Yakuza Moon: Memoirs Of A Gangster's Daughter

Yakuza Moon: Memoirs Of A Gangster's Daughter


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Born to a wealthy and powerful yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived the early years of her life in luxury. However, when she was six, everything changed: her father was jailed, and the family fell into debt. Bullied by her classmates because of her father's activities, and terrorized at home by her father, who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. As a teenager she became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At the age of 15 she spent eight months in a juvenile detention center after getting into a fight with another gang.

During Japan's bubble economy of the eighties, Tendo worked as a bar hostess, attracting many rich and loyal customers, and earning money to help her family out of debt. But there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. Her mother died, plunging Tendo into a depression so deep that she tried to commit suicide.

Somehow, Tendo overcame these tough times. A turning point was getting a full-body tattoo with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, an act that empowered her to change her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at work, she looked up at the full moon, which became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.

The paperback edition of Yakuza Moon features 16-pages of never-before-seen photos of Tendo’s youth, family, and tattoos, as well as a new foreword by the author, describing her life since the book was first published four years ago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568364384
Publisher: Kodansha USA
Publication date: 09/07/2012
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 225,797
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Yakuza Moon is SHOKO TENDO's first book and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Tendo lives in Tokyo with her baby daughter and works as a freelance writer.

Table of Contents

Foreword 13

Chapter 1 Floating Clouds 19

Chapter 2 Cheap Thrills 29

Chapter 3 Speed 53

Chapter 4 Lovers 75

Chapter 5 Retribution 93

Chapter 6 Tattoo 117

Chapter 7 Clean Break 131

Chapter 8 Chains 155

Chapter 9 Separate Ways 177

Afterword: How Full is the Moon? Manabu Miyazaki 189

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Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yakuza Moon was a solid read from beginning to end. What I did not expect, was the feeling of inspiration I felt at the end. This book visits very dark and personal topics for the author, and I actually felt very grateful to her when I finished the book. It is short, and as it was the author's first book, it was lacking a bit in literary quality. However, I strongly recommend giving this one a try.
MandaTheStrange on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a rather amazing biography. I am not too familiar with the Yakuza so it was interesting to read about Shoko's dark life. In this memoir Shoko envelopes the reader into the murky depths of being brought up within the Yakuza world. Through Shoko's eyes the reader is immersed in her childhood, the story circulates around her unstable family (particularly her father) and the turmoil they endure. Shoko continues to inform the reader about her horrendous experiences with drugs, violent relationships, death, severe depression and poverty. Although the book deals with extremely dark themes, Shoko recalls some absolutely beautiful memories that cut through the bitterness of the book, she continually calls upon the theme of family and how truly important they are in ones life...Although this book does not specifically focus on the Yakuza, it is still an interesting memoir to read.
DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shoko Tendo grew up as the daughter of a Yakuza boss in 1980¿s Japan. Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster¿s Daughter is her story of those years. While not a particularly well written book, I did admire her brutal honesty and the fact that she doesn¿t make any excuses for herself, she simply tells us of her life.Unfortunately this is not a book that supplied much detail about the Yakuza. Her father managed to run himself into tremendous debt and had to get out from the protection of the mob while she was still quite young. Her memories of her early age are of being bullied and called names due to her father¿s connections, her father¿s violent rages, and his time spent in prison while her mother had to run the businesses and his gang. Shoko¿s story is mostly about her own downward spiral, starting with running with a wild crowd at the ago of twelve, getting into sniffing paint thinner, advancing into speed. Rebelling against her parents, she instead fell into one abusive and controlling relationship after another.. She finally found personal empowerment by having herself vividly tattooed and changing her lifestyle.I found the closing chapter of the book rather strange. It appears to be a rambling declaration asking for her parents forgiveness. I think she was actually accepting her past and forgiving herself. Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster¿s Daughter is certainly far from the best book I have read this year, but I think it will be one that I remember.
