"They're going to have to find a way to use these people. And they're going to have to find a way to remove this stigma of being an ex-yakuza," Adelstein says. "These guys, when they leave, they are going to petty crime, going to jail, or killing themselves. A lot of them commit suicides. Because, Japan isn't a very friendly place to people who have missing fingers and covered with tattoos and who've never worked in honest ways in a lot of days in their life."
In his new role as sensei, Shindo has baptized about 100 people including his mother, Yoshimi Shindo, who proudly watches her son preach each Sunday.
"When he came back [from prison], he apologized and said, 'I survived for you, mother.' When I heard those words, I decided to forget everything that happened in the past. And now, I'm very happy," she says.
When her son needed a space for Sunday service, she gladly offered June Bride, the bar she owned and ran for a quarter century. In the early years, fewer than 10 people attended Sunday service. Now, the room is routinely filled with dozens of people each weekend.
"I think this place has significance that God provided here for us. I believe it was God's intention," she says.
She laughs that her son is called sensei, considering the tumultuous path that brought him here. June Bride is no longer a place for cocktails and karaoke, but the room is filled music each weekend as dozens of voices sing upbeat Christian songs.
"I believe my son's life portrays God's surprise ending," she adds.