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Kabuki-mono

Kabuki-mono, also known as Hatamoto-yakko, were samurai bandits who roamed across Japan during the Sengoku period and the Tokugawa Shogunate era. Kabuki-mono means "the crazy ones" in Japanese, referencing their outlandish coostumes, strange haircuts, bizarre behavior, long swords, their terrorizing of the defenseless townspeople of Japan, and their tsujigiri slayings of random passers-by at crossroads to test out their new blades. The Kabuki-mono were also known as the Hatamoto-yakko, meaning "servants of the Shogun", and they were tight-knit, swearing to protect each other against all threats, including their own parents. After the Battle of Sekigahara and Ieyasu Tokugawa's unification of Japan, 500,000 samurai were suddenly unemployed, and, while most samurai joined the growing merchant class in large villages like Osaka and castle towns like Tokyo and Nagoya, joined the expanding civil bureaucracy, or became scholars and philosophers, many other samurai of good standing decided to engage in street fighting, robbery, and terror as Kabuki-mono. They became rivals with local vigilante groups known as the Machi-yakko, who fought back against the Kabuki-mono attacks on their villages. By 1615, the peak of Kabuki-mono had come to an end as the Shogunate became more strict on law enforcement. Both the Kabuki-mono and the Machi-yakko were later identified as predecessors of the modern yakuza criminal organizations.

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