It’s Very Important To Nintendo That Publishers Don’t Work For The Yakuza

It’s Very Important To Nintendo That Publishers Don’t Work For The Yakuza
Image: Sega

After being delayed by technical issues that resulted in a conference call full of screaming Fortnite children, the long-awaited Epic vs Apple court trial is finally underway this week. As part of the proceedings, Nintendo provided documents that include a publisher contract — though honestly, “include” might be a stretch.

Nintendo submitted 25 pages of nearly-nothing, blacking out the overwhelming majority of a Nintendo Switch content licence and distribution agreement. As Kotaku’s Ethan Gach put it, “Nintendo’s Epic versus Apple court filings are more redacted than the Mueller report.” But Nintendo did leave one notable detail visible — namely, a stipulation that bars Japanese developers and publishers from working with the yakuza.

The agreement requires Nintendo partners to guarantee that neither they nor their employees are “Anti-Social Forces,” nor are they providing money or favours to said forces. Nintendo goes on to define “Anti-Social Force” by repeatedly using the term “Boryokudan,” which is what Japanese police and media call members of organised crime syndicates.

As defined in Nintendo’s contract (via some guy): “‘Anti-Social Force’ means an organised crime group (‘Boryokudan’), a member of a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudanin’), a sub-member of a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudan jyunkoseiin’), a corporation related to a Boryokudan (‘Boryokudan kanren gaisha’), a racketeer attempting to extort money from a company by threatening to cause trouble at the general stockholders’ meeting (‘Soukaiya’) or acting as if advocating legitimate social causes (‘Shakai undou nado hyoubou goro’), or a special intelligence organised crime group (‘Tokusyu chinou boryoku syudan’), or other group or person equivalent to any of the foregoing.”

The contract also forbids developers and publishers from making “violent demands,” using “threat or violence in connection with transactions,” and “spreading false rumours, using fraud or force.”

In short, it is unlikely that Kazuma Kiryu will be doing business with Nintendo anytime soon.


  • Is there a list of which potential publishers might be involved here? Clearly this is a problem for Nintendo to have a clause for it, but who are they talking about?

    • Konami. It’s 100% Konami.

      There are definitely other companies with a Yakuza finger in their pie, but in Japan it’s just a known thing that Konami have organised crime ties. It’s less about making sure they don’t work with Yakuza (it’s inevitable), as it is a legal buffer in case those ties ever become a problem.

  • Nintendo have been making hanafuda cards since the beginning, most gambling in Japan has been illegal since like the 1600s.
    Nintendo enabled boryokudan to keep enjoying private gambling by providing them with the cards.
    Nintendo doesn’t want anyone associated with any boryokudan as they don’t want to run into someone they know who may expose how close they actually are themselves.
    I made a this up but hmmm…

    Ps I love you Nintendo, please don’t send the assassins. 😀

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