Justin’s Japan: Robert Whiting Brings ‘Tokyo Underworld’ to Japan Society

Tokyo Underworld 2012: An Evening with Robert Whiting will be held Feb. 16 at Japan Society. Continue reading on Examiner.com Robert Whiting brings ‘Tokyo Underworld’ to Japan Society. (Courtesy of Japan Society)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Japan Society of New York becomes your gateway to the seamy side of Japan on Feb. 16 with Tokyo Underworld 2012: An Evening with Robert Whiting. At this special appearance, the celebrated author will discuss the intractable role of yakuza in virtually all areas of modern day society in Japan. (It also echoes a 2011 Japan Society lecture by crime expert and Tokyo Vice author Jake Adelstein.)

Whiting first came to Japan with U.S. Air Force intelligence in 1962, where he was assigned to work for the National Security Agency in the U-2 program. He graduated from Tokyo’s Sophia University in 1969 with a degree in Japanese politics. His research into the ties binding Japan’s leading politicians to Yakuza bosses gained him entrée into the Higashi Nakano wing of Tokyo’s largest criminal gang, the Sumiyoshi-kai, where he became an “informal advisor.” He worked for Encyclopedia Britannica Japan as an editor until 1972, whereupon he moved to New York City and wrote his first book, The Chrysanthemum and the Bat. He later worked for Time-Life in Tokyo for a year before becoming a professional author.

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