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Revisiting 'Tokyo Underworld,' book that lifted lid on crime in Japan

With a TV series in prospect, its author reflects on how lawbreaking has changed

Three yakuza in Tokyo's Kabukicho entertainment and red-light district in 1971. (Katsumi Watanabe)

More than two decades ago I published a book called "Tokyo Underworld." It sold 50,000 copies in hardcover and paperback in the U.S. and to date has been optioned for production into a film or TV series by five different studios -- including, as of February, Legendary. It was published in Japan in translation and hit the No. 1 spot on many lists.

The book was about corruption in Japan, high and low, and how the U.S. participated in it dating back to the days of the Occupation when Japan's black markets did more to bring Americans and Japanese together than all the work of the starry-eyed experts in Gen. MacArthur's headquarters.

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