Japanese Gangster Films & Yakuza History
About The Website
Yakuza Movies is a website dedicated to the thrilling and fascinating world of Japanese gangster films. Yakuza movies, also known as “ninkyo eiga” (chivalry films) or “jitsuroku eiga” (actual record films), are a subgenre of Japanese cinema that focuses on the lives and culture of the Yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicates.
If you’re unfamiliar with Yakuza movies, you’ll find everything you need to know on this website. These films are well known for their intense, often violent storylines, complex character relationships & exploration of themes such as loyalty, honour & betrayal. They offer a unique and captivating insight into a life that is often shrouded in mystery.
Here, you’ll find a wide range of Yakuza movies. From classic films of the 1960s & 1970s to modern-day productions; created by visionary filmmakers such as Kinji Fukasaku, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, Seijun Suzuki & many more.
We also provide background information regarding the history and lifestyle of the real Yakuza clans. This includes the Yamaguchi-gumi (Japan’s largest Yakuza family), Sumiyoshi-kai & Inagawa-kai.
Frequently Asked Questions
With so many Yakuza Movies out there to enjoy, you may be wondering where to start. Here are our reccomendations on which films to begin with:
These are 4 highly acclaimed movies in the Yakuza genre, each from a highly influential director known for producing Japanese gangster films.
Personally, we’re lovers of physical media and there are lots of amazing publishers out there helping to bring classic Yakuza Movies to newer, physical formats. Here are a few examples of publishers who have released Japanese gangster movies.
- Third Window Films.
- Radiance Films.
- Arrow Video.
We’re compling a comprehensive list of Yakuza Movies on DVD and Blu-ray where you can find even more publishers. Take a look, you might just find your next favourite film.
Aside from physical media, online streaming services such as Netflix have some great Yakuza movies to watch, some of which are exclusive to the platform. A couple of examples would be A Family (2021) exclusive to Netflix and The Blood of Wolves (2018) available via Shudder, which you can subscribe to on Amazon Prime video.
Yakuza movies, also known as Yakuza eiga in Japan, are films that center around the lives, codes, and conflicts of the Yakuza, the organized crime syndicates of Japan. Some films are fictional depictions whilst others are inspired by true events and people.
Yakuza films generally fall into two categories. The first, “ninkyo eiga,” translates to “chivalry films.” These are usually set in the Meiji (1868 – 1912) and Taisho (1912 – 1926) eras, portraying outlaws who live by a code of honour and integrity.
In contrast, “jitsuroku eiga,” translating to “actual record films,” portray the modern Yakuza in a much more gritty manner. With less emphasis on honour and tradition, these films delve deeper into the criminal endeavors and complexities of contemporary gang life. This type of film rose to prominance in the 1970’s throughout Japan.
Yes, actors like Ken Takakura, Bunta Sugawara, Takeshi Kitano, Noboru Ando, Sonny Chiba, Meiko Kaji and Joe Shishido have left a significant mark on the genre.
If you’d like to contact us about anything to do with the website, get in touch using the email below.