The Sumiyoshi-kai (住吉会), sometimes referred to as the Sumiyoshi-rengo (住吉連合 Sumiyoshi-rengō , "Sumiyoshi Union"), is the second-largest yakuza group in Japan with an estimated 20,000 members.
The Sumiyoshi-kai is a confederation of smaller gangs. Its current sosai, or president, is Shigeo Nishiguchi. Structurally, the Sumiyoshi-kai differs from its main rival, the Yamaguchi-gumi. The Sumiyoshi-kai, as a federation, has a looser chain of command and although Nishiguchi is still the supreme Godfather, he shares some powers with several other men.
The group has a complex history, with numerous name changes along the way. It was founded in 1958 as the Minato-kai (港会) by Shigesaku Abe who was the 3rd socho, or supreme head (socho) of the Sumiyoshi-ikka. Yoshimitsu Sekigami who is 4th socho of Sumiyoshi-ikka renamed it to Sumiyoshi-kai. It was received the control of power, and dissolved in 1965.
In 1969, the group was rebuilt as a union, the Sumiyoshi-rengo by Masao Hori who was 5th socho of Sumiyoshi-ikka. It tried to make it in Sumiyoshi-rengokai (住吉連合会) of the organization that united it in 1982, and Hori assumed the president (kaicho). Chief director Ryoji Kawaguchi assumed the kaicho, and Hori was promoted to sosai, or president in 1988. Kawaguchi died of illness in May 1990, and Hori died of illness in October of the same year.
Shigeo Nishiguchi, born in 1929, assumed the 6th socho of Sumiyoshi-ikka and kaicho of this group in February, 1991. At that time, it was again renamed the Sumiyoshi-kai. Chief director Hareaki Fukuda,born in 1943, assumed the kaicho, and Nishiguchi was promoted to sosai in June 1998. Fukuda assumed the 7th socho of the Sumiyoshi-ikka on April 17, 2005. Sumiyoshi is a ward in the city of Osaka.
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