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Reporter Has Real-Life Yakuza Fact-Check Yakuza 3

Tokyo-based crime reporter Jake Adelstein is no stranger to the Japanese criminal underworld. So when Boing Boing recruited him to pall around with three high-ranking yakuza friends for a little experiment, we were thoroughly impressed. After several rounds of cigarettes and whiskey in the reception area of a “real estate agency” — in fact a front company for the mob — the yakuza bosses were offering Adelstein their impressions of the Playstation 3 video game Yakuza 3, originally released in early 2009.

Two of the gangsters weren’t able to complete the game, perhaps due in part to their missing fingers, but we’ve nonetheless excerpted some of their commentary below:

In order to protect their identities, the video game reviewers were referred to by nicknames. Warning: the excerpts contain NSFW language.

On the environment

Kuroishi: It’s like going back in time. Koma Theater is there, the pink salons, the Pronto Coffee shops, the Shinjuku Batting center, the love hotels.

Shirokawa: You got your salaryman in there, the delinquent school girl and her sugar daddy, Chinese people, and even those Nigerian touts. What’s with all the fucking gaijin (foreigners) in the area anyway? It used to be just Japanese, Koreans and Chinese.

On power-ups

Midoriyama: I like the fact that you power up by eating real food. Shio ramen gives you a lot of power — CC Lemon, not as much. It all makes sense.

S: The breaded pork cutlet bento box is like mega power. More than ramen. That’s accurate.

K: If they had shabu (crystal meth) as a power-up item, that would be realistic. It’s a yakuza game.

M: Can you smoke in the game? I forget. That should be a power-up.
S: Cigarettes and shabu should be in every yakuza game.

On depiction of yakuza

M: The corporate yakuza guys get a thumbs up for realism. Nice suit. Smart. Financially savvy. Obsessed with money. Sneaky and conniving. Ruthless.

S: There are a lot of guys whom I feel like I know. The dialogue is right too. They sound like yakuza.
K: Braggarts, bullies, and sweet-talkers. I agree — it feels like I know the guys on the screen.

On fighting

S: Nobody ever dies. It’s unrealistic.
K: Kiryu is fighting all the time. He’s gotta be a fucking idiot. No yakuza is going to run around getting into fistfights like that. Especially not an executive type. He’ll wind up in jail or in the hospital or dead, maybe even whacked by his own people for being a troublemaker. These days, he’d probably get kicked out before even going to jail. Guys like that start gang wars and nobody wants that now. When a yakuza gets into a fight, it’s serious business.

Read the full post, completely with a wonderfully designed layout, at Boing Boing.

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