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Yakuza

Yakuza known as gokudō, are members of transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police, media by request of the police, call them bōryokudan, while the yakuza call themselves ninkyō dantai; the English equivalent for the term yakuza is gangster, meaning an individual involved in a Mafia-like criminal organization. The yakuza are notorious for their strict codes of conduct, their organized fiefdom nature, several unconventional ritual practices such as yubitsume. Members are described as males with tattooed bodies and slicked hair, yet this group is still regarded as being among "the most sophisticated and wealthiest criminal organizations."At their height, the yakuza maintained a large presence in the Japanese media and operated internationally. In fact, in the early 1960s, police estimated that the yakuza had a membership of more than 200,000. However, in recent years their numbers have dwindled with the latest figure from the National Police Agency estimating that as of 2016 the number of members in all 22 designated gangs was 39,100.

This decline is attributed to changing market opportunities and several legal and social developments in Japan which discourage the growth of yakuza membership. Yet, despite their dwindling numbers, the yakuza still engage in an array of criminal activities, many Japanese citizens remain fearful of the threat these individuals pose to their safety. However, there remains no strict prohibition on yakuza membership in Japan today, although much legislation has been passed by the Japanese government aimed at increasing liability for criminal activities and impeding revenue; the name yakuza originates from the traditional Japanese card game Oicho-Kabu, a game in which the goal is to draw three cards adding up to a score of 9. If the sum of the cards exceeds 10, its second digit is used as the score instead, if the sum is 10, the score is 1. If the three cards drawn are 8-9-3, the sum is 20 and therefore the score is zero, making it the worst possible hand that can be drawn. Despite uncertainty about the single origin of yakuza organizations, most modern yakuza derive from two classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo period: tekiya, those who peddled illicit, stolen, or shoddy goods.

Tekiya were considered one of the lowest social groups during the Edo period. As they began to form organizations of their own, they took over some administrative duties relating to commerce, such as stall allocation and protection of their commercial activities. During Shinto festivals, these peddlers opened stalls and some members were hired to act as security; each peddler paid rent in exchange for a stall protection during the fair. The tekiya were a structured and hierarchical group with the oyabun at the top and kobun at the bottom; this hierarchy resembles a structure similar to the family as the oyabun was regarded as a surrogate father, the kobun as surrogate children. During the Edo period, the tekiya were formally recognized by the government. At this time, the oyabun were appointed as supervisors and granted near-samurai status, meaning they were allowed the dignity of a surname and two swords. Bakuto had a much lower social standing than traders, as gambling was illegal. Many small gambling houses cropped up in abandoned temples or shrines at the edge of towns and villages all over Japan.

Most of these gambling houses ran loan sharking businesses for clients, they maintained their own security personnel. The places themselves, as well as the bakuto, were regarded with disdain by society at large, much of the undesirable image of the Yakuza originates from bakuto; because of the economic situation during the mid-period and the predominance of the merchant class, developing Yakuza groups were composed of misfits and delinquents that had joined or formed Yakuza groups to extort customers in local markets by selling fake or shoddy goods. The roots of the Yakuza can still be seen today in initiation ceremonies, which incorporate tekiya or bakuto rituals. Although the modern Yakuza has diversified, some gangs still identify with the other. During the formation of the Yakuza, they adopted the traditional Japanese hierarchical structure of oyabun-kobun where kobun owe their allegiance to the oyabun. In a much period, the code of jingi was developed where loyalty and respect are a way of life.

