Outsiders amongst outsiders
This research explores a lesser-known aspect of the infamous yakuza subculture: the wives. Implementing a triangulation of methods and embracing a cultural criminological perspective, this thesis aims to discover the roles, influences, and positions of these women in this overly patriarchal criminal society. Traveling across the yakuza pyramid, this thesis seeks to understand these women's subjective perceptions regarding their own positions and how they express these perceptions through popular media depictions. This study reveals that unlike Western mafia wives, yakuza wives have remained outside the sphere of criminal activity in this organized crime structure, remaining in the passive emotionally and financially supportive role. This research further explores the ways in which these women have adapted to their set circumstances by creating a parallel shadow subculture, an exclusively female 'subsubculture` within the yakuza itself in which they create a sense of solidarity, pride, and confident identities by adopting and mimicking the yakuza rituals and customs as their own.