The Saio Triad (祭汪会; Saiō-kai) is a Chinese mafia organization prominently featured in Yakuza 6 .
The Saio Triad is an infamous criminal organization from China. The group is distinguished from other similar triads by its adherence to the code of "blood law". The blood law mandates that only blood relatives of the group's ringleader may serve as officers and only his son may succeed him as ringleader. The blood law prevents power struggles by keeping control of the Triad within the same family and prevents intra-family conflict by only allowing the biological son of the ringleader to be his successor. The stability brought by the strict adherence to the blood law turned the Saio into one of China's most powerful criminal syndicates.
The Saio Triad's history in Japan dates back to the waning days of World War II; when the organization was contracted by the first chairman of the Yomei Alliance, Heizo Iwami, to smuggle Chinese workers into Japan to serve as cheap labour for an incredibly confidential project that his company, Iwami Shipbuilding, had acquired. The project involved the construction of a massive battleship at the behest of Admiral Minoru Daidoji of the Japanese Navy, who hoped to use the war vessel as an ultimate weapon to stop the impending American victory in the war. Ultimately, the war was lost just as the battleship was being completed. Since the ship wound up being a massive, useless expense which Daidoji had financed with illegally appropriated military funds, both Iwami and the Saio's then-ringleader blackmailed him in exchange for keeping the ship a secret.
After procuring massive hush payments from Daidoji, the Saio Triad stayed out of Japan for the following few decades. However, when Big Lo became the group's new ringleader in 1986, he decided to use the secret of Onomichi to obtain new benefits from his father's Japanese accomplices. Though Lo did not really know the secret of Onomichi; as his father had only told him that a secret existed without disclosing its true nature, he managed to successfully bluff his way into a partnership with the Yomei Alliance in a profitable business venture by threatening to expose the secret. The partnership which Lo arranged involved the Saio offering Chinese people a service to "launder" their heihaizi (Undocumented children who were born outside China's one-child policy) by paying the Saio to smuggle them to Japan, where Chairman Iwami would use his government contacts to forge Japanese citizenship papers for them. Lo and Iwami carried out this business together for decades without incident; with the only conditions to its continuation being that Lo never disclose the secret of Onomichi nor operate in any way in Japan.
In order to adhere to the code of blood law, Big Lo conceived a son, named Jimmy Lo, who would serve as his successor. However, as a morbid "back up" in case Jimmy died before he could succeed him, Lo also had a second son, who was smuggled into Japan like the other heihaizi and given a Japanese identity: Yuta Usami. Yuta was raised as an orphan in Hiroshima, completely ignorant of his Saio roots, but he was subtly prepared by Koji Masuzoe and Shu Tatsukawa; two Saio heihaizi infiltrators in the Yomei Alliance, in case the Saio ever needed him to take over as Saio ringleader.
In 2015, Jimmy Lo sought to expand Saio business into Japan against his father's wishes. While negotiating a partnership with Chairman Iwami's treacherous son, Tsuneo Iwami, Jimmy unwittingly let slip that his father did not know the true secret of Onomichi. Using this knowledge, Tsuneo blackmailed Big Lo and the Saio into participating in his plot to overthrow his father.
During the events of Yakuza 6's prologue, the Saio Triad expand operations into Kamurocho after the Little Asia fire of 2015 caused a power vacuum amongst the district's Chinese minority. The group would then go to war with the Tojo Clan, who sought to retain their control over the neighbourhood. This war led to a noticeable increase in public violence in Kamurocho, which resulted in the Tojo's Chairman, Daigo Dojima, and his top officers, Goro Majima and Taiga Saejima, being arrested by the police to quell public outcry. This had all been in accordance with Tsuneo Iwami's plot to remove the Tojo leadership and install his puppet, Katsumi Sugai, as acting chairman.
Once Sugai came to power, Tsuneo no longer had use for the Saio, so he hired Joon-gi Han and his Jingweon Mafia to assassinate both Lo and his son. However, the Jingweon botched the hit and only ended up killing Jimmy. After the failed hit, Lo stayed out of the public eye to avoid further assassination attempts and he ramped up the Saio's war efforts to take revenge for his son's murder. This caused massive problems for Tsuneo, since it thwarted his schemes to completely control Tokyo, which was instrumental for his larger scheme to overthrow his father and seize control of the Yomei Alliance.
In the midst of the war, Saio officer Ed came into conflict with Shun Akiyama of Sky Finance, since Akiyama's loans at 0% interest for anyone who passed his tests undercut the Saio's own loansharking. Ed's threats against Akiyama and his secretary Hana eventually became so aggressive that Akiyama temporarily closed down Sky Finance and went into hiding. This, however, did not stop Ed from pursuing Akiyama and trying to kill him.
Eventually, Kazuma Kiryu came up against the Saio when they murdered Tatsukawa, whom Kiryu suspected was the father of his daughter Haruka Sawamura's baby, Haruto. Searching for further information on Tatsukawa, Kiryu raided the Saio's Little Asia headquarters. During a confrontation with Ed, the Saio officer revealed that Tatsukawa was one of the heihaizi the Saio had smuggled into Japan and he'd been killed due to betraying the Saio. Through a later meeting with Big Lo, Kiryu would learn that Tatsukawa was not Haruto's father.
Soon after, Toru Hirose would reveal the truth of Yuta's parentage to the young man. However, he also revealed that after Masuzoe and Tatsukawa learned that Haruka had a baby with him, the Saio had ordered them to kill the child, since the Saio's official bloodline could not be "tainted" with non-Chinese blood. Furious that Lo had tried to kill his girlfriend and their son, Yuta travelled to Kamurocho to assassinate Big Lo, under the guise of simply trying to meet with him. When Kiryu realized what Yuta intended to do, he pursued him to stop him from getting himself killed.
By the time Kiryu arrived to Little Asia, Yuta had already set the Saio base in the district on fire and attacked his biological father. Despite this, Kiryu managed to stop Yuta from killing Lo and both men carried the injured Saio leader to safety, where they questioned him to learn about the Saio's role in Tsuneo Iwami's plot to take over Hiroshima.
After disclosing everything he knew to Kiryu and Yuta, Big Lo sent a message to the other Saio officers in mainland China, letting them know that his bloodline had been broken due to Jimmy's death and Yuta's hatred of him. Through this message, Lo effectively resigned the role of Saio ringleader and gave the other officers permission to select a new family to serve as the lead Saio bloodline. Lo would later admit to Kiryu that this also meant that the Saio would send an assassin to murder him, in order to prevent any attempts on his part to retake control of the triad in future.
After Big Lo's abdication, the Saio officers in mainland China recalled all Saio members in Japan back to their home country and ended all operations abroad.