Kenichi Shinoda

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Kenichi Shinoda
Born (1942-01-25) January 25, 1942 (age 77)
Other names司 忍 Shinobu Tsukasa

Kenichi Shinoda (篠田 建市, Shinoda Ken'ichi, born January 25, 1942), also known as Shinobu Tsukasa (司 忍, Tsukasa Shinobu), is a Japanese Yakuza, the sixth and current kumicho (supreme kingpin) of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza organization.[1]


Shinoda was born in Ōita, Kyushu.[2]

He began his Yakuza career in 1962 when he joined the Hirota-gumi, a Nagoya-based Yamaguchi-gumi affiliate. Following the disbanding of the Hirota-gumi, he founded the Kodo-kai[3] with Kiyoshi Takayama among others in 1984 as the successor to the Hirota-gumi.

Under Shinoda and his long-term partner Takayama, the Kodo-kai was a successful branch of the Yamaguchi-Gumi, establishing branches in 18 prefectures—including expansion into the Kantō region, traditionally not Yamaguchi territory.

Shinoda took control of the 40,000-strong gang on July 29, 2005 after the retirement of previous don Yoshinori Watanabe.[3] Under Shinoda, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi is expected to continue that expansion into Tokyo and Eastern Japan.[4] According to both yakuza and police, this movement will inevitably create conflict between the Yamaguchi-gumi and the Kanto-Hatsukakai, a federation of Tokyo-based yakuza groups including the Inagawa-kai and the Sumiyoshi-kai.

Shinoda is the first Yamaguchi-gumi kumicho not to hail from the Kansai region, he also eschews the "supreme Godfather" image, in public at least: after his appointment as kumicho, he insisted on taking the train to his induction ceremony instead of a chauffeured limousine. He also reportedly stopped in a street ramen noodle restaurant on the way to the lavish yakuza banquet arranged in his honor.


In the early 1970s, Shinoda was convicted of murdering a rival yakuza boss with a katana, and spent 13 years in prison,[5] he was also involved, as the head of the Kodo-kai, in the Yamaguchi-gumi's numerous historic yakuza wars. Notably his achievements at the Yama-Ichi War in the late 1980s was a major reason for his entrance into the Yamaguchi-gumi's Kobe headquarters.[6]

On December 4, 2005, only four months after being named kumicho, Shinoda began serving a six-year prison sentence for gun possession after the Japanese Supreme Court finally rejected his appeal of a 1997 conviction. In the 1997 case, one of his bodyguards was caught with an illegal pistol, and Shinoda was convicted of "conspiring" with the bodyguard,[7] he was released just under eight months early on April 9, 2011.[8]

U.S. sanctions in 2012[edit]

In 2012, the Obama administration of the United States imposed sanctions on him as the leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi, along with his second-in-command Kiyoshi Takayama;[9] the sanctions also targeted several individuals linked to three other transnational organized crime groups, the Brothers' Circle of Russia, the Camorra of Italy, and Los Zetas of Mexico.[10]


  1. ^ Johnston, Eric, "Yakuza don exits the big house", Japan Times, 10 April 2011, p. 2.
  2. ^ "Pre-Notification For Upcoming Designation Of Transnational Organized Criminal Elements : IDENTIFYING INFORMATION : YAKUZA : Entry 1 : Yamaguchi-gumi : Person 1 : Kenichはさi Shinoda" (p.2) Archived 2013-01-17 at the Wayback Machine Malta Financial Services Authority
  3. ^ a b Jeffrey Hays, Major Yakuza groups and leaders: Yamaguchi-Gumi, Yoshio Kodama, Kenichi Shinoda, Tadamasa Goto,, 2009 (accessed on 18 July 2019)
  4. ^ McCurry, Justin (28 August 2015). "Japanese police bracing for gang war as Yamaguchi-gumi mafia group splits". The Guardian via MSN. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  5. ^ "All-out turf war feared in Japanese underworld", 7 February 2007, The Guardian and "Japan's largest gang group changes its head for the first time in 16 years", August 30, 2005, Epoch Times (using katana / against a yakuza boss) (in Chinese)
  6. ^ The Outline of the Yamaguchi-gumi, p.228, Kenji Ino, December 2008, Chikumashobo Ltd., ISBN 978-4-480-06463-9 (in Japanese)
  7. ^ Police wary as Yamaguchi-gumi prepares to fete sixth don | The Japan Times Online
  8. ^ bbb"Japan frees Yamaguchi-gumi crime boss Kenichi Shinoda", 9 April 2011, BBC
  9. ^ "US steps up offensive against Japan's yakuza gangs", 24 February 2012, The Guardian
  10. ^ "US moves to isolate Russian, Japanese crime groups", 23 February 2012, AFP

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Yoshinori Watanabe
President of Yamaguchi-gumi
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Takeshi Hirota (former Hirota-gumi)
President of Kodo-kai
Succeeded by
Kiyoshi Takayama