Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as Applied to the Japanese Yakuza

Nathan R. Moran, Midwestern State University
Robert D. Hanser, Sam Houston State University

This work provides an initial portrayal of the historical evolution of the Japanese Yakuza, providing the reader with a general notion of the Yakuza subculture's development. From this point, theoretical applications are utilized to explain why individuals acculturated in Japanese mainstream society may choose to enter a subculture of crime and violence. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is employed as the primary theory in explaining initial selection and life-long membership within the Japanese Yakuza subculture. The contention is that members of the Yakuza have both extrinsic and intrinsic needs that are met by the unique structure of the Yakuza subculture. Thus, membership attraction may go well beyond simple monetary rewards that are often associated with many organized crime elements.

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Updated 05/20/2006