From left to right, Mitsuru Ono, Kazuo Taoka, Kōji Tsuruta. 1952.
|Born||March 28, 1913
Higashimiyoshi, Tokushima, Japan
|Died||July 23, 1981
Early life 
Taoka, an orphan, grew up as a young street fighter in Kobe under the guidance of Noboru Yamaguchi, the Yamaguchi-gumi's boss. He earned his lifelong nickname "Kuma" ("the Bear") due to his signature attack of clawing at an opponent's eyes.
He was imprisoned for murder from 1937 to 1943, and assumed the role of kumicho three years later at the age of 33.
He had survived a 1978 assassination attempt when he was shot in the back of the neck by a member of the Matsuda-gumi (松田組), a rival gang to the Yamaguchi-gumi, during a limbo dance exhibition at a nightclub in Kyoto. His attacker was found dead several weeks later in some woods near Kobe.
Personal life 
|Kumicho of Yamaguchi-gumi
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