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As you can see in this one Wikipedia article, there is a long list of these syndicates. Not only that, but most of them have 組 or 会 as a suffix.

According to Weblio, has the meanings of “A company, a party, a team, a crew, a gang”, and has the meanings of “A society, a club, an association”.

Is there a difference between the two suffixes when they are applied to crime syndicates? I'm just curious.

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~組 usually follows a founder's family name (e.g., 山口組, 東組, 浅野組). This is because ~組 was originally a naming convention of Japanese carpenters, who worked in a smaller, family-like organization in the past. There are still many (benign) general contractors named like family-name + 組 in Japan (see this list). Japanese yakuza borrowed their convention.

~会 is a more generic suffix which can follow a place name (e.g., 住吉会 named after Sumiyoshi Town, Tokyo), a "concept" (e.g., 共政会 "cooperatively governed", 旭琉會 "rising sun of Okinawa", 親和会 "fellowship") as well as a person name (e.g., 工藤会 founded by Genji Kudo). There are tons of NPOs named like ~会.

Anyway, once it has been established as the name of an organization, there is no meaningful difference.

  • Hey, thanks! I was wondering if there was any difference to speak of. I guess that answers my question! – Micheal Gignac Jul 29 '18 at 11:46

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