Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter

Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter

Shoko Tendo

Language: English

Pages: 216

ISBN: 1568364385

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Born to a wealthy and powerful yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived the early years of her life in luxury. However, when she was six, everything changed: her father was jailed, and the family fell into debt. Bullied by her classmates because of her father's activities, and terrorized at home by her father, who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. As a teenager she became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At the age of 15 she spent eight months in a juvenile detention center after getting into a fight with another gang.

During Japan's bubble economy of the eighties, Tendo worked as a bar hostess, attracting many rich and loyal customers, and earning money to help her family out of debt. But there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. Her mother died, plunging Tendo into a depression so deep that she tried to commit suicide.

Somehow, Tendo overcame these tough times. A turning point was getting a full-body tattoo with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, an act that empowered her to change her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at work, she looked up at the full moon, which became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.

The paperback edition of Yakuza Moon features 16-pages of never-before-seen photos of Tendos youth, family, and tattoos, as well as a new foreword by the author, describing her life since the book was first published four years ago.

"Emotionally complex and thoroughly heart-rending, this book is recommended for anyone searching for a more thorough and personal understanding of Japanese society. Publishers Weekly

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needed to do for myself, to find out where I belonged in the world. My readers have ranged from high schoolers to eighty-year-olds. I’ve had fan letters from the presidents of huge corporations. I’ve had heartbreaking emails from young girls involved in prostitution, looking for a way out. I’ve had a surprising number of letters from murderers serving time in prison. Why did they seem to feel such a sense of intimacy with me, I used to wonder. It was only after entering into correspondence with

seats. Soon we arrived at what was clearly a “love hotel.” This one was done up as a tasteless neon castle. Maejima drove into the parking lot through a black vinyl curtain, designed to keep guests anonymous. I thought I’d made up my mind to go ahead with it, but at the last minute I couldn’t get out of the car. Maejima reached across me and opened the passenger door. “Don’t be such a baby. Get out.” I didn’t move. “Don’t you trust me at all, Shoko?” “Sure .  .  . but .  .  .” As soon as we

for Maejima to hunt me down. His black Mercedes pulled up alongside me. “Get in.” I shook my head. “Just fucking do it, OK?” This time I obeyed. “What’s up with you? Don’t you need a fix?” “Don’t come around here, OK?” “What the fuck are you talking about? You’re free to see whoever you want. And I know you want to see me, don’t you, baby?” Just like that first night, I didn’t speak a word during the drive to the love hotel. But once we were inside the room, I tried to talk to him.

white kimono. He had a sad expression on his face and was calling out, “Shoko, Shoko,” gesturing to me to come to him. I woke with a start. Was Grandpa so worried about me doing drugs and sleeping with a married man that he’d appeared in my dream? Was he telling me that if I kept on this way, I might as well join him? My chest felt constricted, and I couldn’t breathe. “Grandpa, I’m sorry,” I whispered. But my heart, tossed around between Shin and Maejima, had been smashed into too many pieces,

huge talking point, and over the last four years I have had to answer questions about my tattoo to journalists from all over the world. I’ve been amazed that foreign readers and journalists have displayed little prejudice or negativity toward my tattoo. The type of full-body tattoo that I have has always been taboo in Japan because of its yakuza associations. But as you will realize once you’ve read the book, for me getting a tattoo was something very positive that empowered me and made me

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