Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Episode 144 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Part 1

 

Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this episode as a gift on my podcast’s release day.

Pull off your shirt to reveal your gang tattoos, it’s time for the yakuza!

Listen to the episode here.

 

Sources

Kaplan, David and Alec Dubro. Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, 2nd Edition.

Adelstein, Jake. Tokyo Vice.

Saga, Junichi. Confessions of a Yakuza.

Eiko, Siniawer. Ruffians, Yakuza, Natinoalists.

Images

banzuiin

Banzui’in Chobei, a machiyakko (proto-yakuza) figure whose romantic life story was the grist of yakuza PR mills. Here he’s depicted shortly before his death, after his enemies ambushed him in a bath.

380px-Tsuyoshi_Inukai_with_Mitsuru_Toyama_and_Chiang_Kai-shek_cropped

Yakuza leader Toyama Mitsuru (left) alongside future PM of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi (center) and President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek (right).

19460326_kodama_yoshio

Kodama Yoshio’s mugshot from Sugamo prison. While in Sugamo, Kodama would make contacts with other rightists which would propel his rise to the top.

i320

Taoka Kazuo, the boss who carried the Yamaguchi-gumi from a minor dockside gang to the largest crime family in Japan.

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Episode 143 – Nanjing, Part 2

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Episode 145 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Part 2

4 Comments

  1. Skip

    Can’t wait to listen to this at the gym tomorrow! Of course, I’ve always been a Triad man myself.

    Your shout out was ridiculously but typically generous on your part. If I might make a teensy suggestion, actually an idea.

    I’ve noticed how there is a certain amount of crossover by podcast hosts to other podcasts. Sometimes just saying hi, sometimes being on an episode. I could give many examples but I expect you already know about this. It is the Golden Age of podcasting but it will not last forever. You need to take advantage of the generosity and good-feelings that exist between all of you. Also a good way to get sponsors and ideas for monetizing your efforts.

    An obvious stop might be Laszlo Montgomery’s History of China. He’s an interesting guy, though a contemporary of mine not your in age. A very successful businessman who does his show out of love. He doesn’t even accept $$ contributions. I think he’s appeared on the History of WW2 podcast, and so it goes.

    I talked Laszlo into doing a Flying Tigers episode and haven’t bothered him since. You’re important enough for me to ask him to listen in on your superb work.

  2. Sharashka

    I really love your podcast, it expands on the little knowledge I have about Japan myself and provides stepstones into further investigation. You keep the scientific point of view while maintaining the discussion about topics which are more “in question” than others.

    That being said, the volume of your voice sometimes comes off a bit too low, especially while listening to it on a mp3 player, while the opening music is in contrast overwhelming. On my computer I could avoid that problem by cranking up the volume of my setup, but both of my mp3 players won’t let me get decent audio volume of the episode without an extra amplifier. I took the file of this episode to check on Audacity, just to make sure it wasn’t my mp3 players (2, one nearly 10 years old, the other being a new Sony NWZ) being bad.

    I consider myself an enemy of loudness war or anything to do with overproducing sound in music or voice recording. Besides that I am no expert in post-production of podcasts but I think after compression the normalize-level is a bit too low. Between +5dB and +9dB should do it, atleast it was fine not having to put it all the way to the max. volume after it.

    I don’t expect you to put large amounts of hours into mixing the sound after recording, since I really appreciate your effort put into every single one of these episodes. Fixing your setup from a hardware perspective was well worth it, you sound way clearer than before. I just hope you find a sweet spot on the volume side, I think you know better then me how to adjust to that problem.

    Anyway thank you again for the hours and hours of educational entertainment you provide. Being a kid of the 80’s I wonder if you would like to do more episodes about the bubble economy or more social aspects of the history of japan, just like this episode.

  3. I really love your podcast, it expands on the little knowledge I have about Japan myself and provides stepstones into further investigation. You keep the scientific point of view while maintaining the discussion about topics which are more “in question” than others.

    That being said, the volume of your voice sometimes comes off a bit too low, especially while listening to it on a mp3 player, while the opening music is in contrast overwhelming. On my computer I could avoid that problem by cranking up the volume of my setup, but both of my mp3 players won’t let me get decent audio volume of the episode without an extra amplifier. I took the file of this episode to check on Audacity, just to make sure it wasn’t my mp3 players (2, one nearly 10 years old, the other being a new Sony NWZ) being bad.

    I consider myself an enemy of loudness war or anything to do with overproducing sound in music or voice recording. Besides that I am no expert in post-production of podcasts but I think after compression the normalize-level is a bit too low. Between +5dB and +9dB should do it, atleast it was fine not having to put it all the way to the max. volume after it.

    I don’t expect you to put large amounts of hours into mixing the sound after recording, since I really appreciate your effort put into every single one of these episodes. Fixing your setup from a hardware perspective was well worth it, you sound way clearer than before. I just hope you find a sweet spot on the volume side, I think you know better then me how to adjust to that problem.

    Anyway thank you again for the hours and hours of educational entertainment you provide. Being a kid of the 80’s I wonder if you would like to do more episodes about the bubble economy or more social aspects of the history of japan, just like this episode.

  4. Laurence COPELAND

    Hi Isaac
    I too am a fan of Laszlo Montgomery’s CHP – you both are on the short list of podcasts that help to get me through my daily workout. Thanks!
    If you haven’t already finalised the next episode on the yakuza, I’ld be interested to hear what you think of Jake Adelstein’s portrayal of the yakuza.On your recommendation, I read his book, but I found it stretched my credulity to the utmost. Are they really as powerful as he suggests?

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