By Hendry J.
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Extra resources for An Anthropologist in Japan
Whether we liked it or not, it was highly possible that we would come into contact with the local yakuza gang, and I decided to seek some further information. Previously, in rural Kyushu, I had been greatly aided in my research by making contact with the local police, who keep records of all the houses, their occupants and their property, and I decided to see if a similar system worked in the city. I had also heard that the police are generally well informed about yakuza activities, and that sometimes the two systems of control are not actually averse to helping one another.
The castle itself had been constructed only a few years ago, though the name Shiroyama, meaning ‘castle hill’, suggested that it was the site of an original one. At the bottom of the hill, in the historical museum, we discovered that the name Satomi was actually that of a family line, and there had been ten generations living in this area. The first had arrived from the north in the unstable warring period of the fifteenth century, and had established a headquarters a little further south. The Satomi family had had several encounters with another local family line, known as Hojo, now the name of the central shopping area of Toyama, and their castles had been built on various sites.
Takako entered into the spirit of all the preparations, explaining the kinds of bags the children would like to carry, accompanying me to the shops to buy appropriate material – quite different for boys and girls, I might note – and she even lent me her sewing machine so that I could run them up. She bought pencil boxes for each of my boys and had them wrapped in decorative paper so that a present would be awaiting them when they arrived, but she suggested we let them choose the contents themselves.