Is real Tokyo as dangerous as Yakuza games? Chapter 3: Crazy City

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Stories about blood, cockroaches and the old days of Kabukicho, the real Tokyo Kamurocho.

Almost every major Japanese city has a bar district known for its hosts and hostess bars, but none of them Tokyo Kabukicho. Located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, Kabukicho is so synonymous with the host/hostess scene and the kind of legally gray people and activities that sometimes attract such establishments that the video game producer Sega openly modeled Kamurocho’s setting from its Yakuza/Ryu ga Gotoku/Like a Dragon series on Kabukicho.

As a longtime fan of the game series, our crack reporter Mr. Sato he walks around Kabukicho and talks to the people who know it best to see if the madness that goes on in Kamurocho is pure fiction or has some basis in the reality of Kabukicho. After finish Chapter 1: The Fate of Drunkards and Chapter 2: Into the Gray Darknessit’s time for Mr. Sato to move on to the third part of his personal mission.

▼ Chapter 3: Crazy City

He’s still wearing his Kiryu Kazama cosplay costumeMr. Sato took a moment to review the last quest prompt he received from a conversation with Naruse, the manager of the Kabukico Awake host club.

It wasn’t far to walk to Saito’s host club, but the name of the place was: Smapp! Hans Axel von Ferson. If you say it with the Japanese pronunciation, it becomes “Sumappa Hansu Akuseru fon Ferusonwith as many as 16 syllables.

▼ “So long…” thought Mr. Sato, his self-narrative taking his breath away.

“Is Saito here?” Mr. Sato asked as he entered the premises. “Ah, Mr. Sato, we expected you,” answered the porter. “Please sit down and I’ll go get it for you.”

“Ah, Mr. Sato, it’s been a while” a friendly voice answered soon after. Turning to face him, Mr. Sato was greeted by a familiar face. “It’s me, Takumi Saito.”

▼ Smap! Hans Axel von Ferson
Assistant manager
Takumi Saito

“It’s you! Saito, from our article on how hosts get their working names” Mr. Sato remembered as the veteran Kabukicho sat down.

Saito: “I heard you ask about how Kabukicho was in the old days. I’ve been working in Kabukicho bars for over 20 years, so I can probably help.”

Mr. Sato: “Yes please, I’d really like to hear about it.”

Saito: “Nowadays, Kabukico has gained a reputation as a relatively safe place. But when I was younger, dangerous people lived in the area and our job, host/hostess clubs, made us frequent targets“.

Mr. Sato: “When did it get safer?”

Saito“I don’t remember exactly when, but I think it was probably around 2012, when the expulsion from Shinjuku County for organized crime went into effect. Previously there were still a lot of gangsters coming and running around harassing the club trying to get paid“.

Mr. Sato: “What things would they do?”

Saito: “In a bar where I used to work a long time ago, these three thugs walked in. I don’t know where they got it from, but they had a cockroach with them, put it in a glass and started roaring about it“.

Mr. Sato: “For example: ‘How are you going to fix this? and hoping to extort some money from you?

Saito: “Correct. But the duty manager was a total badass. He kept a completely calm expression and just said, ‘This? Don’t worry, it’s drinkable’ and had a drink, cockroach and all the rest. It was so cool.

Mr. Sato: “Wow, he must have had nerves of steel!”

Saito“There was nothing these three guys could say after that, so they didn’t cause any more trouble.”

Mr. Sato: “So they came trying to scare you, but they were the ones who got scared. Kabukicho was a really crazy city.”

Saito: “Yes, it certainly was. Here’s another thing: I don’t remember exactly what year it was, but one late night I took a break to go to the grocery store. So I went out into the street and headed towards the store, but then I saw a big van pull up five guys in masks and carrying batons jumped out“.

Mr. Sato: “What?!?”

Saito“They all entered the bar near where they had parked, and a few moments later I started hearing bangs and crashes coming from inside the building. Then they all got out, jumped in the car and drove off. After that, some other guy stumbled out of the bar covered in blood and said, “Call the police.”

Mr. Sato: “Wow, these things happen in real life? Even more so than the Yakuza games, it’s like something out of the Judgment games with Takuya Kimura. I’m amazed you were able to survive in this city for so long.

Saito: “Well, usually when there was trouble, I wasn’t directly involved. In any case, it used to be like that, but such things would certainly not happen nowadays. Even the type of people working as hosts is different now. They were all ex-gangsters or criminals, and many of them were quite shady. The host clubs didn’t even open until around 1am”

Mr. Sato: “Do you now have to follow the new regulations and close at midnight?”

Saito: “Yes, and it made working in the industry easier. The type of hosts customers want to drink with is different now, and many of them are well-educated guys. If you want to know more about the hosts, Minami at the Bond Bar knows a thing or two“.

When the next task prompt came, Mr. Sato thanked Saito for his time and headed back to the street, heading for Bond and Chapter 4: Not Like a Dragon.

Related: Smappa! Hans Axel von Ferson
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 2-28-15, Basement Level 1
Open from 19:00 to midnight
Website

Pictures ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]



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