Context: two yakuza men found out that Azami, a man that owed them money, committed suicide. Then, one says to the other:


Does 会社 have a particular meaning here? Or do they simply consider their gang as a company? How could it be translated? Thank you for your help!

  • I am not sure if it has a different meaning in this context but... In Japan, Yakuza groups are registered as official companies. The government knows where they are, who there are and accept their "business" as a normal company... Yes... it is messed up. They only get arrested if they seriously step out of line. Mar 22, 2017 at 1:37
  • @stackreader AFAIK yakuza organizations themselves are not official companies of any kind, although they often secretly run some official companies.
    – naruto
    Mar 22, 2017 at 2:21
  • 1
    @naruto I see articles like that all the time. economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/09/… Mar 22, 2017 at 2:34
  • That article is not saying Sumiyoshi-kai and Yamaguchi-gumi themselves are officially registered legal bodies. It's just saying they are "not technically illegal". Technically, they are just private organizations without any state as a legal body, and it's hard to entirely ban people form forming a group (presumably because there's the freedom of association). Of course yakuza is nothing but illegal in the common perception of Japanese people.
    – naruto
    Mar 22, 2017 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


Modern yakuza organizations tend to camouflage themselves using common terms used by normal companies and NPOs. The name of such an organization itself can be camouflage. ~組 is the traditional naming convention which is strongly associated with yakuza (and construction companies), but some use confusing names like ~興業. From Wikipedia:


The heads of yakuza organizations used to be called 頭領 or 親分, but in some organizations it's now 組長, 総長 or even 会長. 会長 (≒"chairman") is the word used by most large Japanese companies including Toyota and Sony. So I won't be surprised if a yakuza member calls his organization 会社, although I don't know how common it is. Anyway, this does not mean he believes his organization is a proper company.

In addition, some (most?) yakuza organizations run real companies to make money, legally or illegally. So he may be referring to such a real company.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .