Wanted Japanese Yakuza Leader Identified Through Tattoos

Wanted Retired 72-year-old Japanese Yakuza Leader Identified Through Pictures Of Tattoos Posted On Social Media
Yakuza Tattoo


In Thailand, a 72-year-old former member of the Japanese Yakuza was arrested after Japanese police had recognized the man’s tattoos on photographs of him that circulated on the internet. The 72-year-old was on the run from law enforcement for over 15 years.


Shigeharu Shirai is suspected of involvement in the murder of a rival gang leader back in 2003. In that case, seven people have already been convicted and are serving between 12 and 17 years in prison. Shirai is believed to have been the shooter. He belonged to the Yakuza chapter named Kodo-kai.

He then fled to Thailand where he married a local woman. At a certain point, someone took pictures of his tattoos without his knowledge while playing a game of checkers on the street.


That pictures were shared around 10,000 times, which is not extraordinary, but it eventually reached a Japanese detective. The Japanese police requested the Thai police to detain the 72-year-old, which happened this Wednesday in a town north of Bangkok.

Shirai was also identified because law enforcement also knew that he had cut off his pinkie. Cutting off a finger is a habit under Yakuzu to rectify a mistake. Tattoos are also important for Yakuza. It symbolizes their reputation and their turning away from society.

Shirai was living in Thailand illegally. He received money a few times a year from a Japanese man who came to visit him. Authorities in both Japan and Thailand are now working to extradite the crime boss to Japan.


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