It seems that when spoken by/in regards to Yakuza, the phrase タマを取る means to take someone's life. However, I've seen some explanations saying タマ comes from 頭{あたま} and others say that it comes from 魂{たましい}. Where does it actually come from?

1 Answer 1


I think it is from 頭 because タマをとる mostly means "take a boss's life of Yakuza". Bosses are sometimes called 頭.

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    I agree with you that this seems like the most logical explanation, but your answer would be stronger if you explained why you think the other interpretations given in Ringil's second link are incorrect. And given that those other ideas exist, is it possible that they do reflect what some people mean when they use this expression (though not what it actually "comes from," which is what Ringil is asking about)? Even folk etymologies that are historically incorrect do color how those who subscribe to them understand the language they use.
    – Nanigashi
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 17:36

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