The Fourth Yamaken-gumi (四代目山健組 Yondaime Yamaken-gumi?) is a yakuza gang based in Kobe, Japan. It is the largest affiliate of the largest known yakuza syndicate in Japan, the Yamaguchi-gumi, followed by the Nagoya-based Kodo-kai. It takes its name from its founder, Kenichi Yamamoto.
The Yamaken-gumi is estimated to have between 3,000 and 7,000 members.
Yoshinori Watanabe was kumicho (Godfather) of the Yamaken-gumi from 1982 to 1989 before becoming kumicho of the Yamaguchi-gumi. Watanabe retired from that post in July 2005, but the Yamaken-gumi remains largely loyal to him. Many of its members were upset that the sixth Yamaguchi don was not chosen from their ranks, instead, the Nagoya-based Kenichi Shinoda was chosen.
- 1st kumicho (1961-1982): Kenichi Yamamoto (山本 健一?) who was a eldest son (若頭 wakagashira?) of the Third Yamaguchi-gumi. He was a former member of Yasuhara-kai (安原会?).
- 2nd kumicho (1982-1989): Yoshinori Watanabe (渡辺 芳則?) who was wakagashira of the Fourth Yamaguchi-gumi. He was 1st kaicho (会長?) of the Kenryu-kai (健竜会?), and would later become kumicho of the Fifth Yamaguchi-gumi.
- 3rd kumicho (1989-2005): Kaneyoshi Kuwata (桑田 兼吉?) who is a eldest son's assistant (若頭補佐 wakagashira-hosa?) of the Fifth Yamaguchi-gumi. He was kaicho of the Second Kenryu-kai.
- 4th kumicho (2005-): Kunio Inoue (井上 邦雄?) who is a kambu (幹部?) of the Sixth Yamaguchi-gumi. He was kaicho of the Fourth Kenryu-kai. He is an adopted son of Kuwata.
Current Top Leaders
- "Police wary as Yamaguchi-gumi prepares to fete sixth don", August 19, 2005, The Japan Times
- "Yamaguchi-gumi don celebrates a decade at the top", July 19, 1999, The Japan Times
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