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

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

Paperback

By (author) Robert Whiting

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  • Publisher: Constable
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 133mm x 197mm x 24mm | 325g
  • Publication date: 21 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1780330677
  • ISBN 13: 9781780330679
  • Sales rank: 486,648

Product description

In 1945, as part of the Occupation forces sent to postwar Japan Nick Zappetti, a native of Italian East Harlem, entered a world as strange as any he had ever know, In postwar Tokyo, however, he realised there were certain opportunities. He had a failed stint as a professional wrestler, and participated in a fumbled (but famous) diamond heist. He was deported but managed to return with the assistance of the Mafia. Then Nick opened a pizza joint in what would be the centre of Tokyo's nightlife and became "the king of Roppongi and Mafia boss of Tokyo," and the intimate of some of Japan's most notorious underworld figures as well as many of its political and business leaders. Following Zappetti's rising and falling fortunes, and his love-hate relationship with his adopted country, Robert Whiting show us the sinister (and sometimes ridiculous) goings-on among Tokyo's traditional criminal gangs as they developed from local racketeers and gamblers into lynchpins of international finance, politics and corruption. Here is a fresh perspective on postwar Japan and how it went from being a defeated nation to an economic player, with a little help from some less than diplomatic friends.

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Author information

Robert Whiting (1942- ) is an author and journalist who has written several successful books on contemporary Japanese culture. Whiting was born in New Jersey, grew up in California and graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo. He has lived in Japan 32 of the last 48 years and currently resides in Tokyo with his family.

Review quote

Whiting provides fascinating snapshots of a Tokyo outsiders seldom see, a world the Japanese would prefer to keep behind the screen. Time Magazine This is an excellent book... An irreverent, subversive and entertaining yarn that enlightens readers about important aspects of Japanese history and the shadowy world of power. The Japan Times A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan. -- Mario Puzo An eye-opening exploration of the complex world of Japanese organised crime. Seattle Times A fun book about a wretched character. New York Times Book Review Reads like a James Bond thriller yet manages intelligently to illuminate the seamy side of Japan's postwar economic boom Publisher's Weekly