Actual Yakuzas Test Yakuza Videogame

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Three members of the Yakuza, Japan's storied organized crime syndicate, have tested the Playstation game Yakuza 3, where players get to be virtual Yakuza members. The verdict: They love it. The Yakuza game testing started when journalist Jake Adelstein, who met Yakuza while reporting on crime in Japan, "showed up at a shady real estate office in Tokyo one Thursday afternoon with a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of Duty-Free whiskey to teach these gangsters how to handle a PlayStation controller."

The Yakuza evaluated the game on five accounts: environment, "depiction of the Yakuza," fight scenes, fashion, and story. Adelstein says the men agreed "the [depicted] stereotypes about the yakuza are more or less correct, with the exception of their alleged prowess in martial arts." They called the depicted cities "dead on," the flamboyant fasion "realistic," and the characters convincing. One said of the heavily involved plot line, "The whole plot about resort expansion in Okinawa and the CIA and the politicians involved and all that? Wow. That game came out last year, right. That's totally happening in Okinawa right now."

The only place where they disliked the game is the frequency of the fighting:

S: Nobody ever dies. It's unrealistic.

K: Kiryu is fighting all the time. He's gotta be a fucking idiot. No yakuza is going to run around getting into fistfights like that. Especially not an executive type. He'll wind up in jail or in the hospital or dead, maybe even whacked by his own people for being a troublemaker. These days, he'd probably get kicked out before even going to jail. Guys like that start gang wars and nobody wants that now. When a yakuza gets into a fight, it's serious business.

M: A real fight--it's short and it's brutal. Over in a minute. Nobody goes around trading blows and crap like that. Usually the first guy to punch wins.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.