Within the yakuza, there are a handful of positions within the hierarchy of each of the kumi or kai. These are:
- Oyabun: The figurative and literal head of the family, the oyabun is the head of operations, overseeing all projects for his clan. Sometimes the person in this position will take or use the title kumicho ("head of family"), especially if their organization is primarily that of blood, or if they fancy themselves more parental than leader. The rare women who end up at the head of yakuza organizations almost always exclusively use the term kumicho. It is also sometimes used for those holding power with an oyabun-in-absentia.
- Wakagashira: The second-in-command, and the person in direct command of the an organization's soldiers. Because of the potential power such an individual wields, it is important that they are trustworthy - fractures in kumi happen most often because of conflict between oyabun and wakagashira.
- Shategashira: A second lieutenant occupies the same role as a wakagashira, save that they command soldiery who are at a distance or otherwise separated from the main operations of the clan. Though they are still beholden to oyabun and wakagashira, their small portion of the organization is generally theirs to run.
- Saiko-Komon: The chief advisor, the saiko-komon oversees the staff of an organization. They are bureaucrats and corp-men, lawyers and accountants, and they see that the functions of a group's bureaucracy run smoothly.
The ranks of soldiers are overseen by the wakagashira, or by a shategashira if they are operating a branch of the kumi distant or separate from that of the main clan's operations.
- Wakagashira-hosa: The immediate subordinates to the wakagashira, these yakuza act as field captains. They are often the buffer between the street-level of the kumi-in and the upper echelons.
- Kumi-in: Street-level enforcers, soldiers, and thugs. Kumi-in are sprinkled throughout the organization, assigned to a given figure for their own personal use in accomplishing the organization's goals. More experienced soldiers are called kyodai ("big brother"), while their subordinates with less experience are shatei ("little brother"). Women in this role are often referred to as o-nee-san ("honored sister") for subordinates, or o-nee-sama ("revered elder sister") for those of kyodai rank.
The staff are overseen by the saiko-komon.
- Hisho: Each member of the upper echelon - the oyabun, the wakagashira, and the saiko-komon - have at least one hisho, who are basically secretaries. They are inevitably the practical hands-on operatives of some of the organization's biggest secrets and traditions, usually acting as the buffer between their bosses and the needs of subordinates in the organization. Hisho prioritie appointments and keep calendars, maintain networks of contacts, arrange lodging and transportation as necessary, and stall the police if they come looking for someone. Many hisho are also fully qualified bodyguards; it is even known for hisho to sometimes have bodyguards themselves, given the delicacy of what they know and their unprecedented access.
- Kaikei: These are the lawyers of the kumi, ready and able to render up advice and representation. They look for loopholes that benefit the organization, and seek out new opportunities and markets. New kumi-in always receive a one-on-one workshop on what to do if they are arrested.
- Komon: Komon are specialists of any kind: trained, skilled individuals whose talents are put to the benefit of the organization. Chemists, hackers, directors, programmers, doctors - any of these advisors who accomplish many of the tasks necessary.
- Shingiin: The accountants of a kumi, the shingiin are largely simple number crunchers and books-jugglers, although they are sometimes employed as sokaiya, a unique form of protection racket where the kumi acquires controlling interests in a company and send an accountant representative to loudly and obnoxiously disrupt board meetings until they are paid to go away.
Seattle Yakuza: The Shotozumi-Rengo
Three gumi operate out of Seattle, and all three of them are part of the Shotozumi-gumi. They have effectively divided up Seattle's districts among themselves, though there is always the occasional sniping and poaching at the edges of things.
- Shotozumi-gumi: Downtown Seattle • An old and traditional gumi, Shotozumi Hanzo broke from Watada-rengo in Japan in 2058, establishing the Shotozumi-rengo independent of the Japanese Watada-rengo from which it sprang. Though Shotozumi-san is an old fashioned traditionalist, he also considers his organization distinctly American (albeit Japanese-American) and ensures that women, non-Japanese, and metahumans all have a place in his organization, if not full parity within it.
- Shigeda-gumi: Everett, Snohomish, Redmond • The most recently formed of the gumi in Seattle, the Shigeda have only ever been part of the Shotozumi-gumi. Their oyabun embraces the so-called "New Way" among the Yakuza, admitting magicians, women, and metahumans into the ranks of his kobun.
- Kenran-kai: Puyallup • In 2064, the oyabun of the Nishidon-gumi (one Isao Nishidon) attempted to rise up against the newly-established Shotozumi-gumi who held Seattle's territories. Attacking other Yakuza forces, he attempted to violently consolidate and control the Yakuza of Seattle under his control, and failed. Rather than allowing himself to be punished, he performed seppuku. The remnants of his organization were re-organized as the Kenran-kai, a Yakuza "organization" rather than the more traditional "family." The Kenran-kai became known as the bottom-feeders of the Seattle Yakuza, often called upon to do the dirtiest and least glamorous tasks. In the wake of the excisement of the Korean Yakuza bosses, many of the Korean kobun ended up in the Kenran-kai.