Kobe-based yakuza group beckons trick-or-treating kids with cotton candy in Frozen bags at its criminal headquarters.

I’m in the U.S. for the first time on Halloween in over a decade, and I was a little sad to learn that my parents have stopped giving out candy. “The last time we left the light on, we only got two trick-or-treaters all night,” they told me, and while I can’t say I disagree with their decision, it’s weird to think that this year you couldn’t get candy at the Baseel house, but you could get candy at the headquarters of Japan’s largest criminal organization.

Yes, after taking the last few years off, the Yamaguchi-gumi, the biggest yakuza outfit in Japan, with over 23,000 members, was once again handing out candy in front of its headquarters building in the city of Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. “Happy Halloween!” the gangsters called out to passersby as they beckoned them to an area inside the compound gate, yet still outside the building. “Come on in and get your candy!”

Inside the gate, visitors were greeted by inflated jack-‘o-lantern and ghost decorations, as well as festive orange and purple lights that had been strung up (purple being a color strongly associated with Halloween in Japan). Children were given bags of store-bought sweets and salty snacks along with cotton candy made by the mobsters right on the premises, some of it packaged in bags decorated with characters from Disney’s Frozen.

▼ A comparison of the Yamaguchi-gumi’s Halloween candy in 2014 (left) and 2017 (right)

There was speculation as to whether or not the Yamaguchi-gumi would be celebrating Halloween this year. In 2015, the festivities were called off due to reasons supposedly stemming from a faction, now called the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, splitting off from the group. In 2016, the Yamaguchi-gumi resumed handing out candy, but at a neighborhood shrine, not their crime-organizing headquarters. This year, though, at shortly after 4 in the afternoon Yamaguchi-gumi members began handing out candy, and kept at it until roughly three hours later.

The yakuza group has never explicitly stated why it gets so into the Halloween spirit. Nevertheless, some Twitter users feel the mobsters’ gesture is, ironically, a more wholesome celebration than the drunken, litter-strewn, and skin-exposing Halloween street parties in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood.

▼ “Which version of Halloween is better?”


Still, I can’t help but wonder if at the bottom of every bag of candy handed out by the Yamaguchi-gumi is a note reading “Someday, and that day may never come, we will call upon you to do a service for us. But until that day, accept this candy as a gift on Halloween night.”

Source: Kobe Shimbun Net via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso