A Story About Sitting Next to A Scary Yakuza

A Story About Sitting Next to A Scary Yakuza: The walls of a metro car can often seem like the most temporary boundaries between you and the world. Only you are in a rushing, clattering chamber that—and I must emphasize this. There is something definitive about being on a subway train: the narrowed isolation that gestures to how it magnifies both the mundane and extraordinary of daily human life. Millions of people take the subway daily, thousands of stories intersecting at speed, colliding briefly, then splintering off in their own unique trajectories. It’s the dance of the city at its most kinetic.

Amidst this daily theater, I found myself in the unanticipated company of a man who, by all appearances, looked like he had walked straight out of a Yakuza film. I was immediately transfixed—a Yakuza, here? On my train? The mind whirs with curiosity, giddily threatened by the unknown, desperate to comprehend this confrontation with the world of the arcane and the untouchable.

The following blog dissects the experience in detail and aims to retell the story and engage with Yakuza and manga culture affectionately and respectfully.

A Story About Sitting Next to A Scary Yakuza: Yakuza Culture

For many Westerners, the Yakuza is a word that connotes an exotic, formidable entity. A hydra-headed force that at any one time is either the very essence of benevolent natal hedonism or a corrupt, greedy god that survives on vice and is fed by a steady diet of catastrophe. Shinto tutelary deities who hold the power of life over you for pennies on the dollar? Yes. Criminals? Also, yes.

In the microcosm of underground society that is the subway, the contrast of a Yakuza figure—an enigma so entrenched in culture and cinema—with the haste and perceived anonymity of one’s commute is irresistible. They’ve been the stuff of literature, cinema, and fear for decades, existing in the cultural tapestry of Japan like gargoyles perched atop the more filigree nooks. But what does it feel like to sit among this tradition? To brush shoulders with this woven lore? It’s a narrative everyone wishes to have inked into their life story.

A Story About Sitting Next to A Scary Yakuza: Storytelling Element

Essential to the gravitational power of this narrative is the genuine sense of mystery and intrigue that the Yakuza personified. Here was a man with unmissable tattoos peeking from underneath the sleeves of his impeccable suit jacket, knuckles white around the rail, and eyes that never wavered from the termini-flashing window. Every story, especially true ones, needs a protagonist against whom the leitmotif of the tale appears, and the Yakuza here served that role with the refined precision of an exquisitely drawn character.

Each glance I stole at his form and subtle movements was pass-the-point in this theater hall. The smokiness of the car felt less oppressive than it did congeal around this figure, and with every stop, I admit my heart would chisel a beat out of marble. I, too—hushed by the promise of the unknown, the olive twist of the plot—was involved in the very core of an engaging story. It was a visceral exercise in storytelling, urging a suspension of the human to more ardently know the man across from me.

Manga Enthusiasts Appeal

Manga, that sprawl of artistic enthusiasm and storytelling gusto, exists in a periphery that complements the sudden appearance of the Yakuza. The Manga often takes the Yakuza as one of its central pillars, a well of narrative tapped and retapped with fresh vigor by each successive gush of the creator’s eyes. These parallel worlds of fiction and fleeting reality would collide, if even briefly, on public transportation—ensuring that this was not just a tale for me but a node of connection for many other readers.

The appeal of Yakuza-focused manga transcends cultures—it’s not just about Japan; it’s about the allure of the danger, the complexity of loyalty and honor, and the tightrope walk between societal menace and code of ethics. For the manga enthusiast, the mere suggestion of such an encounter is mana. It feeds a keen blend of voyeuristic curiosity and reverence for an art form that makes the mundane mythic. It is, finally, a lighthouse in that ocean of earth, a speck on the subway map that describes where the bold and the unspeakable occur.

Engaging with Yakuza Culture Followers

For those genuinely fascinated by Yakuza culture, this brief blog entry might serve as a greeting from a fellow traveler. The Yakuza is a subject that has captivated and polarized for decades, invoking a rare synthesis of myth and caution in a space where myth and caution have surprising parallels—urban settings, tight-knit communities, and the sense of a hidden, parallel justice.

This snippet of experience reaches out to these enthusiasts, engaging with a moment in time that distills the very essence of the Yakuza, albeit in a non-intrusive, almost poetic manner. It’s an invitation to ponder whether the stories and stances we assume are too often entirely fictional, imaginary ramparts on which we lean the whole weight of our perceptions of dangerous or profound parts of life.


Writing this narrative has been a saunter through the embers of a moment that others might find joy in. It reflects how, when the subway takes a brutal turn, the slats of the world slip open. For a moment, you might find yourself in the presence of something sacred and forbidding, an emissary from a part of reality that, while often talked about, is infrequently woven into our respective carpets.

The story of sitting next to a figure that appeared to be straight out of a gangster film, or at least a manga depicting one, is a call to explore beyond our mundane routines. It’s a reminder of the extraordinary stories found in the most commonplace settings if one is open to the narrative. To glimpse or even share a scene with the enigmas of culture is a privilege and a gateway to stories to be retold—hummed through the fabric of our lives, coloring them with the hues of rare knowledge and personal folklore.

If you can, cultivate these stories, these moments, these encounters, for finding oneself within them is a sharp relief against the sculpted flatness of our dominated and domineering landscapes. It’s a narrative born out of symbiosis, intersecting with your digital subway car, just as it did mine. And who knows, maybe one day, you will be writing about an encounter with a real-life story coming to life.