When one of our Japanese-language reporters stepped into a taxi the other day, the driver suddenly turned to him and asked, “Sir, do you know what you should say if you have a run in with some yakuza?”

Our man was a bit taken aback by the sudden question out of nowhere, but he answered, “Shouldn’t you say you’ll call the police?”

“That’s the usual response, but there’s an even better one,” the driver replied. He then proceeded to share a bit of advice which an actual yakuza whom he had once driven had secretly shared with him. 

If you ever find yourself accidentally mixed up with yakuza, here’s what you should say, according to the taxi driver:

“I’d like to speak face-to-face with your boss, so take me to your headquarters.”

Now, under normal circumstances, ordinary folks aren’t usually allowed within the precincts of yakuza offices. If a yakuza grunt were to bring a regular person into the private quarters of their organization, there’s a good chance that he would get a severe punishment from his boss.

We know what you’re thinking–why would a yakuza feel compelled to leave you alone even after a line like that? But hang on, because there’s a Part II to the taxi driver’s story.

Some time after the initial encounter, the same taxi driver happened to give a lift to another yakuza member in Shinjuku. The bill came out to 8,000 yen (US$65.26) at the end of the ride, but the yakuza handed him only 1,000 yen ($8.16). The driver became visibly enraged after that little stunt and used the line that had been taught to him. The yakuza, whose face we imagine must have broken into a wry smile, replied, “Hey mister, you’ve got some balls,” and left 10,000 yen ($81.59) behind.

Upon hearing the rest of the story, our reporter was both impressed at the end result and in awe of someone who would actually have enough guts to use that line.

Would you have been brave enough to use that line if you were in the taxi driver’s position? We sincerely hope that none of our dear readers ever have a run-in with organized crime, but perhaps this line could come in handy under the most dire of circumstances. Seriously though, always stay alert and use your best judgement when such a situation arises–calling the police may still be the safest option.

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