The gang was originally formed in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture, but moved its activities east in 1991 when it merged with a gang in Hachiōji, Tokyo. The Goto-gumi, as an affiliate of Japan's largest yakuza organization, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, was seen as a vanguard for Yamaguchi expansion into the Kantō region.
The gang achieved notoriety the following year when five of its members assaulted and seriously injured Japanese filmmaker Juzo Itami. The attack was in retaliation for Itami's negative portrayal of the yakuza in his film Minbo no Onna.
On October 14, 2008 Goto was expelled from the Yamaguchi-gumi  and the Goto-gumi was split into two parts, headed by Mr. Rachi and Mr. Tsukamoto, two of Goto's chief executives. At the time of the expulsion, the supreme godfather Shinobu Tsukasa was in jail, and the expulsion was officially accepted by the number-two, Kiyoshi Takayama, the head of the second Kodo-kai. In April 2009 Tadamasa Goto publicly entered study for Buddhist priesthood.
In 2011 a Japanese man believed to be connected to the Goto-gumi was killed in Thailand.
The Goto-gumi was active in various fields of business, such as the financial industry, real estate industry, construction industry, and in the political world. Also, the Goto-gumi had allegedly been very influential in the entertainment industry,.
The Goto-gumi had allegedly been connected to the Hong Kong mafia, and police reports indicated that the Goto-gumi had smuggled firearms from the Philippines, where they had connections with some of the country's high-ranking military officers. Members, especially senior members often visited foreign countries to acquire shooting skills.
Goto's FBI scandal
In 2001 the FBI's representative in Tokyo arranged for Tadamasa Goto, then the head of the Goto-gumi, to receive a liver transplant in the United States in return for a $100,000 donation to the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and information about Yamaguchi-gumi operations in the U.S. This was done without prior consultation of the Japanese National Police Agency. The journalist who uncovered the deal, Jake Adelstein, received threats from Goto and was given police protection in the US and in Japan.
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- "Police's 'Yamaguchi-gumi Cleanup Operation' behind O-zumo's 'Baseball Gambling'", July 1, 2010, Gendai Business (Japanese)
- Tadamasa Goto gives up the gangster life, The First Post, 8 April 2009
- "Overview of the Goto-gumi (from the authority researches)", Japan Subculture Research Center (Japanese)
- "The Names of the Boryokudan and Talent Agency in the Leaked Document of the National Police Agency", September 2007, Cyzo (Japanese)
- "Tadamasa Goto gives up the gangster life | News | The Week UK". Thefirstpost.co.uk. 2009-04-08. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
- This Mob Is Big in Japan, The Washington Post, 11 May 2008