Y is for Yakuza

By: Joshua Glenn
July 23, 2012

A series of 26 posts featuring excerpts from Joshua Glenn’s The Idler’s Glossary (Biblioasis, 2008) and The Wage Slave’s Glossary (Biblioasis, 2011). Both books were coauthored by Mark Kingwell, who contributed entertaining philosophical-critical essays on the subjects of idling and wage slavery; and both were wittily illustrated and designed by the cartoonist Seth.


This pejorative moniker, embraced today by members of Japanese organized crime syndicates, dates to the mid-Edo period, when itinerant and heavily tattooed social outcasts made their living playing games of chance. Ya-ku-za (or 8-9-3) is a losing hand in the card game Oicho-Kabu, a form of blackjack; to be a yakuza, then, in a highly stratified social order, was to be an ostentatiously “useless individual.”


ALSO: Alienation | Big Rock Candy Mountains | Corporation | Dawdle | Employee of the Month | Flazy | Greybearding | Hobo | Inemuri | Jack of All Trades | Knock Off Work | Lazy | Micawberish | Nobbing It | Onboarding | Pink Slip | Quitter | Robot | Stakhanovite | Time and Motion Study | Unemployment | Volupté | Wage Slavery | Xerox Subsidy | Yakuza | Zero Drag


Idleness, Read-outs