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 A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan Mario PuzoIn this unorthodox chronicle of the rise of Japan Inc Robert Whiting author o

  • Title: Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan
  • Author: Robert Whiting
  • ISBN: 9780375724893
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Paperback
  • A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan Mario PuzoIn 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 b A fascinating look at some fascinating people who show how democracy advances hand in hand with crime in Japan Mario PuzoIn 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.

    • Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan - Robert Whiting
      300 Robert Whiting
    • thumbnail Title: Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan - Robert Whiting
      Posted by:Robert Whiting
      Published :2019-05-10T05:33:20+00:00

    About "Robert Whiting"

    1. Robert Whiting

      Robert Whiting is a best selling author and journalist who has written several successful books on contemporary Japanese cultureenpedia wiki Robert_WLibrarian note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name

    439 thoughts on “Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan”

    1. Quick-- what do gangsters, the U.S. Army, professional wrestling, the CIA, the LDP, the military/industrial complex, TV, pachinko and pizza have in common? If you said, "the post-war Japanese underground economy" then you have either read this book or are an extremely abstract thinker. Robert Whiting's Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan places Japan's post-WWII economic recovery in a whole new light. Witness to this recovery and subsequent reversal in [...]


    2. Saat awal membaca buku ini, saya hampir tidak merasa bhw buku ini ttg biografi seorang gangster peranakan Italia yg berkebangsaan AS. Tetapi makin dibaca makin lanjut semakin menarik.Gangster tsb bernama Nicola Zapetti yg saat pertama kalinya menginjak Jepang pd thn 1946 dia msh berusia awal 20-an. Bermula sbg pedagang penyelundup barang-barang dari AS pd Masa Pendudukan, berkolusi utk mencuri berlian yg menyebabkan dirinya masuk penjara, dan setelah keluar dr penjara, Nic sukses mendirikan rest [...]


    3. The sub-title of Robert Whiting's fine book is a bit misleading. The American gangster in question often disappears from the narrative for long stretches while Whiting explains the long history of collusion between Japanese politicians and the yakuza. Nevertheless, the result is a fascinating social history with plenty of entertaining anecdotes and colorful character profiles. Chief among the latter are Nick Zapetti himself, the "gangster" who made a fortune with pizza parlors that became the ha [...]


    4. Robert Whiting is uniquely qualified to write about this bit of history. He has lived in Japan for years and writes a column for a Japanese language newspaper. He knows the language and the people better than most Gaijan in Japan.Start this book and you will find yourself falling into an odd recipe of US Occupation forces, ancient Japanese culture, and ex-US Military mobsters who see a profit in this madness called Tokyo. Throw it all in the blender and hit frappe and you get what happened to bu [...]


    5. From the standpoint of a history nerd (especially one who specialized in Japanese history), this book is simply awesome. Even though it's a historical read bordering on biography, Whiting does a fabulous job of making this read almost like fiction. Great subject matter explored in this book; I'm a huge fan of cultural comparisons, and this is how it should be done. I found this to be a fascinating read, from cover to cover.


    6. Amusing and relatively accurate story about how post-war Japan was built by the CIA, gangsters and professional wrestlers.


    7. Those who are avoiding the US election news should skip this book, since, like a rancid cheeto, Trump shows up as a partner or patsy for Japanese mobsters. Other US figures include Nixon and Prescott Bush.The GR description is pretty complete so I will not add much notes on the content. My first comment is read the acknowledgements an notes in the back, they add depth to the book, don't skip them. The amount of corruption going on in the book seems horrifying if you haven't read much about down [...]


    8. Great book on the post war rise of Japan, from the perspective of an Italian-American Ex-GI who had a lot of shady friends. Topics include:- Roppongi history- The post-war takeover of Japanese society (Media, Gov't, etc.) by right-wing, nationalist, war veteran, yakuza types. - Cold War American complicity and involvement in said takeover (Particularly by Republican Admins).- CIA- Nixon- Korean Mafia- Lockheed-Martin Scandal, - PM Kakuei Tanaka of the Tanaka political dynasty (See also Makiko Ta [...]


    9. I don't really give this book two stars because it's a BAD book, I'm just not convinced that it really concerns a gangster. I may be nitpicking, but this felt more like a garden-variety criminal, really. It's pushing it to put this on my Japanese Mob shelf. It's an interesting enough book, however, and those interested in the American expatriate experience in Japan will no doubt like it. But I was looking for something about "An American Gangster in Japan," and I didn't really feel like this was [...]


