Disclaimer: Naruto is a comic by Masashi Kishomoto, published by Shonen Jump, and produced as an animated series by Viz Media. The Art of War is a widely published text originally written Sun Tzu. The Kuroihi Syndicate, the Enkou Brotherhood, the Kaki Alliance, the Shirotsuki Clan, Sora Keitaro, Sakurazaki Hana, Momiji Hashi, Dewaya Yahiko, Chairman Kuroihi Ryouke, Kuroihi Yamato, Kasen Eiji, Yagami Shinji, Utawa Miji, Doragon Gan, and all affiliated members are my intellectual properties.
(An Older Brother)
Hey folks, my name is leonardo1123581321 and I wrote Oyabun. The last five years I've spent writing Oyabun have been wonderful and this story has seen some joyful development since its initial inception. Many of you out there have been with me from the beginning and I want to thank you all for coming this far with me. Others joined along the way and you were just as welcome as those from the beginning. Others left and I was sad to see a few of them go, since they provided good input. Others just trolled from the beginning and I learned to ignore them/laugh in their face. Regardless of that, many of you asked the same question: what inspired this story?
The main inspiration of this story is Mario Puzo's The Sicilian, a spin-off to his famous The Godfather novel, which focused on historical figure Salvatore Guilliano and the folklore surrounding his ventures around post-World War II Sicily. While the novel was mostly fictional, Salvatore Guilliano was a real historical figure famous for the chaos he caused on the little island by resisting both the Italian government and the local mafia chieftain. This led to his rise to infamy until a joint effort between the mafia and the Italian government to smear his name. After successfully framing him for slaughtering a communist rally, Salvatore lost the support of the Sicilian people. Even though he would continue his Robin Hood-esque escapades, he would never win back the hearts of the Italian people. With his support dwindling and increased attempts on his life, Salvatore was forced to seek refuge in America with the assistance of Don Corleone. This proved to be a fatal mistake, as Don Corleone sold out Salvatore to the local mafia in order to secure the safe return of his son, Michael Corleone, to America. He also used this to teach Michael his first lesson about 'Cosa Nostra' - 'It is better to be alive and living a fruitful life, than to die a hero'. This is, of course, what inspired me to write Oyabun.
Of course, that only inspired me. The main plot draws heavily from two sources: The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Confessions of a Yakuza by Junichi Saga. Both of these stories are gang-centric and focused on the development of a main character from a weary outsider to the boss of a criminal empire. Both of these stories were excellent - and I regularly go back to them when I want to read something thought provoking. There's always something in the story I missed the last time I read it and it changes my perspective on the whole thing.
But I also drew from some other sources as well while writing this story. For characterization purposes, I drew from Kazuo Tenma in Monster, the real life stories of Al Capone and Eiji Ijichi, the ruthlessness of Michael Corleone in the Godfather, Niko Bellic's internal struggles in Grand Theft Auto IV, and Kazuma Kiryu's determination in Yakuza. For describing atmosphere and moods, I drew from the worlds of Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories, Goodfellas, Kino's Journey, The Little Prince, and the Sopranos.
Of course, it's hard to explain how there can be powerful crime organizations in the shinobi universe. The Naruto-verse has a bizarre legal system compared to the contemporary world, given their society is based on a more feudal Japan as opposed to a modern one. And this universe, shinobi seem pretty much entitled to kill a criminal on sight for simply being a criminal. Coupled with my limited knowledge of the Yakuza, I was pushed to look into everything I could find. I spent about six months focused on researching the Japanese Mafia - their power structure, rituals and ceremonies, relationships between different groups, their business practices and investments, etc.
What I found surprised me and I could go on about it. To spare you, I'll condense it to a few quick highlights. As I've said before, the Yakuza are by no means a secret society. They operate openly and rarely exercise subtlety in their activities because the Japanese government recognizes them as semi-legitimate operations for a variety of reasons. First, the Yakuza are better at exercising control in some regions of Japan than the national police. This is because of the reluctance of some communities to seek help from the police - red light districts, slums, districts inhabited by minorities, and shopping districts. Another reason, is the crime rate in Yakuza controlled communities. As an example - there is the city of Kobe, Japan. Kobe has arguably the lowest crime rate in all of Japan compared to cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, etc. This is due to petty criminals such as robbers and muggers being fearful of yakuza retaliation compared to anything the Japanese legal system can do.
