are
considered legitimate activities, the Yakuza
do not hesitate to use underhanded methods
such as intimidation, violence and corruption
to achieve their aims.
Yakuza do not accept failure and have a ceremony
to deter such behaviour. Known as Yubitsume,
or ritual finger cutting, the ceremony is
performed when a Yakuza wishes to apologise
to a superior. A small silver knife is placed
over the finger and the Yakuza leans forward,
their body weight causing the knife to snap
the finger off cleanly. The amputated finger
is then placed in a bottle and sent to the
superior as a gift, albeit in cyberpunk where
one can replace your entire arm quite easily,
this gesture might no longer hold the significance
it once did.
As for Yakuza influence in Night City, it
has increased steadily over the years, although
specifics remain elusive. Following the events
of the Fourth corporate war, it remains unknown
what happened to the Yakuza, although given
that Night City has now discovered the truth
behind the nuclear detonation and Arasaka
are back, it does seem plausible that other
Japanese organizations such as the Yakuza
might also return during the time of the Red
Thank you for Chippin’In.