A yakuza (ヤクザ/やくざ) is a member of a group of organized crime in Japan. By extension, this word refers to any Japanese thug. The yakuza are represented by four major unions, present throughout the archipelago, and also have ramifications in the Pacific, and even Germany and the United States. They would be more than 84,700.
They are the largest organization of organized crime in the world, yet it is not a secret organization. Thus, clans generally storefront, mostly under the guise of a legal structure of associative types.
Gambling is a very lucrative industry in Japan and the traditional sphere of influence yakuza. They organize illegal bets in many areas, as in Sumo tournaments, racing speedboats, horses, cars, bicycles … They also take some lotteries, casinos and control Pachinkorooms.
The latter game has a very important success, pachinko sales is huge because it is the third largest economy behind the Japanese restaurants and tourism leisure. The country has approximately 18,000 game rooms, often run by managers of Korean origin, and many are those who maintain close ties with the Yakuza. They use these facilities as a source of income but also as fronts to launder their money.
In a procedure similar to that followed by the other mafia movement, yakuza expansion is accompanied by the presence of the Japanese community in the world. Therefore, they are found in the United States, which have a large Japanese immigrant community (over 850,000 people), mostly in Hawaii and California. In the 1980s, they took advantage of the boom in real estate in this country for investment, including Hawaii, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Translated and adapted from Wikipedia under GNU Free Documentation License.