Episode 144 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Part 1


Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this episode as a gift on my podcast’s release day.

Pull off your shirt to reveal your gang tattoos, it’s time for the yakuza!

Listen to the episode here.



Kaplan, David and Alec Dubro. Yakuza: Japan’s Criminal Underworld, 2nd Edition.

Adelstein, Jake. Tokyo Vice.

Saga, Junichi. Confessions of a Yakuza.

Eiko, Siniawer. Ruffians, Yakuza, Natinoalists.


Banzui’in Chobei, a machiyakko (proto-yakuza) figure whose romantic life story was the grist of yakuza PR mills. Here he’s depicted shortly before his death, after his enemies ambushed him in a bath.
Yakuza leader Toyama Mitsuru (left) alongside future PM of Japan Inukai Tsuyoshi (center) and President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek (right).
Kodama Yoshio’s mugshot from Sugamo prison. While in Sugamo, Kodama would make contacts with other rightists which would propel his rise to the top.
Taoka Kazuo, the boss who carried the Yamaguchi-gumi from a minor dockside gang to the largest crime family in Japan.

2 thoughts on “Episode 144 – An Offer You Can’t Refuse, Part 1

  1. Skip

    Can’t wait to listen to this at the gym tomorrow! Of course, I’ve always been a Triad man myself.

    Your shout out was ridiculously but typically generous on your part. If I might make a teensy suggestion, actually an idea.

    I’ve noticed how there is a certain amount of crossover by podcast hosts to other podcasts. Sometimes just saying hi, sometimes being on an episode. I could give many examples but I expect you already know about this. It is the Golden Age of podcasting but it will not last forever. You need to take advantage of the generosity and good-feelings that exist between all of you. Also a good way to get sponsors and ideas for monetizing your efforts.

    An obvious stop might be Laszlo Montgomery’s History of China. He’s an interesting guy, though a contemporary of mine not your in age. A very successful businessman who does his show out of love. He doesn’t even accept $$ contributions. I think he’s appeared on the History of WW2 podcast, and so it goes.

    I talked Laszlo into doing a Flying Tigers episode and haven’t bothered him since. You’re important enough for me to ask him to listen in on your superb work.

  2. Laurence COPELAND

    Hi Isaac
    I too am a fan of Laszlo Montgomery’s CHP – you both are on the short list of podcasts that help to get me through my daily workout. Thanks!
    If you haven’t already finalised the next episode on the yakuza, I’ld be interested to hear what you think of Jake Adelstein’s portrayal of the yakuza.On your recommendation, I read his book, but I found it stretched my credulity to the utmost. Are they really as powerful as he suggests?

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