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Japan Is Breaking Its Tradition of Having Criminals Hand Out Halloween Candy

That’s right, it is with a heavy heart that we report that the Yamaguchi-gumi—Japan’s international crime syndicate—has just announced they will no longer be giving Kobe’s eager trick-or-treaters any deliciously festive candy.
Photo via Flickr user picsoflife

The world of organized crime is a treacherous one, filled with clandestine dealings, unspeakable violence, and the dashed dreams of many. Yet even this barbarous underworld isn't completely devoid of acts of altruism, as far and few between as they may be.

Which is precisely why we regret to inform you that there shall be no yakuza candy to be had for Halloween this year. That's right, it is with a heavy heart that we report that the Yamaguchi-gumi—Japan's international crime syndicate—has just announced they will no longer be giving Kobe's eager trick-or-treaters any deliciously festive candy.


Which brings to mind the following question: Does the Japanese mafia normally give out candy on Halloween?

Yup. And isn't this news totally glorious?

Just in case you haven't brushed up on the ever-changing intricacies of the modern yakuza, the Yamaguchi-gumi is Japan's largest organized crime group and is, in some circles, a well-respected and extremely influential player behind-the-scenes of the island nation. (As VICE has reported, the current head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Shinobu Tsukasa, is pretty close buddies with the Vice Chairman of Japan's Olympic Committee and the Chief Director of Japan, Hidetoshi Tanaka.)

With the recent rise in popularity of celebrating Halloween in Japan, RocketNews24 reports that the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi decided to capitalize on the opportunity for some easily gained popularity and began to hand out free candy to trick-or-treaters a few years ago. We imagine this act played out a hell of a lot like when Nino Brown started passing out free turkeys on Thanksgiving in New Jack City.

Anyways, according to The Japan Times, the Yamaguchi-gumi have also been known to throw a pretty killer rice-cake-making festival. Their PR skills are apparently on point.

But back to the main topic at hand: Halloween. The Yamaguchi-gumi just posted a super formal-looking sign in front of their official headquarters in Kobe that read as follows: "Unfortunately, due to various circumstances our annual Halloween event is cancelled this year. We are looking forward to next year, when we hope to be able to run the event again. –Yamaguchi-gumi"


「御子様方には大変残念な思いをさせますが…」 山口組、毎年恒例の〝ハロウィーン〟を「諸般の事情により中止」 分裂問題が影響か

— 産経ニュースWEST (@SankeiNews_WEST) October 21, 2015

While there was no official reason given for this change in plans, it is believed by investigating officials in the Hyogo Prefecture that the cancellation is largely due to several branch groups splitting off from the Yamaguchi-gumi earlier last month. Evidently, there is trouble in the underground.

The "Yamaguchi-gumi has split and is in tense relations with the [splinter] group," Atsushi Mizoguchi, a self-proclaimed expert on the yakuza and a freelance writer, told The Japan Times.

That seems like a viable explanation for the candy deficit this year, but when it comes down to it, who among us can truly profess to understand the Machiavellian machinations of Japan's underworld? Maybe it's time we all got our Yamaguchi-gumi on and eat a little bit of figurative blood candy on Halloween. After all, there can be no light without shadows.

Happy almost-Halloween to you all. Or should we say: ハッピーハロウィン.