The top 10 best-selling video games in Japan, March 15-21, sees the latest Yakuza game knocking the latest Pokémon Ranger game off the top of the chart.

PlayStation 3 users in North America and Europe have been able to play officially translated versions of February 2009's Yakuza 3 only since the second week of March 2010, but those in the know have been lapping up the PlayStation 3 game's bizarre cocktail of brutality and buffoonery.

The entire series has been a huge hit in Japan, both mimicking and mocking the Yakuza gangster lifestyle, chock full of references to traditional heritage and societal artifacts, a good proportion of which SEGA felt were simply too cumbersome to regionalize for players unfamiliar with the cultural context.

Though those keen enough on the series to have helped popularize it outside of Japan through word-of-mouth doubtless did so in part because of the inclusion of such oddities, SEGA's removal of the highly rated title's more incomprehensible parts may go some way to improving its chances of breaking into the mainstream and replicating its domestic sales success in European and North American regions.

Yakuza 4, then, inhabits the same world of organized crime as its predecessors, but this time with more characters to choose from, more fighting moves for those inevitable territory disputes, and a generous helping of the series' trademark mini-games.

Yes, the virtual hostess bars return, but there are also more savory distractions for the digital wide-boy with time and money to burn - table tennis, karaoke, mahjong, and pachinko arcade machines just a few of them, and even online leaderboards associated with many of those those games-within-a-game.

Japanese magazine Famitsu awarded it a combined 38/40 score from its four game reviewers, and the game is thought to be well on its way to outselling Yakuza 3 in Japan.

The figures here refer to Yakuza 4's total sales during the four days since its release on March 18 - SEGA are clearly expecting sales to surpass 500,000 in the near future, having issued a press release declaring total shipments of that amount to Japanese retailers.

01) Yakuza 4: Legendary Inheritance (PS3): 384,000 (384,000)
02) Gundam: Assault Survive (PSP): 91,000 (91,000)
03) Pokémon Ranger: Path of Light (DS): 49,000 (275,000)
04) New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii): 37,000 (3,524,000)
05) Friend Collection (DS): 35,000 (2,988,000)
06) Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce 2 (PSP): 19,000 (51,000)
07) Wii Fit Plus (Wii): 19,000 (1,761,000)
08) For A Hero, You're Pretty Impudent: 3D (PSP): 18,000 (52,000)
09) Dragon Quest IX (DS): 15,000 (78,000)
10) God Eater (PSP): 15,000 (579,000)
Unit sales are rounded to the nearest 1,000
Source: Media Create.