The modern yakuza are derived from two distinct anteeedents, gambIers (bakuto) and itinerant peddlers (tekiya) though the etymology of the generie term yakuza referring to a losing hand (ya ku sa-eight, nine, three) in a Japanese eard game has an obvious gambling derivation. During the Tokugawa period (1600-1867) these groups suffered periodie bouts of persecution though more typieally the authorities adopted a pragmatie attitude, seeing them as useful agents of social control and sourees of intelligenee. Gambling bosses frequently also operated as labour brokers to the eentral government's ambitious eonstruetion projects while loeal tekiya bosses were responsible for the organisation of stall-holders at festivals within their territory [1].