Do the Yakuza still exist in Japan?

Yes. They're basically like shadows - you might not notice them but they're actually everywhere you go.

Many girl bars/clubs, brothels, love hotels and other such businesses are said to be run by them. But you won't find them unless they want to be seen, and the people that openly work in these establishments are usually outsiders or those at the very bottom of the pyramid.

They do, however, love traditional Japanese festivals and come out quite publicly during festival season, often participating in contests or parading the streets dancing. It's quite evident they're not people of normal trade from the way they dress, their distinct aura, and the dead giveaway - the tattoos.

In regards to personal encounters, I believe I had one ten years ago.

My dad and I were in the country side of western Japan in Tokushima Prefecture and decided to go out for some good ol' midnight fishing. We cast our poles and awaited our catch. The stars twinkled down on us and the crickets sang out to us. All was peaceful. All was well.

Until a man in his thirties a couple feet away started bellowing at his cellphone. An endless stream of cusswords and death threats pierced through the cold night air, and with nowhere to hide my dad and I did our best to make ourselves as small as possible in hopes that we would not be noticed. Cold sweat dropped down our backs as we nervously sat through the intense 10 minutes that followed. Yet, as soon as he hung up his temper was back to normal and he chatted on with his male acquaintance as if nothing had happened.

Dad looked over at me eyes wide and uttered one word: "Wow".

Of course, this man may have very well been a normal fishing enthusiast with an extremely dirty vocabulary and an explosive temper, but the way he carried himself and how it was entirely believable that his every death threat would come to a quick and painful fruition convinced us otherwise. Anyone can get pissed. But only few can do so in a truly bone-chilling manner.

Funny thing is, at one point he threatened the poor guy on the other end "Want me to drown you in Tokyo Bay? (東京湾に沈めたろかワレ)", which is commonly said by "Yakuza" in dramas and movies, although sadly the frightening impact gets lost in translation.

We thought it was a cliche phrase only existent behind screen, so we had a good laugh about it afterwards (in the safety of our own home across the globe) that there were Yakuza that actually said it in real life.

Not a very practical threat though.

Source: QUORA