Is the real Kamurocho in Tokyo as dangerous as the scenery of the Yakuza games? Mr. Sato is investigating


Our excellent reporter takes to the streets in his Kiryu Kazama cosplay to talk to the people who know Kabukicho best.

There are nearly a dozen entries Sega’s Yakuza/Ryu ga Gotoku/Like a Dragon video game seriesand all of them have stories that take place in Kamurocho, a bar/red light district in Tokyo. Although Kamurocho is a fictional place, its appearance and layout are very closely modeled Kabukicho, a real part of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

Our crack reporter Mr. Sato is a fan of Yakuza games and spent many hours in Kamurocho, fighting thugs on the street and brawling behind the doors of exclusive clubs. Of course, it’s to be expected that in an action video game you can increase the intensity, but still he wondered, how dangerous is Kabukicho?

▼ Mr. Sato thinks about street fights and video games

Fortunately, SoraNews24’s HQ happens to be a short walk from Kabukicho, so Mr. Sato decided to head over there and chat with the people who work in its host/hostess bars and clubs. But before that, he decided he needed a change of clothes.

Well, maybe we should call it a costume change, since that’s what he’s decided cosplay as Yakuza main character Kiryu Kazama. It’s a pretty good resemblance, though astute observers will probably notice that this isn’t the real Kiryu, as the character doesn’t wear a plastic cord belt.

Now that it’s (mostly) looked like the right part, it’s time to head to Kabukicho.

▼ Chapter 1: The Fate of Drunkards

Mr. Sato passed under the red neon gate that marks the entrance to Kabukicho Ichibangai, the main street of the district and the real life equivalent of Kamurocho Tenkaichi Street from the games. Triggering his gamer intuition, Mr. Sato had the impression that he was prompted to complete a task in too large a font.

Mr. Sato wasn’t necessarily looking for anyone’s mother, but owner or “mom” of a hostess bar.

Eventually his search led him to one of Kabukicho’s many multi-bar buildings, the one where they are located Club Haru.

He heard that the hostess bar’s mom could help him, so he went inside and knocked on Haru’s club door.

“Is mom in there?” he asked as the employee opened the door, trying his best to impress Kiryu’s deep, smooth voice. “I need to see her, so I’ll just sit and wait.”

He hadn’t sat for long when he heard an elegant voice “I’m so sorry to keep you waiting.” You must be Mr. Sato, right?

▼ Club Haru Mama: Haruka Sato (no relation to Mr. Sato)

“I believe I can give you the answers you are looking for,” she said, sitting down gracefully on a red leather sofa without wrinkling her kimono.

“I was hoping you might,” Mr. Sato replied. “Can you tell me if Kabukicho is as dangerous as Kamurocho?”

“I would say that it is not, at least not in recent years. However, long ago, fighting broke out almost every day.

“What? When was that?”

“I spent about five years working as a bar hostess since I was 20,” said Haruka. “Back then, there were fights almost every day. Usually it was two customers who liked the same hostess and argued about whether they wanted to be the one to have a drink with him.“.

“So two customers who were strangers would start doing this?”

“No, it was usually fights between two customers at a VIP table where they both walked in together as part of the same group.”

“Gee, what a stupid way to get into a fight?”

“I suppose you could say that. But here’s what drinking can do to a person who can’t handle alcohol.

“Having drinks with friends should be fun, but they ended up fighting with each other… It seems drunk parties don’t always end up being fun. I guess that’s the fate of drunkards,” mused Mr. Sato.

“You may be right. You should always watch your pace too.”

“Ah, I’ll be fine.” People think I drink a lot based on how I look, but I can’t really drink that much, so I switch to oolong tea pretty early in the night.

“So you’re not as tough as you look?” Haruka giggled. “By the way, if you want to know more, there is a young farmer down the street named Awake. You should talk to the owner, Naruse. He’s been here at kabukicho for over 20 years, so he probably has more information for you.

And so Mr. Sato returned to the streets of Tokyo. However, like any good player, he took the opportunity to save his progress so far, and we’ll be back soon with the rest of his night in Kabukicho.

Related: Club Haru
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukitcho 1-2-13, 5th floor
Open from 19:00 to midnight
Closed Sundays, Mondays

Pictures ©SoraNews24
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