    10. Awesome view of the Tokyo underworldAt times disjointed and seemingly going off in tangents this book is a excellent account of a American and in turn of foreigners experience in Japan from occupation to bubble. Filled with tales of Yakuza and corrupt business leaders it tells a story rarely heard. Must read for Japan lovers. Strong recommend.


    11. The subtitle of the book is The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan. The book is generally about how Americans influenced the underworld in Tokyo after World War II, and in particular the role of Nick Zappetti who was originally from New York. To me, at least, the main interest in the book are the bits dealing with the yakuza, the black market and bribery, and the part about Zapetti is only mildly interesting. The first black market after the end of the war opened in only a [...]


    12. Alternately amusing and appalling look at the seedy side of post-war Japan. Apparently, pinball, pro-wrestling and pizza ran wild across the archipelago in the years after we dropped the bomb, and author does a bang up job of linking these cultural nodes of modern Japanese society to its fascistic yakuza fringe; the increasingly unsurprising irony here being that America empowers the people that hate it in order to make money on the deal. Nick Zapetti, an American serviceman who stays on after t [...]


    13. The sub-title of Robert Whiting's fine book is a bit misleading. The American gangster in question often disappears from the narrative for long stretches while Whiting explains the long history of collusion between Japanese politicians and the yakuza. Nevertheless, the result is a fascinating social history with plenty of entertaining anecdotes and colorful character profiles. Chief among the latter are Nick Zapetti himself, the "gangster" who made a fortune with pizza parlors that became the ha [...]


    14. Not to long ago I had read a book called "Policing America's Empire" (mostly about the Philippines)in which one of the major points was the often overlooked influence of crime syndicates. This book corroborates the large effect crime and criminals plays in the world at large and especially in the US empire. It has been pointed out that governments seemingly week can control enormous resources through a symbiotic relationship of law and lawlessness to the point that it would be detrimental for th [...]


    15. This book oopened my eyes to the widespread existence of evil in Japan and America. It traced the history of relations between Japan and America from the end of World War II to the end of the Twentieth Century and its parallels in the life of an American-born Mafia connected resident in Japan, Nick Zapetti. He came as a GI and found ways to make money illegally, founded the first pizza restaurant in Tokyo, Nicola's Pizza in Rappongi. He became known as the Mafia Boss of Tokyo. Despite his crimin [...]


    16. Sebuah kisah nyata yang sangat menarik untuk dijadikan suatu pelajaran. Di medan bangsa lain yang tidak dia kuasai, tanpa modal finansial, tanpa keluarga dan kerabat, bahkan tanpa suatu perencanaan matang, hanya bermodalkan "keyakinan" dan keberuntungan yang jatuh-bangun membawa nama seorang Nicola Zapetti melambung menjadi orang nomor satu didunia kriminal Jepang pada zaman tersebut.Buku ini juga memberikan sebuah sudut-pandang baru pada saat Jepang pasca-pendudukan Amerika. Bagaimana Jepang ya [...]


    17. Buku ini bikin gw membuka-pikiran bahwa di negara semaju jepang ternyata tidak lepas dari yang namanya 'Kerajaan Bawah-Tanah' yang kelam dan kejam. Ga semua politikus terkenal di negara maju tuh berhati 'suci' seperti yang tampak dari wajah dan penampilan mereka. Rikidozan misalnya, seorang pegulat yang dianggap sebagai 'pahlawan kebangkitan' masyarakat dari keterpurukan masa Pendudukan Amerika, ternyata dibelakang semua itu, dia merupakan imigran korea yang bertemperamen keras dan bekerja dibaw [...]


    18. one of two English-language Yakuza books to be "accidentally" written; this other is [[book: Confessions of a Yakuza]]; Whiting went to Tokyo to write a general history of organized crime and instead ended up meeting the American Yak, Zappetti, who arrived in Japan with the Occupation forces and chose to stay.1945 Japan - 1960s being a time of rebuilding, when an adventuruous non-unversity-educated American could make something of himself; and indeed Zappetti built a business empire of sorts, bu [...]


