The Last Yakuza: A Life in the Japanese Underworld
Author: Jake Adelstein
Release Date: January 19, 2016
A riveting, behind-the-scenes look at the life and times of yakuza mob boss Makoto Saigo, aka Tsunami, by America’s foremost expert on Japanese organized crime.
Makoto Saigo could have been a rock star. Instead he became a yakuza. Born in Japan, but the son of an American-born Japanese woman—who moved back to Japan to avoid internment camps—Saigo was never a typical Japanese boy. As a child, other children referred to him as “a damn American,” or simply a “non-person.” He was always an outsider, but as a teenager in 1970s Tokyo he found his tribe in Japan’s notorious motorcycle gangs—the Bōsōzuko. His life was full of speed, whether synthetically through crystal meth, mechanically from the engine of his bike, or rhythmically as he played guitar for Japan pioneering punk-rock group Gedo. But a chance encounter—and perhaps a bit too much lust for life that kept leading him to Toyko’s notorious red light district—placed him on a different path of becoming a boss in the Inagawa-kai, the country’s third largest organized-crime group.
Full of swordfights, gun battles, finger amputation, rock ‘n’ roll, financial crimes, gang wars, tattoos, and personal vendettas, Saigo’s story is one of a kind. But it is not the only story told here. The Last Yakuza also tells the history of the yakuza since World War II, and explains how the yakuza became so entrenched in Japan. Saigo’s life is the axis around which tales of yakuza life and their role in Japanese society are told. It is the story of one yakuza boss—not a good man, but a man with a code of honor—and the history of the rise and fall of Japan’s underworld as it is almost literally tattooed on his body and charted by his missing finger.
(With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
From the Hardcover edition.