TOKYO, June 7 (UPI) -- A Tokyo prosthetics maker said about 5 percent of his business comes from former members of yakuza -- the Japanese mafia -- seeking artificial pinkies.
Shintaro Hayashi, who runs the Aiwa Gishi prosthetics company, said he started to see a spike in the demand for prosthetic pinkies about a decade ago and he discovered it was a result of the yakuza requiring members to sever portions of their fingers to atone for serious offenses against the organization, ABC News reported Friday.
The finger-chopping ritual is known as "yubitsume."
Hayashi said former members of the yakuza come to him for prosthetic pinkies to hide their former affiliations and make it easier for them to get legitimate jobs. He said many customers buy multiple $5,000 prosthetic pinkies so they can be matched to their different skin tones in the winter and summer.
Shigeru Takei, a former yakuza member who asked that his real name not be revealed, said he had to undergo yubitsume four times during his 20-year stint with the organization.
He said the missing fingers prevented him from landing a job until he obtained prosthetics from Hayashi.
"The first time I applied for a job, I got cut after the interview. I couldn't write the truth in my resume because I had been in the yakuza for 20 years," he said. "If you don't have fingers, there's no way to get a sales job."