Yoshinori Watanabe, the previous boss of Japan’s largest yakuza group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, passed away this weekend according to the Hyogo prefectural police. He was the fifth-generation leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi and had rarely appeared in public since retiring or being forced out of power in 2005. He was 71.
... Watanabe was a charismatic leader and a good businessman. By keeping the association dues low and through aggressive gang wars and leveraged peace treaties with rival gangs, he expanded the organization to become Japan’s largest organized crime group; by 2004, the Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters was collecting nearly $25 million per year in association dues alone, according to police files. In the book The Business Management Methods of the Yamaguchi-gumi (2005), by yakuza expert Atsushi Mizoguchi, Watanabe succinctly explains the secret of his organized crime management: “Absolute Unity. Retaliation. Silence. Appropriate rewards and punishments, and judicious use of violence.”
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