After striking a life-saving deal with the FBI, Tadamaso Goto, a well-know leader of the Japanese mafia, entered the Buddhist priesthood on April 8th, which is celebrated as the Buddha’s birthday in Japan. Goto was expelled from the yakuza’s Yamaguchi-gumi in October, after it was revealed that he traded information to the FBI in 2001 in order to receive a liver transplant in the United States. In the 1980s and 1990s, the yakuza in the Tokyo area, under Goto’s direction, was known for extortion, human trafficking, drug dealing, beatings, and destroying businesses that refused to comply with its demands. Goto believes that by becoming a priest the Buddha will enable him to begin a new life. Read more here.
Warrior-Monks in Japanese History
By Mikael S. Adolphson , University of Alberta
(Vol. 4, March 2009)
Death, Burial, and the Study of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism
By Mark Rowe , McMaster University
(Vol. 3, December 2008)