Second, Yakuza groups are known for their philanthropic efforts - such as the aid they provided during the recent tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown. They also provided aide during the 1995 Kobe earthquake, such as providing food, shelter, and medical care to the victims. When compared to the slower response of the Japanese government, it's not hard to see why some people fight efforts to remove Yakuza from their communities.
I also learned they have a large membership, somewhere in excess of 100,000 in Japan alone. Considering that many Yakuza are international operations, the known numbers may just be the tip of the iceberg. In addition a lot of infighting occurs because of the nature of their complex organizational structure. To sum it up: it's messy. Sometimes the infighting is for leadership succession, other times its because the fighting gangs don't know they belong to the same organization. At times, Yakuza groups will even merge together which only further muddles who's in charge of who. For Oyabun, I presented a very simplified and organized group which I kept charted. I posted a simplified chart on my deviantart account under the same name (leonardo1123581321). This leads me to another point:
The Original Characters or OCs that I created for this story were from another story. An original story I was planning titled Yakuza: Brothers. A few of the characters appeared in Oyabun - such as Momiji Hashi, Sakurazaki Hana, Sora Keitaro, Kuroihi Ryouke, Kuroihi Yamato, Eiji Kasen, Dewaya Yahiko, Momiji Kuroihi, and many others. Even the Four Syndicates: The Kuroihi Syndicate, the Enkou Syndicate, the Kaki Brotherhood, and the Shirotsuki Family - were all originally planned to be for my independent novel. I don't want to give away too much about Yakuza: Brothers, because I started Oyabun for a reason. I wanted to take the characters I'd established and see if they'd be any good in a story setting. What I found is that many of them worked but a few had to be reworked because they were just too boring. Now that I have this knowledge, I can go ahead and start writing Yakuza: Brothers for submission to a publisher.
Which leads me to a point. Oyabun's main story was mostly outlined from beginning to end - which wasn't entirely difficult given that I was just reworking Masashi Kishimoto's timeline for Naruto. I did leave enough room so I could make changes and adjustments as I needed, but the backbone of the story was always there. These included the decision to give Naruto a pairing in the story, which I left up to the readers since I wanted to let majority choice be the deciding factor. Remember, you don't get to complain if you didn't vote. It cost me a few readers, and got me just as many as I lost. It was a polarizing move, but I went with it for my own personal reasons. To this day, it's not a choice I regret since their romance took a back seat to the main focus - Naruto's development as a gangster. I just had to come up with an excuse for Naruto to want to be a gangster. The solution? The Yakuza follow a largely outsider mentally - some believe that they are outcasts in Japanese society. Naruto is an outsider to Konoha society, but would know to be weary and avoid Yakuza. So, why not have a yakuza save him from a villager calling him an outsider? The story pretty much wrote itself from there - although I did make a few tweaks to explore some unseen ground. These included:
-Haku hinted at Naruto in the beginning of the series that they could've been good friends if life had played out different.
-Naruto's relationship with Gamabunta (Chief Toad) was initially represented as one of oyabun and kobun in the show and manga - implying the toads had a yakuza style structure.
-Kakashi's relationship with Naruto since he suggests he knows that Naruto is the son of the Fourth Hokage.
-How Naruto would see the ninja world from the perspective of someone who isn't a ninja.
A Gray Narutoverse
Up to this point in the Naruto manga and anime, the world had only been seen from eyes of the shinobi. There was very little of it viewing the world from someone who wasn't a ninja. Oyabun was in a unique position to show that world from the eyes of someone who wasn't inclined to follow a strict moral code and view everyone from another village as a threat. With Naruto a wanted criminal by the Leaf Village, he pretty much lost any reason to care for it or its shinobi practices. This in mind, he began to see the world in a completely different light - where the boundaries of what could be considered good and what could be considered evil no longer existed.
