|I was just a high schooler back then.
A no-good delinquent that got himself into fights every day.
|I didn’t even know what I was rebelling against, but I caused nothing but worries for my mother, who raised me all on her own.
I hated what I had become and couldn't bear being seen by all the members of the Mankai Company, so I quit hanging around the dorm.
|Still, I secretly went to see every one of their performances.|
|One day, a group from another school picked a fight with me. I got beat up pretty badly, but I managed to make it into the theater right before the play started.|
|That day, the Summer Troupe was putting on one of their classic comedies.
Their pacing on stage was great, and they were hilarious, as they always were.
I found myself laughing at every joke they made... but then I realized I was crying uncontrollably, as well.
|Seeing everyone shine so brightly on stage made me feel miserable and ashamed.|
|I realized I hadn’t only been causing trouble for my mother.
I was betraying everybody in Mankai who looked after me and treated me as their own. I wondered, what the hell was I doing?
|To run away from that guilt, I asked a shady acquaintance of mine to get me a job working for the yakuza.
I was nothing but a cheap lackey, but it paid well enough.
|I lied to my mother about finding an honest job and started bringing money to the house.
I'll never forget the proud look on Mother’s face, even now.
|Still, I knew if I stayed in that line of work, it might someday bring trouble to her yet again.
That heavy guilt weighed constantly on my conscience.
|It was around that time when I meant the boss of the Ginsenkai Family.|
|So you're the kid that's been causin’ a ruckus in our territory, eh?
Who the hell’re you?
|It was raining that night, just like today.|
|I was in the middle of a carry job when I was caught. I was never told what I was delivering.
I had my suspicions about what it was, But it must have been something real bad.
|Bad enough for the boss of the Ginsenkai Family, Kikuo Izumida, to personally come and make sure I learned my lesson.
Of course, the guys that hired me turned their backs on me and ran.
|After seeing that I wouldn’t let go of the bag no matter how much they beat me, the boss asked me one question.|
|What do you need money for so badly?
I was drenched in the rain, my whole body ached, and my head wasn't thinking straight.
I must have spilled my whole life story without thinking.
|To be honest, I don't exactly remember what I said that day.|
|What I do remember is him grabbing me by my collar and grinning like a maniac at me.|
|I like you, kid.
Come with me. I’ll take you in.
My group’s one of the last that still respects the old ways. I'll teach you how to earn your keep with respect and dignity.
|Respect and dignity... I couldn't help but burst out in laughter at the thought of working for the yakuza and still having either of those things.|
|It was soon after that when I started working for the boss as one of his personal henchmen.|
|On that rainy night…|
|My ‘family’ expanded further than I could have ever imagined.|