readerbynight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one go; considering I have never done that before, it says a lot for the intensity and breathtaking reality of the memoir. Though relatively short, it packs a powerful punch, an amazing debut. I was drawn into her story until I felt I was a part of it. The essence of a good writer is to be able to make that connection between reader and character, and Shoko Tendo has certainly done that. Way out of my usual genres, I was completely absorbed in her heart-wrenching memoir, an emotional roller-coaster told in a straight-forward, no-holds-barred manner. In the version I read, photos and a foreword have been added to the original publication. These contributed to the personality of Shoko. Unfamiliar as I am with yakuza society (somewhat like a Japanese mafia), this book brought me into lifestyles I knew nothing about; I also learned to see a tattoo as a complete work of art, which in Japan it truly is. These tattoos are full-body canvases, extremely detailed and historical art. Shoko was the middle child in a family of three girls and a boy, her father a yakuza, in a life of plenty. Fearful of her father's rages, bullied at school, discriminated against and insecure, Shoko's lifestyle had already begun to change at the tender age of twelve when her older sister took her to a club and passed her off as 18. The next several years of her life are spent in drugged out sex, used and abused. When all goes wrong at home, her father resigns as a yakuza and is pursued by yakuza loan sharks. Shoko falls into the trap of one man, a former friend of her father. His false promises to help her father with his financial problems and his Jekyll and Hyde personality drags her deep into his net. Misguided in what is expected of her, she sinks deeper and deeper.Shoko does not try to lecture in her book, but is faithful to her memories. She does not dwell on her situation but writes with an honesty and thoroughness that through her worst times I could feel the disassociation she finally reaches. Intense, poignant, numbed and broken, she lays it all on the line. Her emergence from this darkness is wonderful to read and shows the strength of her true character. This memoir is a real eye-opener of horrendous abuse and the intimidation that denies escape. Exceptionally well-written for a debut. I highly recommend this book.
frolicsome_kid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shoko has written an interesting autobiography about herself as a yakuza's daughter. One can learn about the basics of yakuza, but that really isn't the focal point of the story. She has written about her teenage delinquency when her life starts spiraling down because of drugs, party and sex. It is quite sickening to learn that she actually enjoyed them all and getting on the wrong side.I am quite in shock to learn that she had affairs with men who usually mistreated her. Two of them treated her well, but due to circumstances, they were unable to be together. She also portrayed her teenage self as weak-spirited as she hooked up on drugs after a period of trying to come clean.I'm glad to know that she is taking charge of her life now. Family, teenage angst, sex, drugs, romance, betrayal and Japanese culture are the major themes in the book. It is quite well-written for her first book. It is a good read too and we all can learn from the mistakes.
mopedronin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The autobiography of a woman who is the daughter of a now deceased yakuza boss. A tale of drugs, sex, and violence from the tender age of 13.Not really a very good book. It was written for an audience that understands what Japan already is (ie the Japanese), so the English translation lacks the details and explanation of situations that is needed for those uninitiated with the country or culture.A fine book as far as autobiographies go, but I would ONLY recommend it after reading SPEED TRIBES first (which does an excellent job of setting the scene).
nexist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable read. It's a bit light, as I read it in under four hours, however the litany of drug abuse, abusive relationships and death resonated strongly with me. She manages to avoid the "pity me" trap which so often plagues stories of rough lives and instead gives us a straightforward and pleasurable triumph over adversity tale. I did expect more of a Yakuza slant, but since her father fell by the time she was 12, it is understandable that the Yakuza Culture aspect was minimal. I do wish it was longer, but perhaps then it would have become a pity fest.
MRodriguez More than 1 year ago
It's been awhile since I got into a book because I am so busy with life and this one was definitely one to get me back into my groove.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful quick read. Wish it was a little longer, but very interesting and insightful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You really go through this story fairly quickly, but despite that, it was a really interesting read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would NOT suggest anyone under the age of 17-18 to read this book (it does get fairly graphic with regard to certain situations). Beautifully written and a real eye-opener to life in Japan, especially with regard to the Yakuza lifestyle. One of my all-time favorite reads!
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Yuccacat More than 1 year ago
I am always on the lookout for an amazing non-fiction saga! and YAKUZA MOON fits this to a T !!! A must read..on so many levels!
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EmkayB More than 1 year ago
This certainly hooked me in and kept me reading until I had read every last page. While I do not liked how so many woman in life let themselves be abused the way Tendo was, it was uplifting to read how she eventually got past that and moved herself up in the world. One word of warning - Tendo is very human and as such makes mistakes, but she keeps going on. This shows the bad side of Yakuza world for the family members rather than showing how cool or heroic the Yakuza are. This edition has a reaction/review by Manabu Miyazaki which is also a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago