The Rise of Sumiyoshi-kai: A Powerful Yakuza Syndicate

Sumiyoshi-kai image

(Reference: 毒島みるく, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In the shadowy underworld of organized crime in Japan, one name stands out among the rest: Sumiyoshi-kai.

This powerful yakuza syndicate has a long and storied history, with roots stretching back to the late Edo period.

With its headquarters located in the Akasaka district of Tokyo, Sumiyoshi-kai has established itself as a formidable force in the world of organized crime.

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Origins and Early Years

The history of Sumiyoshi-kai can be traced back to the end of the Edo period, when a man named Ito Matsugoro, also known as "Sumiyoshi Matsugoro," founded the Sumiyoshi family.

Matsugoro hailed from the Sumiyoshi-cho neighborhood in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, which is where the group derived its name.

The Sumiyoshi family quickly gained a reputation for their involvement in criminal activities, solidifying their position as one of the most influential yakuza organizations in Tokyo.

The Formation of Sumiyoshi-kai

As the years went by, the Sumiyoshi family underwent several transformations.

In 1918, Kuramochi Naokichi, also known as "Sumiyoshi Naokichi," took over as the second-generation leader and formed the "Sumiyoshi-kai."

This marked a turning point in the group's history as they expanded their influence and power.

The Rise of the Port Association

In 1958, under the leadership of Abeshige Saku, the third-generation head of the Sumiyoshi family, the group formed the "Minato-kai," also known as the Port Association.

This association brought together 28 different factions of yakuza, creating a united front in the world of organized crime.

To solidify their position, Minato-kai appointed Aota Tomitaro of the Kohei family as the chairman.

Consolidation and Rebranding

In 1962, Abeshige Saku retired from his position, and Sekigami Yoshimitsu assumed leadership, rebranding the organization as "Sumiyoshi-kai."

This marked a new era for the syndicate as they continued to expand their reach and influence.

Involvement in International Crime

Sumiyoshi-kai's notoriety extended beyond the borders of Japan.

The syndicate was recognized by the U.S. government as an international criminal organization involved in various illegal activities, including drug and weapon smuggling, as well as human trafficking.

This designation further solidified their position as one of the most powerful yakuza groups.

The Changing Leadership

Over the years, Sumiyoshi-kai witnessed changes in leadership.

In 1991, Nishiguchi Shigeo took over as the sixth-generation leader and restructured the organization, renaming it "Sumiyoshi-kai."

Under his leadership, the syndicate faced new challenges and opportunities.

Recent Developments and Leadership Transition

In 2014, Seki Isao assumed the role of chairman, replacing the retiring Fukuda Hareaki.

This leadership transition marked a new chapter for Sumiyoshi-kai, as they continued to adapt and evolve in a changing criminal landscape.

Sumiyoshi-kai's Influence and Territories

Sumiyoshi-kai's influence extends throughout Japan, with a stronghold in the Kanto region, encompassing Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

Their operations span across one metropolis, 1 metropolis, 1 road, 1 prefecture, 14 prefectures.

The syndicate boasts an estimated 2,400 members, with an additional 1,400 affiliated members, making them a force to be reckoned with.


Sumiyoshi-kai's rise to power and influence is a testament to their resilience and adaptability.

With a long and intricate history, this yakuza syndicate continues to navigate the complex underworld of organized crime in Japan.

While their activities may be shrouded in secrecy, the impact of Sumiyoshi-kai on Japanese society cannot be ignored.

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