One thing I really want to emphasize right now - this story has never been about an evil Naruto. Naruto isn't evil in this story. He never has been nor will he. He simply became another person trying to survive in a dog eat dog world. In this circumstance, nothing becomes black and white - nothing is strictly good, nothing is strictly bad. Everything is just a different shade of gray. If you don't believe me, go back and reread the story. If ytheft get about their violent feuds, the Kitsune becomes a largely philanthropic business organization with strong family values.
Abandoned Plot Lines
Some ideas became more fleshed out than others, and some were never explored at all. There were some things I ultimately decided to drop, because I felt they would prolong the story or were just too over the top to include. These include but are not limited to:
-Naruto was originally going to stay in the Land of Waves as the head of the Kuroihi branch there. I dropped it because it would exclude him from the canon plot of Naruto, and I needed him back in Konoha for the chunin exams.
-There was originally going to be a sub plot about Naruto developing a smoking habit to cope with all the stress that comes with being in a yakuza. I dropped this in favor of letting the guilt trouble him and act as something of a motivator to make him improve himself so he wouldn't have to do terrible things.
-The subplot following Naruto's descent into insanity was supposed to last a little longer, with Naruto's mind reaching a breaking point after he killed Oboro in front of his grandson. He would become more erratic and hostile to people in the village and in the clan, as he lost his ability to distinguish reality from whatever illusions the fox filled his head with. I changed it to Naruto regaining some control of his sanity after Haku makes amends and the two become friends again, since not even the yakuza would be able to protect a madman from the village shinobi.
-I originally planned for Naruto to make amends with Hakuoro and Miji for killing Oboro, apologizing for what he did and swearing he would do whatever it would take to make it right. Hakuoro reluctantly forgives Naruto but Miji explains that nothing he can do will ever make it right, but that he can start by helping make sure Hakuoro is taken care of - a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, hot water for showers, school for education, employment, etc. I dropped it so that I would have something I could go back to if I ever wrote a story.
-During the Chunin Exam, I planned for Naruto and the Kitsune Clan to provide security for some foreign celebrity who would be performing in town at the time. I won't say who it was supposed to be for copyright reasons, but they would perform 'In the Air Tonight'. Their performance would draw attention from some unwanted debt collectors who would send assassin's after them. In the end, this wasn't included simply because it would tie the story too much to the real world which I didn't want to do.
-Also during the Chunin Exam, there was supposed to be a subplot about illegal horse races through the streets of Konoha. This was dropped for obvious reasons.
-Hinata and Sasuke were originally going to have a moment to discuss their relationship after the Chunin Exams. Sasuke would discuss his conflicting feelings for Hinata - whether as a rival because she's someone who can compete with her, or as a love interest because she's perhaps the only female he's gotten close to. However, he didn't want this to affect their friendship. Hinata would admit she likes him as a comrade and teammate, but that she likes someone else and to forgive her for it. This became the condensed discussion before Sasuke's defection due to time constraints.
-The wedding was originally going to get its own plot line. Keitaro would duel Hashi for the right to marry Hana. Naruto would be invited along with two guests of his choice: Haku as his guard and Hinata as his date. During the love song where Keitaro and Hana kiss, Naruto and Hinata would have their own kiss. I dropped this plot line because it would advance their relationship too quickly and there was no way I could justify Naruto bringing Hinata as a date when he was still unsure of how he felt about her.
-Naruto originally found out Jiraiya was his godfather and it would upset Naruto. He would demand to know why Jiraiya was never around when he was growing up and then show disgust that his parents would choose a pervert to be his godfather, further distancing himself from whomever his parents were. It was too early in the story to introduce this fact because Naruto had never given any thought to his parents before, and I wanted to save that subject for when he discusses adoption with Hashi.
-Naruto's first date with Hinata wasn't going to be trashed by Sakura and Ino. It was actually going to go well. This version turned out to be very boring - so I threw in the dynamic duo of Sakura and Ino to make it a bit more interesting.
-I was originally going to make Hinata's relationship with Naruto a bit more of a scandal. Hinata's father and Tsunade would ask Hinata to use her relationship with Naruto to spy on him, with the hope of finding leverage they could use against the Kitsune Clan. As time would go on, she would grow more sympathetic for the Kitsune and begin to work as a double agent - trading information between the Kitsune and the village. This plot point proved useless since Naruto would never let her get involved with the clan, and she would never think to betray her village anyway. This role was readjusted for Sai, who's job was to infiltrate the Kitsune for Root/the Foundation/whatever Danzou's group is called.
