A riveting account of the role of Americans in the evolution of the Tokyo underworld in the years since 1945.
In the ashes of postwar Japan lay a gold mine for certain opportunistic, expatriate Americans. Addicted to the volatile energy of Tokyo's freewheeling underworld, they formed ever-shifting but ever-profitable alliances with warring Japanese and Korean gangsters. At the center of this world was Nick Zappetti, an ex-marine from New York City who arrived in Tokyo in 1945, and whose restaurant soon became the rage throughout the city and the chief watering hole for celebrities, diplomats, sports figures, and mobsters.
Tokyo Underworld chronicles the half-century rise and fall of the fortunes of Zappetti and his comrades, drawing parallels to the great shift of wealth from America to Japan in the late 1980s and the changes in Japanese society and U.S.-Japan relations that resulted. In doing so, Whiting exposes Japan's extraordinary "underground empire": a web of powerful alliances among crime bosses, corporate chairmen, leading politicians, and public figures. It is an amazing story told with a galvanizing blend of history and reportage.
From the Hardcover edition.
About Robert Whiting
Robert Whiting is the author of You Gotta Have Wa and is one of the very few Westerners to write a regular column in the Japanese press. He has appeared as a commentator in documentaries about Japan and on such shows as Larry King Live and The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour. He has also written for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and Time, among other publications. He lives in Tokyo.
"Excellent--. An irreverent, subversive and entertaining yarn that enlightens readers about important aspects of Japanese history and the shadowy world of power."--The Japan Times
"[Tokyo Underworld] is an entertaining book that is far more than an entertainment."--Washington City Paper