A Story About Sitting Next to a Scary Yakuza

For those who may not know, the yakuza are a notorious organized crime syndicate in Japan, with a history that stretches back centuries. They are steeped in tradition and are often involved in illicit activities that are deeply intertwined with the underbelly of Japanese society. The yakuza have a strict hierarchy and code of honor, reminiscent of the samurai, and they are often portrayed in media as intimidating and dangerous individuals. So, as you can imagine, I was quite nervous when I found myself sitting next to one.

The Setting

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, and I had decided to treat myself to a movie at the local theater. I had arrived early, as I always do, and found my seat in the almost empty theater. Choosing a spot in the back corner, I felt a sense of privacy that was quickly disrupted when a man took the seat right next to me, despite the abundance of space.

I was sitting on the aisle, and there was only one other person in my row – a man who appeared to be in his late 40s with a shaved head and a large, intimidating build. His suit was impeccable, yet it did little to conceal the tattoos peeking out from his collar and cuffs. My first thought was that he was probably a bodyguard for someone, as it seemed unlikely that someone of his appearance would be watching a romantic comedy alone on a Sunday afternoon. But as the previews began to play, I noticed that the man was watching the screen intently, and he even chuckled at a few of the jokes.

The Encounter

As the movie began, I tried to focus on the screen, but I couldn’t help but sneak glances at the man next to me. I was both intrigued and terrified by his presence. His demeanor was calm and collected, which was at odds with the stern expression etched onto his face. About halfway through the movie, I heard a faint buzzing noise coming from the man’s pocket. He pulled out his phone and glanced at the screen before quickly silencing the call.

That’s when it happened – he turned to me and asked if I knew how to silence the phone completely. I observed a hint of irritation in his gaze, directed more towards the unfamiliar technology than at me. Understanding his silent request, I accepted the phone he handed me, signaling for me to address the problem. With swift navigation through the settings, I muted the phone and returned it to him, offering a gentle smile. Unexpectedly, he reciprocated with a smile of gratitude and uttered, “Thank you.

The Conversation

With the ice broken, the man began to ask me about my day and what I was doing at the movie theater alone. I explained that I enjoyed spending time by myself and that I was excited to see the movie. He nodded and then proceeded to tell me about his day and why he was at the theater. It was a strange juxtaposition, the feared criminal and me, discussing the mundane details of our lives as if we were old friends.

As it turns out, the man was a yakuza member, and he had been sent to the movie theater by his boss as part of a punishment for a mistake he had made. He told me about the strict hierarchy of the yakuza and how even the smallest mistake could result in a severe punishment. This detail added a layer of depth to his character, revealing a vulnerability that one wouldn’t expect from a member of organized crime.

I was both fascinated and terrified by his story. On one hand, I was sitting next to a notorious criminal, but on the other, I was getting an inside look into a world that I knew nothing about. It was a surreal experience to hear about the inner workings of the yakuza from someone who lived it every day.

The Lesson

As the movie ended and we began to exit the theater, the man turned to me and said, “Thank you for sitting next to me. You made my punishment a little less boring.” I smiled and replied, “Thank you for not making me your punishment.” It was a light-hearted moment that belied the gravity of his situation.

This encounter taught me a valuable lesson – never judge a book by its cover. The man I had been so afraid of turned out to be kind, funny, and just like any other person. It also reminded me that everyone has a story, and it’s essential to listen and try to understand before making assumptions. The yakuza member had his struggles and reasons for being who he was, and that moment of connection was a poignant reminder of our shared humanity.

Yakuza Like a Dragon Side Stories

As I left the theater and went about my day, I couldn’t help but think about my encounter with the yakuza member. It also reminded me of the popular video game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which features various side stories and encounters with the yakuza. In the game, players get to experience the fictionalized version of the yakuza world and interact with its members. These side stories often have a humorous or heartwarming twist, just like my real-life experience.

The game’s depiction of the yakuza, though dramatized, sparked my curiosity about the real individuals behind the stereotypes. It’s fascinating how media and games can shape our perceptions, yet nothing compares to a real-world encounter that challenges those preconceived ideas.


While my encounter with a scary yakuza may not have been as exciting as a Yakuza: Like a Dragon side story. It was an unforgettable experience. It taught me to not let fear or preconceived notions cloud my judgment and to always be open to new perspectives and stories. So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what to do. Take a deep breath and remember my story about sitting next to a scary yakuza. You never know what you might learn, who you might meet, or how your perspective on the world might change.

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