-All the members of the rescue team would be saved by Naruto in some way or another, indebting their clans to the Kitsune. Time constraints prevented me from making this a part of the plot, and I'd be wasting whole chapters just to have him save each character one after another. It'd be too repetitive, and condensing it would make it appear rushed. Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the Kitsune already had too much control over Konoha. So I dropped this plot point all together.
-Sasuke's argument with Naruto during his defection was originally going to be longer, with a section on how he deserved Hinata more than Naruto - because they were on the same team, had experiences that Naruto didn't have, were both shinobi, etc. I dropped this because I think I'd done enough to make Sasuke a whiny jerk and I wanted to make him more sympathetic at the time. Plus, Hinata being a motivation for Sasuke's betrayal just seemed too...much.
-Haku would've killed Kabuto to get to Orochimaru. However, I cut this section out for pacing issues and to give me more room for a sequel if I wanted one.
-Hashi's recollection of his son's (Saru) death would've been told in a flashback. A thirteen year old Saru and an eight year old Hana would be playing together outside of town when they noticed that their friend had gone missing. They knew their friend was being protected by Hashi as part of a deal with another gang, so Saru goes out looking for him while Hana goes to tell their father. Saru would find his friend hiding from an assassin. Saru and his friend try to run but the assassin catches them before they get back to Hashi's manor. Saru stays behind to fight off the assassin while his friend runs back to the manor, since he's only nine and doesn't know how to fight. Saru would be mortally injured fighting the assassin just as Hashi arrived with some clansmen. The assassin is slain, while Hashi and his friend rush to Saru's side. His friend apologizes deeply for causing this trouble and weeps openly over Saru. Saru forgives him and says he wouldn't have risked his life for someone he didn't care about. He then asks his friend to look after his sister and father for him. With his last breath he says he will always be his friend. At this point, it is revealed his friend's name is Keitaro. Ultimately, this was cut because I wanted the final chapter to focus on Naruto - not my OC.
-There would've been another Oyabun tie-in for the Naruto movies titled "Oyabun: Revolution in the Crescent Moon Kingdom". This one would've been set in the third movie and would follow Naruto's trip to the Crescent Moon Kingdom to negotiate rights to opening a hotel/casino owned by the Kuroihi but managed by Haku who was being allowed to start his own clan. They would've arrived to find the capitol city abandoned except for a few soldiers serving the prime minister. Naruto would begin negotiating with him, guaranteeing him a slice of the profits if the Kuroihi were allowed to operate their hotel freely. The negotiation falls apart and they later learn that the prime minister has deposed of the king to seize the country. Since a revolution and change in government would just make the process messier, Naruto and Haku find the local resistance who are working to restore the crown prince and his son. Through some subterfuge and careful reconnaissance, Haku takes out enough sentries for the resistance's main army to attack the castle. After a lengthy battle, the crown prince would slay the prime minister and reclaim the throne. After the affair is sorted out, Naruto and Haku finalize the paperwork with the newly crowned king. Haku is allowed to start his clan's venture as operator of a hotel and member of the Royal Guard.
Thanks to my Editors
A practice I started while writing Oyabun was to ask a friend of mine to edit the stories before I posted them on the site. Initially, I recruited a close friend I could trust with ensuring the grammar and maintaining the continuity of the story. Unfortunately, this also became impractical because she left the University so she could study closer to home - and we fell out of contact.
I spent the next several chapters handling all the editing personally for each chapter until I could find another editor. Around this time, i ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while who agreed to edit Oyabun for me. She stuck with me for the rest of Oyabun and I've been grateful to her for helping me since. To my editors, past and present, thank you.
