Yakusa Moon: memoirs of a gangster’s daughter by Shoko Tendo is an autobiography of a Japanese teen’s journey into the yanki world of youth gangs. It’s a violent culture of flashy cars, drugs and crime. Kids from mainstream and yakusa (organized crime) family backgrounds join together as yanki–dropping out of school, doing drugs and partying as a way of life. Their only loyalties are to each other, though there are constant violent power struggles between gangs.
Tendo is oddly detached as she describes frequent beatings from her father and her many lovers, her meth addiction and recovery. Sometimes I wondered how such a slight girl survived so much violence. Tendo’s full body tattoos of the famous courtesan Jigoku Dayu are symbolic of her own fierceness.
An interesting glimpse of an underground culture, but not for the squeamish.