In Japan, the Mafia goes by a different name: Yakuza. The Japanese crime syndicate has business cards, corporate offices, runs both legal and illegal businesses, and controls huge stakes in the country's socio-economic and political structures, stock markets, real estates, and entertainment industry. They even have several tabloid magazines solely dedicated to documenting their "work." And there's also an entire film genre dedicated to their world. First gaining popularity during Japan’s post-war economic period of the 1960s, yakuza movies tell stories of criminals (sometimes with samuria influences) seeking honor and enforcing violent heroism.

What started initially as stories of chivalrous, kimono-clad, and sword-swinging gangsters hav evolved into tales of street thugs, organized crime bosses, corrupt cops, and ex-cons. Today, genre auteur Takeshi Kitano’s latest film, Outrage, opens in limited release. Outrage details the life of the modern-day yakuza, complete with plot twists and excessive homicide. To commemorate the film's release, we're counting down The 25 Best Yakuza Movies.

Tags: yakuza, gangster-movies, asia, takashi-miike, action-movies
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