While I was writing the story, I had a music playlist I listened to which help me stay focused on whatever subject I was focusing on at the time. As with all of my fanfictions, I tried to pick a specific song that would act as a theme I would listen to every time I started another chapter. There were a lot of songs I listened to at the time, but I eventually settled on 'Grain' from the anime series Monster. It's a fun anime about a doctor trying to clear his name by catching the murderous psychopath whose life he saved several years earlier. And, yes, I do have a playlist that I listen to when writing Oyabun. With Oyabun done, I no longer have any need to keep this playlist to myself. So, for the first time, I would like to share this playlist with you dear readers. Keep in mind, the playlist changed over the course of writing - so a lot of the original songs aren't listed and I have forgotten what they were but here's what I have:
'Grain' - Kuniaki Haishima - Monster Original Soundtrack from the Anime - 1:28 (Used for Every Chapter)
'Wind' - Yoshio Akeboshi - Akeboshi - 3:41 (Used for Naruto from the Beginning through the Land of Waves)
'Love Theme from the Godfather' - Nino Rota - The Godfather Trilogy Soundtrack - 2:45 (Used for scenes with Hashi)
'Kay' - Nino Rota - The Godfather Trilogy Soundtrack - 2:44 (Used for scenes with Hinata)
'O Mio Babbino Caro' - Maria Callas - La Divina - 2:07 (Used for romance scenes with Hana and Keitaro)
'Nine Tail Demon Fox' - Toshio Masuda - Naruto Original Soundtrack - 1:38 - (Used for the Nine Tailed Fox throughout the story)
'Loneliness' - Toshio Masuda - Naruto Original Soundtrack - 2:06 - (Used for the Land of Waves)
'A Dark March' - Danger Mouse - Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories Soundtrack - 1:32 - (Used for Gatou and the Gatou Corp)
'Mass Destruction' - Masashi Meguro - Persona 3 Soundtrack - 3:28 (Used for fight scenes in the Land of Waves)
'The Baptism' - Nino Rota - The Godfather Soundtrack - 1:53 - (Used for every scene where Naruto orchestrates the destruction of rival clans)
'the World' - Nightmare - Death Note Original Soundtrack - 3:45 - (Used for Naruto from Return to Konoha to Leading the Kitsune Clan)
'Subete no Hito no Tamashii no Shi' - Meguro Shoji - Persona 3 Portable Soundtrack - 5:38 - (Used for the Kuroihi Syndicate)
'Kuro I Izuato No Buru-Su' - Crazy Ken Band - Galaxy - 4:00 - (Used for scenes with the Dewaya Clan and Yahiko)
'Chinatown Wars' - Ghostface Killah - Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars - 3:39 - (Used for the Konoha Branch of the Enkou Clan)
'That Certain Female' - Charlie Feathers - Kill Bill Volume I Soundtrack - 3:01 - (Used for any scene where Jiraiya chases tail...which is every scene)
'Real Emotion' - Sweetbox - Final Fantasy X-2 Soundtrack - 4:03 - (Used for the club scene where Kabuto suicide bombs Naruto, and any party scene in general)
'Push it to the Limit' - Paul Engeman - Scarface Original Soundtrack - 3:03 - (Used for Naruto as head of the Kitsune Clan)
'Grief and Sorrow' - Toshio Masuda - Naruto Original Soundtrack - 2:55 - (Used for scenes where Naruto reflects on his actions)
'Paper Moon' - Tommy Heavenly6 -Paper Moon Single - 4:22 - (Used for Naruto from the Invasion of Konoha through Finding Tsunade)
'Controlling the Iron Beast' - Takeharu Ishimoto - Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Soundtrack - 2:09 - (Used for Naruto's battle with Gaara as the Fox and Shukaku)
'Silent Melody' - Working for a Nuclear Free City - InFamous Videogame Soundtrack - 0:43 - (Used for Konoha during Naruto's gang war after the Chunin Exam)
'Apollonia' - Nino Rota - The Godfather Soundtrack - 1:24 - (Used for Naruto's contemplating his relationship with Hinata)
'Alumina' - Nightmare - Death Note Original Soundtrack - 4:59 - (Used for scenes with either Itachi or Sai)
'Speak Softly Love' - Andy Williams - The Godfather Soundtrack - 3:05 - (Used for Keitaro and Hana's wedding - lyrics were translated to Italian)
'Brucia la Terra' - Nino Rota - Godfather Trilogy Soundtrack - 1:31 - (Used for Keitaro's song to Hana at their wedding)
'In The Air Tonight' - Phil Collins - Face Value - 5:30 - (Used for Tsunade contemplating whether or not to go back to the village)
'Battle Without Honor' - Tomoyasu Hotei - Kill Bill Volume I Soundtrack - 2:28 - (Used for the Battle of the Three Sannin)
'Aint that a Kick in the Head' - Dean Martin - Dino: The Essential Dean Martin - 2:24 - (Used for Naruto from Tsunade's Rise as Hokage through Retrieve Sasuke)
'Hajimari no Nichi' - Ai Maeda - NightFly - 4:45 - (Used for Naruto and Hinata's Disastrous First Date)
'Troops' - Takeharu Ishimoto - Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Soundtrack - 2:44 - (Used for Sasuke's encounter with the Sound Four)
'Final Resolve' - Takeharu Ishimoto - Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Soundtrack - 2:42 - (Used for Sasuke and Naruto's discussion before they fight)
'JENOVA' - Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - 2:46 - (Used for Naruto and Sai's Battle with Sasuke)
'The Godfather Finale' - Nino Rota - The Godfather Trilogy - 04:01 - (Used for Final Chapter)
A Forum RP?
