The yakuza began as con artists and illegal bookmakers from the lowest social classes in the s and developed into one of the most deadly and wealthy organised crime syndicates in the world. Known for their brutality, members traditionally cover their bodies with intricate tattoos. They are known to cut off their own fingers as an 'apology' for offending their leaders and kumichos themselves have done the same to spare the life of one of their kobun. There are thought to be nearly , Yakuza members in Japan. When they enlist in individual gangs they are taken to a secret location where they are trained in hand-to-hand combat and meditation.