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Japanese Yakuza Boss On the Run for 14 Years Caught in Thailand After Photos of His Tattoos Go Viral

A former Japanese yakuza boss who had been on the run for more than fourteen years was finally arrested in Thailand this month, after photos of his impressive tattoos began circulating online.

Thai police arrested 74-year-old Shigeharu Shirai last Wednesday in a province north of Bangkok, where he had been hiding for more than ten years to escape murder charges in Japan. Shirai was apprehended while out shopping in the central market town of Lopburi.

Japanese authorities had been seeking to arrest Shirai over his alleged role in the shooting of rival gang member Kashihiko Otobe, the deputy leader of rival Kamiya gang, back in 2003. He fled to Thailand before they could apprehend him, where he married a local woman and enjoyed a peaceful retirement. Shirai’s Japanese associates visited him in Thailand two to three times a year bringing him cash gifts to help sustain his life of leisure.

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Japanese Prosthetic Expert Makes Fake Fingers for Ex-Yakuza Members

Shintaro Hayashi, a prosthetics maker from Japan, is helping out former members of the Yakuza, or Japanese mob, by creating fake fingers they lost during their life of crime, so they can get normal jobs easier.

The Yakuza organized crime syndicates are renowned for their strict codes of conduct and organized nature. When a member causes serious offenses, he is required to perform a ritual known as “yubitsume”, which implies cutting off his own fingers as a form of atonement. Usually, the left pinkie is the first one to go, but repeated mistakes can cause a sloppy Yakuza to lose several digits. It becomes a stigma that signifies current or former membership in the Japanese mafia, and those who manage to leave their troubled past behind and become reformed citizens have a hard time finding jobs because of it. Most Yakuza try to conceal their missing fingers in public by keeping a fist, but there comes a time when they can’t hide their defects anymore, and that’s where prosthetics maker Shintaro Hayashi comes in. For the last 10 years, he has been creating fake fingers to mask Yakuza amputations. Read More »