The oyabun-kobun relationship is formalized by ceremonial sharing of sake from a single cup. This ritual is not exclusive to the Yakuza—it is commonly performed in traditional Japanese Shinto weddings, may have been a part of sworn brotherhood relationships. During the World War II period in Japan, the more traditional tekiya/bakuto form of organization declined as the entire population was mobilised to participate in the war effort and society came under strict military government. However, after the war, the Yakuza adapted again. Prospective Yakuza come from all walks of life; the most romantic tales tell how Yakuza accept sons who have been abandoned or exiled by their parents. Many Yakuza start out in junior high school or high school as common street thugs or members of bōsōzoku gangs; because of its lower socio-economic status, numerous Yakuza

USS Whippet (IX-129)

The second USS Whippet, an Armadillo-class tanker designated an unclassified miscellaneous vessel, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the whippet. Her keel was laid down on 31 October 1943 at New Orleans, Louisiana, by the Delta Shipbuilding Company under a Maritime Commission contract, she was launched on 15 December 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Will Camp Sealy, delivered to the Navy on 13 January 1944, commissioned on 14 January 1944 with Lieutenant Commander R. Parmenter in command. Following shakedown out of New Orleans, Whippet got underway late in January for duty in the South Pacific, she arrived at Bora Bora in the Society Islands on 27 February and remained there until 9 March when she continued her voyage. Two days the ship arrived at Funafuti and served there as station tanker until the beginning of the second week in May. On 10 May, Whippet headed for Oahu and, after a nine-day voyage, arrived in Pearl Harbor. Late in June, she had returned west of the International Date Line.

For the next nine months, she served as station tanker at various forward bases in the Central Pacific, including Eniwetok during the Marianas campaign and Ulithi during the struggles for the Palau Islands and the Philippines. By the spring of 1945, the tanker had moved to Saipan in the Mariana Islands to prepare for the Okinawa assault. On 27 March, she departed Saipan and, on 2 April, entered the anchorage at Kerama Retto in the Ryukyu Islands to the west of Okinawa. There she remained, serving again as station tanker until well after organized resistance on Okinawa ceased. On 25 July, she steamed via Ulithi to Leyte where she arrived on 7 August. Whippet remained there until 12 October; the tanker arrived at Manila the following day and served there until near the end of the second month of 1946. On 24 February, she returned to Leyte before continuing on to the Marianas. After spending the month of March in the Marianas, she returned to the Philippines at Subic Bay at the end of the second week in April.

The ship stayed there until the end of the month at which time she received orders to return to the United States at Norfolk, Virginia. She arrived in San Francisco, California on 29 May. Instead of returning to Norfolk, she remained on the West Coast. On 1 July 1946, she was decommissioned at San Francisco, returned to the War Shipping Administration for layup with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, California, her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 19 July 1946. Whippet received two battle stars for World War II service This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Photo gallery at navsource.org

The First Right of the Child

The First Right of the Child is a 1932 German drama film directed by Fritz Wendhausen and starring Hertha Thiele, Eduard Wesener and Helene Fehdmer. The film's sets were designed by the art director Erwin Scharf. After becoming pregnant by her student boyfriend, struggling secretary considers her options; these include suicide. Hertha Thiele as Lotte Bergmann Eduard Wesener as Herbert Böhme Helene Fehdmer as Frau Bergmann Erna Morena as Käthe Baumgarten - Frauenärztin Hermann Vallentin as Elbing Hedwig Schlichter as Frl. Spitz Lotte Stein as Frl. Müller Ruth Jacobsen as Frl. Lauterbach Traute Carlsen as Nurse Maria Koppenhöfer Emilia Unda Hertha von Walther Genia Nikolaieva Rotraut Richter Hermine Sterler Maria Forescu Eduard von Winterstein Erwin Kalser F. W. Schröder-Schrom Gerhard Bienert Hans Halder Ferdinand von Alten Heinrich Schroth Fritz Alberti Erich Bartels Else Ehser Margarete Faas Max Grünberg Oskar Höcker Georg John Wera Liessem Lotte Loebinger Marlise Ludwig Klaus Pohl Franz Stein Mathilde Sussin Elisabeth Wendt Hildegard Wolf Bock, Hans-Michael.

The Concise Cinegraph: Encyclopaedia of German Cinema. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-57181-655-9. Grange, William. Cultural Chronicle of the Weimar Republic. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5967-8; the First Right of the Child on IMDb