Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

“Hard Lessons Learned From Tough People”: Jake Adelstein at TEDxKyoto 2012

After a month of waiting, it’s finally here! Jake Adelstein’s talk at TEDxKyoto 2012 (09.16.2012): “Everything I Ever Needed To Know In Life I Learned From The Yakuza Or The Cops That Bust Them”

The seven lessons:

  1. Know the difference between hearing and listening, and learn to listen to people
  2. Repay the kindness bestowed upon you, keep your code, all is good
  3. There are no small promises. A man’s promise should weigh more than his life
  4. It’s okay to be betrayed, just don’t be the betrayer. Betray others and you betray yourself. You won’t be able to trust anyone
  5. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. You can tell more about a man by his enemies than you can by his friends. A man with no enemies is worthless
  6. In life we only encounter the injustices we are meant to correct
  7. If you want to live well you have to die once

I think I fangirl that man too much for my own good XD. He mentions one of the quotes I like the most. The general rule of thumb for the yakuza is katagi ni meiwaku wo kutenai, or ‘not to cause trouble to ordinary citizens’. Thus they are forbidden from: 1. Theft and robbery 2. Using or selling drugs 3. Rape and 4. Anything else not in harmony with the ninkyodo (the ‘noble way’.)

Adelstein apparently asked a yakuza boss once “Why aren’t blackmail and extortion banned?”. The reply was: “If you have something to be blackmailed about, you deserve to be punished. It’s social justice”.


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