振り仮名付き和訳は英文の下にございます / The Japanese translation is below the English text and is fully furigana’d.

A New Beginning

  1. As a youth, he was a gangster
  2. “I don’t want to waste my time here”
  3. A new beginninga
  • The Japanese translation


“Finally passed the exam in the seventh year! An ex-gangster has a new beginning as a judiciary scrivener”

Tokyo Shimbun, January 21, 2020

In November 2018, Ryuuichi Koomura in Okayama, 47, passed the exam to be certified as a judicial scrivener. It was his seventh attempt. The exam is difficult and less than four percent of the examinees pass it each year. He had begun studying for it when he was in prison; he wanted to have a new beginning.

1. As a youth, he was a gangster

“How would you like working for us as a yakuza?”

When he was in his early twenties, a man approached him at a snack bar:

The man was recruiting members of a lower-level organization of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest designated criminal group. Mr. Koomura accepted the invitation and worked there sometimes answering phone calls in their office and sometimes positioned as a body guard of the big boss and things like that. Due to his duties there, he went to jail three times.

After leaving the group, he opened a restaurant in Osaka. However, the business failed and he returned to Okayama penniless. Then he was arrested again for obstructing the police in the performance of their duties.

2. “I don’t want to waste my time in here”

It was the winter of 2010. Imprisoned for the fourth time, this time in Hiroshima, he reflected on himself. He was about to be forty, and he wanted to use the time there meaningfully, and for a purpose.

What could he do? His last academic background was junior high school (usually completed at age fifteen). After some research, he found that certification for the judicial scrivener was offered to anyone who passed the exam regardless of age, academic background, and even if the examinee had a criminal record. So he decided to study to be a judicial scrivener. It will be a new beginning in his life.

For that purpose, he chose to be in a solitary cell and brought discreetly some prepared letter paper. He had copied by hand in very fine writing the necessary articles of laws he needed to memorize. Then he hid them by pasting them on the back of the calendar on the wall. How did he had an access to glue? He used boiled rice in his meals. Thus he memorized everything.

Even when he had to be in the community cell, he memorized and answered questions in the workbook while doing penal labor.

After they released him the next year, he continued studying hard, sometimes even twelve hours a day. Family and friends kept telling him negative things about the results, but in 2012, he passed the exam for the administrative scrivener in his first attempt.

He gained confidence and kept taking the judicial scrivener exam each year. Some laws were particularly difficult as he hadn’t been familiar with them, but he didn’t lose faith in his effort. Finally, the people around him began to cheer for him.

3. A New Beginning

An image of an ex-gangster who wanted to have a new beginning
Mr. Koomura in front of his renovated office, Tokyo Shimbun, January 21, 2020

Now his new life has begun. He is incorporated and has hired new staff for his office. Representing a new beginning, his renovated office shows shiny marble-like tiles on the front wall.

“Mine is a job to protect people’s rights, so I have to gain more knowledge.”

He keeps studying even now.

“I want to make use of my experiences and be a dependable judicial scrivener.”

[End of the English Post]


「挑ちょう戦7回せんななかい合格ごうかく 元組員もとくみあいいん法書ほうしょとしてあらたなしゅっぱつ



1. じゅう代前半だいぜんはんでヤクザに











3. あたらしいかど








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