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The Last Yakuza

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781472158314

Price: £25

ON SALE: 1st February 2024

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General

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‘The Last Yakuza might be a work of non-fiction, but it reads more like a thriller… a gripping read’ – Irish News

‘Sacred, ferocious, and businesslike, Adelstein describes the Japanese mafia like nobody else’ Roberto Saviano, on Tokyo Vice

Makoto Saigo is half-American and half-Japanese in small-town Japan with a set of talents limited to playing guitar and picking fights. With rock stardom off the table, he turns toward the only place where you can start from the bottom and move up through sheer merit, loyalty, and brute force – the yakuza.

Saigo, nicknamed “Tsunami”, quickly realizes that even within the organization, opinions are as varied as they come, and a clash of philosophies can quickly become deadly. One screw-up can cost you your life, or at least a finger.

The internal politics of the yakuza are dizzyingly complex, and between the ever-shifting web of alliances and the encroaching hand of the law that pushes them further and further underground, Saigo finds himself in the middle of a defining decades-long battle that will determine the future of the yakuza.

Written with the insight of an expert on Japanese organized crime and the compassion of a longtime friend, investigative journalist Jake Adelstein presents a sprawling biography of a yakuza, through post-war desperation, to bubble-era optimism, to the present. Including a cast of memorable yakuza bosses – Coach, The Buddha, and more – this is a story about the rise and fall of a man, a country, and a dishonest but sometimes honorable way of life on the brink of being lost.


'Adelstein tells Saigo's story with a relish for its comic aspects [and] an understated feeling for its pathos... one comes away from The Last Yakuza finding its subject not just sympathetic, but even lovable'
'The Last Yakuza might be a work of non-fiction, but it reads more like a thriller... a gripping read'
Irish News