‘The Outsider’ tells a fictitious tale of how a foreigner (gaijin) joined a yakuza gang, rising in its ranks to be its most ‘honourable’ leader. Often the case, such stories depict the fierce sense of ‘honour’ among, as the expression has it, thieves. Upon a closer look, such ‘honour’ becomes increasingly murky… in the dark asura-like realm of gangs powered by intense greed and hatred.
Is it ‘honour’ in its truest sense? If so, why are violent and criminal activities engaged in, to maintain and grow such ‘honour’? Is it not surely more honourable to strictly observe universal moral precepts, than subjective gang disciplinary rules? If there is great ‘honour’ at least within each gang, why are there occasional betrayals? And why do such gangs clash if they are all honourable?
What ‘honoured’ more than loyalty by criminal organisations is consolidation and expansion of wealth and power. The disillusioned who depart do so when they realise that the constant intra and inter gang tensions, with cops and civilians too, that offer little peace of mind, are just not worth the risks and trouble. True honour is after all attained by personal virtue, not association with vice.