Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Born to a wealthy and powerful yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived the early years of her life in luxury. However, when she was six, everything changed: her father was jailed, and the family fell into debt. Bullied by her classmates because of her father's activities, and terrorized at home by her father, who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. As a teenager she became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At the age of 15 she spent eight months in a juvenile detention center after getting into a fight with another gang.
During Japan's bubble economy of the eighties, Tendo worked as a bar hostess, attracting many rich and loyal customers, and earning money to help her family out of debt. But there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. Her mother died, plunging Tendo into a depression so deep that she tried to commit suicide.
Somehow, Tendo overcame these tough times. A turning point was getting a full-body tattoo with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, an act that empowered her to change her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at work, she looked up at the full moon, which became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.
The paperback edition of Yakuza Moon features 16-pages of never-before-seen photos of Tendos youth, family, and tattoos, as well as a new foreword by the author, describing her life since the book was first published four years ago.
"Emotionally complex and thoroughly heart-rending, this book is recommended for anyone searching for a more thorough and personal understanding of Japanese society. Publishers Weekly
brightly. I remembered when I was a little girl and my family used to go to visit one of Dad’s friends in the countryside near Nara. We’d look up at the night sky and if we spotted a shooting star, we’d make a wish, hurrying to say it three times before the star disappeared. There was a little river with rushes on the bottom that waved in the current. On summer nights, fireflies would flit around it, giving off their pale light. I used to only have to call this scene to mind to relive the magic
as if something was after me. “Hi, it’s Shoko. I got home OK.” “Good. Oh, Shoko, just a minute. Nakauchi-san says he wants to speak to you.” “Shoko? Yeah, good to hear from you. Hey, you sound out of breath. Are you feeling OK?” “Yeah, I’m fine. I couldn’t call from the house, so I had to run to a public phone.” “Ha! I can’t believe you managed to run in that state!” Nakauchi laughed. “Thank you for last night.” “No problem, no problem. Drop by again soon, OK? If you don’t want to come by
you. Stay for dinner. I’ll just pop out to the store.” “I’ll go with you,” I said, getting to my feet, but she insisted she’d be fine on her own. I gave up and told her to take care out in the cold. “What are you talking about? I’ll only be gone five minutes!” Laughing, Mom wound her warm knitted scarf around her neck, pulled on her quilted overcoat and gloves, and set off. Dinner that night was a feast of sukiyaki beef and vegetables. We rubbed the base of the cast-iron sukiyaki pot with fat
era the way they threw their money around. And in this flamboyant universe, there was a lot of fierce competition between the hostesses. Work didn’t end when the club closed. We would usually go on somewhere else for drinks with valued clients, and I never got home before the small hours. One night after getting home late as usual, I whispered in Taka’s ear, “Do you wanna have sex?” “Huh?” “Come on Taka, make love to me.” “What are you talking about? You know your body’s not a hundred percent
thick cloud of smog that hung over Tokyo glowed a vivid shade of pink. It reminded me of the cherry blossom in our yard, and suddenly I could imagine Mom’s smiling face. If I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, I could bring back the good times. Mom’s hand always felt warm when I held it as I walked happily by her side. My wish was that Mom and Dad would be just as comfortable and happy here side by side, and that they would enjoy the cherry blossoms in spring. It was already nine years since