- Yoshinori Watanabe
name= Yoshinori Watanabe
birth_date=Birth date and age|1941|1|8|mf=y
Tochigi prefecture, Japan
nihongo|Yoshinori Watanabe|渡辺 芳則|Watanabe Yoshinori|born
January 8, 1941was the fifth "kumicho" (chairman or Godfather) of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuzaorganization.
He rose to power in
1989, at a time when a weakened Yamaguchi-gumi was struggling to recover from the three-year Yama-Ichi War. But under Watanabe's leadership, the gang again rose to unexpected heights and financial prosperity.
After the Kobe earthquake of 1995, Watanabe ordered his yakuza soldiers to distribute food and supplies to survivors.
On Friday July 29,
2005, Yoshinori Watanabe stepped down as "kumicho". He was the first "kumicho" of the Yamaguchi-gumito be succeeded while alive. The announcement was made at a meeting of high ranking Yamaguchi bosses at which "saiko-komon" Saizo Kishimotoread a prepared statement. Many of the yakuza in attendance reportedly burst into tears at the news. Watanabe was replaced by his second-in-command Kenichi Shinoda.
On his retirement, he was quoted as saying "I've been "kumicho" for 16 years, but I have been sick for the past four years and can no longer fulfill my responsibilities." Watanabe, an expert on
Chinese literaturein his spare time, is reportedly in poor health.
* [http://gangstersinc.tripod.com/Watanabe.html Biography]
* [http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/waiwai/face/archive/news/2005/20050805p2g00m0dm010000c.html Asahi Geino article on Watanabe from the Mainichi Daily News]
* [http://www3.tky.3web.ne.jp/~edjacob/mostdangerous.htm Biography]
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