A while back, I considered setting up a forum to let you readers role play your own OCs in this story's Konoha during the Chunin Exam. There would be two sides with three factions each. The first side would be Criminals and the factions would be the Kitsune Clan led by Naruto, the Enkou Clan led by Junpei, and Oto spies led by Kabuto. The other side would be Law Enforcement with factions made up of Konoha shinobi led by the Third Hokage, the ANBU Black Ops Anti-Yakuza unit led by Ibiki Morino, and Root agents led by Danzou. Each faction's boss would hand out simple assignments from time to time, and everyone would occasionally interact with a character from the story - Shinji, Kakashi, Miji, Sakura, Hinata, Naruto, Orochimaru, Gaara, etc. Every once in a while, one of the boss's would meet with a role-player and have them take out another player. I canned this idea because the idea of letting role players kill each other seemed too much and I doubted anyone would want to play.
Another idea I had was to set up a tumblr or blog of some sort, where readers could make requests and ask questions to Naruto as Boss Kitsune. This idea fell through only because a lot of Naruto's reactions would be the same - confusion, dismissing the question as business secrets, and putting out hits on the questioner if they annoyed him. If there ever were enough demand, I would like to go back to these ideas. For now, I think it's best to forget about them.
I was asked by a reader once, if Oyabun had some kind of social commentary on how gang recruitment targets socially distant children by promising them a group they could belong to in exchange for representing their group. Something like that. I'm going to say the same thing now that I said then. No, there is no social commentary or hidden meaning in Oyabun. The story was written for two purposes; to be a good story and to test some characters from a book I had planned. There is no social commentary, no hidden meaning, and no moral. At best, it was written for pure entertainment - for you all to enjoy and have something to look forward to.
The Big Question
Since completing Oyabun, many of you have asked one simple question: will there be a sequel?
No. There won't be. Believe me, I thought long and hard about this question. I love Oyabun and Naruto. I loved writing for these characters and seeing them live out their lives. It was a great joy for me. Sadly, all things must end - including Oyabun. As fun as Oyabun is, the truth of the matter remains that I've retooled each of the characters as I needed and am prepared to start writing Yakuza: Brothers. I don't wish to delay this any longer by committing another five years to writing a sequel for Oyabun. I apologize to everyone who was hoping for some closure with the story, but continuing to focus on Oyabun will only continue to interfere with my university studies and pursuit of a health care career. After all, writing fanfiction won't put food on my table or pay bills. So, I'd like to say that I'm officially retiring from fanfiction writing. It's been a wonderful experience, and you've all been great to me. I can't thank you enough for all your support and readership over the years, but it's time for me to move on.
I do have a rough outline which I want to keep a closely guarded secret. If someone wants to write the sequel, and I approve of their writing style, then I will let them. Contact me by private messaging with a writing sample if you think you're up to it. The sample should be at least a half page scene in Verdana 9 font and can be any narrative related to the events Oyabun. If I like what I read, then I'll contact you about whether or not you'd like to write it.
So for one last time, this is leonardo1123581321 signing out.