Tokuryū, the shadowy criminal groups taking over from yakuza in Japan

Organised in a deliberately loose fashion, tokuryū pose fresh problems for police, as years of crackdowns see the appeal of a yakuza life fade

Watching three masked men smash their way into a luxury watch shop in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza district in broad daylight, some onlookers assumed they were witnessing a TV drama or movie shoot.

But the heist in May 2023 was real. It was carried out by a group of teenagers aged between 16 and 19 who were recruited online, and part of a new crime phenomenon called tokuryū by authorities that is growing as Japan’s yakuza clans decline.

Continue reading...