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Tokyo Underworld

The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan

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"A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan." —Mario Puzo

In this unorthodox chronicle of the rise of Japan, Inc., Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa, gives us a fresh perspective on the economic miracle and near disaster that is modern Japan.

Through the eyes of Nick Zappetti, a former GI, former black marketer, failed professional wrestler, bungling diamond thief who turned himself into "the Mafia boss of Tokyo and the king of Rappongi," we meet the players and the losers in the high-stakes game of postwar finance, politics, and criminal corruption in which he thrived. Here's the story of the Imperial Hotel diamond robbers, who attempted (and may have accomplished) the biggest heist in Tokyo's history. Here is Rikidozan, the professional wrestler who almost single-handedly revived Japanese pride, but whose own ethnicity had to be kept secret. And here is the story of the intimate relationships shared by Japan's ruling party, its financial combines, its ruthless criminal gangs, the CIA, American Big Business, and perhaps at least one presidential relative. Here is the underside of postwar Japan, which is only now coming to light.
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. View titles by Robert Whiting

About

"A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan." —Mario Puzo

In this unorthodox chronicle of the rise of Japan, Inc., Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa, gives us a fresh perspective on the economic miracle and near disaster that is modern Japan.

Through the eyes of Nick Zappetti, a former GI, former black marketer, failed professional wrestler, bungling diamond thief who turned himself into "the Mafia boss of Tokyo and the king of Rappongi," we meet the players and the losers in the high-stakes game of postwar finance, politics, and criminal corruption in which he thrived. Here's the story of the Imperial Hotel diamond robbers, who attempted (and may have accomplished) the biggest heist in Tokyo's history. Here is Rikidozan, the professional wrestler who almost single-handedly revived Japanese pride, but whose own ethnicity had to be kept secret. And here is the story of the intimate relationships shared by Japan's ruling party, its financial combines, its ruthless criminal gangs, the CIA, American Big Business, and perhaps at least one presidential relative. Here is the underside of postwar Japan, which is only now coming to light.

Author

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. View titles by Robert Whiting

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