Born to a wealthy and powerful yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived the early years of her life in luxury. However, when she was six, everything changed: her father was jailed, and the family fell into debt. Bullied by her classmates because of her father’s activities, and terrorized at home by her father, who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. As a teenager she became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At the age of 15 she spent eight months in a juvenile detention center after getting into a fight with another gang.
During Japan’s bubble economy of the eighties, Tendo worked as a bar hostess, attracting many rich and loyal customers, and earning money to help her family out of debt. But there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. Her mother died, plunging Tendo into a depression so deep that she tried to commit suicide.
Somehow, Tendo overcame these tough times. A turning point was getting a full-body tattoo with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, an act that empowered her to change her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at work, she looked up at the full moon, which became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.
The paperback edition of Yakuza Moon features 16-pages of never-before-seen photos of Tendo’s youth, family, and tattoos, as well as a new foreword by the author, describing her life since the book was first published four years ago.
About Yakuza Moon
In this lively and inspiring adaptation by a rising star in the manga world, and with illustrations by a leading artist, Shoko Tendo’s powerful story has been recreated. Yakuza Moon is a heartrending and eye-opening account of her experiences growing up in Japan’s gangster society.
Born into the family of a wealthy yakuza boss, Shoko Tendo lived her early years in luxury. But labeled “the yakuza kid,” she was the victim both of bullying and discrimination from teachers and classmates at school, and of her father’s drunken rages at home. Then, the family fell into debt, and Tendo fell in with the wrong crowd. By the age of fifteen she was a gang member; by the age of eighteen, a drug addict; and in her twenties, a willing participant in a series of abusive and violent relationships with men.
Tendo sank lower and lower. After the death of her parents and her own suicide attempt, she began a tortuous, soul-searching reevaluation of the road she had taken. An unconventional act of empowerment (getting tattooed from the base of her neck to the tips of her toes) finally helped her take control of her life, leading to redemption and happiness.
Already an international success and translated into fourteen languages, Tendo’s story is sure to appeal to many new fans in this outstanding graphic version.
About Yakuza Moon
Yakuza Moon is the shocking, yet intensely moving memoir of 37-yearold Shoko Tendo, who grew up the daughter of a yakuza boss. Tendo lived her life in luxury until the age of six, when her father was sent to prison, and her family fell into terrible debt. Bullied by classmates who called her “the yakuza girl,” and terrorized at home by a father who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. A regular visitor to nightclubs at the age of 12, she soon became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. By the age of 15 she found herself sentenced to eight months in a juvenile detention center.
Adulthood brought big bucks and glamour when Tendo started working as a bar hostess during Japan’s booming bubble economy of the nineteen- eighties. But among her many rich and loyal patrons there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. When her mother died, Tendo plunged into such a deep depression that she tried to commit suicide twice.
Tendo takes us through the bad times with warmth and candor, and gives a moving and inspiring account of how she overcame a lifetime of discrimination and hardship. Getting tattooed, from the base of her neck to the tips of her toes, with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, was an act that empowered her to start making changes in her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at the bar she looked up at the full moon, a sight she never forgot. The moon became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.
“Emotionally complex and thoroughly heart-rending, this book is recommended for anyone searching for a more thorough and personal understanding of Japanese society.” —Publishers Weekly
“The first female ever to break the code of silence and speak about life for women in the underworld…her best-selling memoir shocked [Japan]… with its graphic accounts of her addictions to sex, drugs and violent lovers.” —Marie Claire^
“[Tendo’s] story…shines a light into a dark and little understood corner of modern Japan.” —The Guardian
“The book offers a rare woman’s view of Japan’s criminal underbelly.” —The Independent
“Much has been written about Japan’s gangsters—their full-body tattoos, boozing, womanizing, strict honor codes and occasional explosions of violence. Very little has been heard from their lovers, daughters or wives. Tendo has been all three.” —Bloomberg
“A chilling and tawdry tale about family life and romance among the yakuza.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A raw, heartbreaking account of damaged youth.” —Bust^
“A thrilling memoir…an exclusive glimpse into a life rarely experienced firsthand.” —Time Out Chicago^