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Shoko Tendo – Yakuza Daughter (Part ONE of THREE)

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___Interview:

__Shoko

__Tendo

on growing

_.up in the

seamy world

_of Japanese

._gangsters

 


By David McNeill


___November 11th, 2007


_-_THE INDEPENDENT


_

_

_

 

_Part ONE of THREE

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Her memoir of growing up

in the criminal underworld

gripped Japan.


But,

as Shoko Tendo explains,

she’s now escaped her violent,

drug-addled past to begin

a new life of middle-class

respectability.


Shoko Tendo grew up in

the house of a crime boss,

spent her teens in a fog of

hard drugs and sex,

then careened from one doomed

relationship to another with a

succession of violent

petty gangsters.

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.

Her life has been

scarred by beatings,

addiction and several

attempted rapes and suicides –

all reported in a sometimes

stomach-churning biography

that has gripped Japan.


So it is disconcerting when she

shows up clutching a bag of cakes,

which she presents with

the deepest of bows.


“I’m so very sorry for cancelling

our previous appointment,”

she says.


Polite,

delicate-featured

and painfully thin,

she looks more like a slightly

weathered manga character than

daughter of the demimonde…

as long as you ignore the garish

tattoos poking out from under

her sleeve.

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Now 39,

Tendo turned her life around

before writing her biography,

Yakuza Moon:

Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter,

which has sold almost 100,000

copies and was published in

English this year.


The book offers a rare

woman’s view of Japan’s

criminal underbelly,

a cruel world ruled by chinpira

(young yakuza punks),

many of whom seem to have

beaten the daylights out of her.


“Every time I met a new man

I thought he would be different,”

she recalls.

“When they cried and

said sorry I forgave them.

I never learnt.”

.

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Her battle scars make her

sound like a casualty from

a warzone:

broken bones and teeth,

perforated eardrums,

a hernia,

bald patches from having

her hair pulled out and hepatitis,

probably from drug use.

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Shoko Tendo links in GREEN




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