Tokyo's oldest yakuza syndicate to disband

Tokyo's oldest yakuza syndicate to disband

An organized crime syndicate in Tokyo with roots dating back to around a century ago has decided to call it quits, a victim of changing times and social mores, police crackdowns and a membership that is well past its prime.

The Anegasaki-kai, based in the old downtown Asakusa district of the capital, survived mainly by scalping tickets for concerts and running stalls at summer festivals, according to investigative sources.

Sources said it notified other yakuza groups in the capital that it had decided to disband on July 25.

The group is believed to have gotten its start in the early Taisho Era 1912 -- 1926 Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department said it learned that the notice was sent to the Kyokuto-kai, a designated crime syndicate and other gangs, and is now trying to verify it.

An officer in charge of the department s anti-gang measures said we need to make sure it is disbanded. Although the Anegasaki-kai is not designated as a crime syndicate targeted for tougher control under the anti- organized crime law, law enforcement authorities treated it as such on the grounds that it could get its members to commit violent crimes on a regular basis at a moment's notice.

As a result of police crackdowns and an aging membership, the membership of Anegasaki-kai began to shrink.

The sources said that the group's finances were particularly hit by the COVID 19 epidemic because of the fact that its activities revolved around events attended by the public.

The Anegasaki-kai was regarded as a leading ticket scalper in Tokyo as it monopolized the business in the capital. The group also made a lot of money by running stalls at summer festivals, according to the sources.

For well over a decade, the group would hire part-timers to buy tickets in bulk for concerts featuring prominent live acts or sports events, such as professional baseball games, according to a source close to another crime syndicate. This activity was its main source of funding.

The Anegasaki-kai prospered by selling tickets at inflated prices to diehard fans near the event venues.

The group's membership fell from about 700 in 2003 to 85 or so at the end of 2021.

It is also a victim of the age, in more ways than one. The group had struggled to make money from scalping and running stalls as many festivals, concerts and other events were canceled nationwide after the epidemic began to raging across Japan in 2020.

The increase in electronic tickets is a factor that can't be resold easily, and tickets, including electronic ones, are increasingly being sold online.

An investigative source said that the group's businesses are probably no longer lucrative.