The Yakuza made their first inroads into Seattle around the turn of the century. The growing Pacific Rim trade led to more Japanese citizens moving to Seattle. With them came the Yakuza, to protect the interests of “their people” and cater to their various illegal needs. For quite some time, the Yakuza remained confined to areas like the International District, strongly tied to the presence of Japanese corporations, but then they began expanding beyond their traditional boundaries. This was met with bloody resistance from existing syndicates like the Mafia, and mob wars engulfed both sides.
The Watada-rengo in Japan sent new bosses to Seattle, most of them recent Korean recruits. The Koreans rebuilt and expanded the Yakuza in Seattle, pushing back the Mafia on all fronts. Akira Watada, oyabun of the Watada-rengo, began suspecting the Korean bosses of placing the advancement of their own cause above loyalty to the Yakuza. Watada began micromanaging, imposing restrictions on the Koreans and making their work more difficult, then blaming them when things went wrong. The more defiant the Korean bosses became, the more Watada’s paranoia grew, until he ordered a racist purge of the Seattle Yakuza in 2043. In a week of terror called “the Schism,” most of the Koreans and their loyalists were killed. The few survivors became the core of the Seoulpa Rings, filled with a burning thirst for revenge against the Yakuza.
Watada-sama appointed Hanzo Shotozumi the new oyabun of Seattle and assigned him the task of rebuilding a traditional and loyal organization, and consolidating the gains made by the Koreans before they were lost. The Mafia quickly appointed James O’Malley Don of Seattle to fight to retain their hold on operations in the metroplex. Shotozumi-sama pursued his task of controlling the Seattle underworld with a relentless will.
The success and growth of the Yakuza over the years has made them the most powerful syndicate in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps success went to his head, or Akira Watada didn’t choose as well he has thought, because Shotozumi declared his organization independent from the Watada-rengo in Japan, creating the Shotozumi-rengo and commanding the loyalty of the Yakuza clans in Seattle.
A furious Akira Watada declared war on the Seattle Yakuza, with the support of the loyalist Yakuza clans in California. Unfortunately for him, Watada refused to recognize the weakening position of the Yakuza in Japan compared to the new markets in North America, and the relative isolation of Seattle allowed Shotozumi to maintain his Shotozumi. During Crash 2.0, Nishidon thought he saw his opportunity, but his coup attempt was a miserable failure, and the disgraced oyabun took his own life rather than submit to whatever punishment either Shotozumi or the Watada-rengo had in mind for him.
The other shakeup in the Yakuza came when the progressive Shigeda-gumi dissolved after its oyabun, Takeo Shigeda, was assassinated. One of Shigeda’s lieutenants, Sato Kanaga, took over the chairmanship, forming a new Kanaga-gumi with Shotozumi’s blessing.