    19. The title was misleading, for sure. The guy was not a gangster but a guy who owned an italian restaurant and made friends with a lot of gangsters. A tough dude, and italian, and even maybe related to some mafia guys back in New York, but not a gangster. It's like writing a book on the restaurant owner character in the Sopranos. So if you're looking for a story of an American who penetrates the highest levels of the yakuza, look elsewhere. The book did give a good overview of the beginnings of th [...]


    20. This is the true story of an American mobster named Nick Zapetti who lands in the newly re-furbished post-war Tokyo of 1945 and decides to start a pizza restaurant. Zapetti was a ruthless black marketer, pimp, armed-robber, and all-purpose scumbag. Somehow he manages to become an insanely successful entrepreneur, marry himself into Japanese-citizenship, and dance his way through dealings with the Yakuza (who were a lot less subtle back in the day) only to die in 1992 with nothing but his seethin [...]


    21. Regardless of the sources' unproved accuracy, this book is a reflection of how a nation - especially Japan - was empowered after its downfall during post-WWII. Just like the sunlight and the shadow, government and crime organizations were - not too surprisingly - side-to-side to develop the economy of a country. This book gives us another perspective to see other examples of democracy and patriotism such as the story of Ozu Kinosuke, a gangster boss who controlled the most part of Tokyo's black [...]


    22. The true story of an American who settled in Japan after WWII, as well as a more general account of the history of organized crime in that country, Tokyo Underworld is at once fascinating and disturbing. It shows the intersection of crime with both culture and politics, and if the crooked lens--Nick Zappetti--through which we see all this is not entirely sympathetic, he's also fascinating and larger-than-life in the best tradition of gangster stories. While I read it for research, but I'd have e [...]


    23. reportage detailing the life of Nick Zapetti -- a Brooklyn-born WWII veteran turned yakuza/pizza-king of Tokyo. The backdrop covers the post-war void, the Bubble and the slump, while chronicling the wildest side of Japan you could ask for: gang fights with sharpened chopsticks, yakuzacarousing with political figures on drugs with girls, gunfire over cheese pizza, etc. Zapetti is the lovable asshole who dies ecstatically miserable right after he tells Whiting his entire slipshod story.


    24. A gripping account of an Italian-American's life, who made Tokyo his home and organized crime his life. Contains vivid description of the relationship between the elites and the criminal elements of Japanese society and provides astounding insights into the way the System works in Japan. Quite a stomach-turning experience for the more ethically-minded Western reader. Warning: May turn your faith in the possibility for good governance to shreds.


    25. This is a 4.5 star book. Outstanding research and well-written. It was a bit of a tough read for me, being a slow reader especially of non-fiction (took several months as you can see) but fascinating stuff. Very detailed. A lot of human interest. Would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Tokyo, Japan, Japenese History, Mafia/Gangsters/The Mob.But, if you are not interested in any of those things, this book definitely isn't for you.


    26. Nowhere near as user-friendly when it comes to explaining Japanese culture to this barbarian gaijan as "TOKYO VICE," Whiting still gives an intricate historical account of the Rippongi area of Tokyo, a famous Japanese-Korean wrestler, the original Yakuza Gumi's in Tokyo, and an american Ganster wanabe Nicolo. The account is vital, well-researched, and thuroughly footnoted, but somehow lacking in exciting.Still planning to read his "TOKYO UNDERWORLD VOL. 2"


    27. If Nick Zappetti--the ex-GI and American Gangster that much of Tokyo Underworldrevolves around--were a fictional character, some readers might find him too far fetched. Yet this is not a work of fiction, but rather a fascinating look at how Japan's underworld evolved after WWII. A must-read for students of Japan who want to get a rounded picture this beguiling country.


    28. Extremely well researched. There is nothing on on Nick Zapetti, the character around whom most of the story revolves, but there should be. It may not be as relevant or up to date an account about the modern day millenial Japanese yakuza but it is part of the record of how Asian societies have evolved through illegitimate hands in legitimate gloves.


    29. In the end this was okay. Immensely readable and told almost novel-style it was fascinating about the cultural and societal development and evolution of Japan. Problem was, over a third of the book is made up of notes and footnotes, so when all is said and done, it's actually far less than I would have expected. Good story. Well told. Too short.


    30. This was a good book. It has a very historical tone, and sometimes it's easy to get lost in the facts as the story's stage is set, but after you learn who everyone is and how they all tie together, the book is actually quite interesting.


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