Hitoshi Ishida, Koichi Tanaka’s right hand and de facto head of the Chihara-kai crime family, tells an American journalist, Jake Adelstein, working for Meicho Shimbun newspaper, that the world of Yakuza is closed territory. It is closed to outsiders, and a man of his profession, a journalist, will always need a source of information within this boundary. Hence, in “Tokyo Vice” Episodes 4 and 5, Adelstein slowly seeps into the underbelly of Tokyo without realizing the consequences of taking favor from a Yakuza.
Jake’s obsession or inclination towards these crime lords has already been established in the previous episodes of “Tokyo Vice,”, especially in the opening montages where Jake was taking a glance at the heads of the Yakuza family. In Episodes 4 and 5, Jake moves forward with this investigation of a suspicious loan shark company that he suspects has ties with the Yakuza gang, and in the pursuit, he finally faces his arch-nemesis, Shinzo Tozawa, who is the center of all conflict in the narrative.
‘Tokyo Vice’ Episode 4: Recap And Ending
In “Tokyo Vice” Episode 3, Jake has been kidnapped by the members of the Chihara-kai gang. As episode 4 began, they brought Jake to their stronghold, where Jake finally met Hitoshi Ishida. Hitoshi found out about Jake through one of his yakuza members, Sato, who revealed to Hitoshi that Jake was a reporter who had close contact with the police and might be able to help Hitoshi in some way.
Hitoshi told Jake that he needed a favor. He wanted his help to find a mole in his gang who had been spreading rumors that he was bribing the cops, and because of these rumors, the cops had stopped drinking tea at his office. But the rumors didn’t stop there. After the cops refused to drink tea under his roof, his men started believing another rumor in circulation that Hitoshi was an informant for the police. These two rumors had created doubt in the minds of both the cops and his men, and Hitoshi wanted to change this perception as soon as possible, or he would be forced to dig his own grave as he was slowly losing confidence from both sides.
Jake had no other option but to accept the mission that he was handed over forcefully. Later, Sato dropped him home safely while confessing that he had told Hitoshi about him so that he would be able to save the gang from breaking apart. The very next morning, Jake contacted his father figure and his only source in the police force, detective Hiroto Katagiri, who agreed to find the mole. Katagiri already knew that the mole must be planted by the leader of their rival gang, Shinzo Tozawa, who was waiting for Hitoshi’s death so that he could take over the turf.
Meanwhile, Jake investigated the loan shark company that led to the deaths of Aoki (stabbed in the park) and Mr. Satomura (who burned himself) in the previous episodes. As Jake discussed the case with sub-cap Emi Maruyama, she quickly remembered a similar suicide case in Machiya where the victim, Hyon-suk, owed a lot of money to a consumer credit loan company. Through Hyon-suk’s husband, Jake and Emi got the address of the loan shark company. However, they met with dead ends after they found that the corporation was registered under a false name.
The other part of the narrative followed the story of Samantha, the American hostess who worked at the Onyx nightclub and dreamed of opening her own bar one day. In the previous episode, Samantha met a man named Matsuo at Onyx, and in Episode 4, she went out for a dinner date with him. Finally, Matsuo revealed his real identity and told Samantha that he had been hired by men with deep pockets from whom she had stolen some 40 thousand dollars. However, before Matsuo could convey what he wanted, Samantha left in a rage. Samantha was an inch close to achieving her dream of opening a bar of her own, when suddenly, a mistake from the past was ready to destroy everything she hustled for. But her problems didn’t end with Matsuo. Samantha’s boss at Onyx found out about her plans to open a bar and threatened her not to steal any girls from the premises. At the same moment, Sato threatened Samantha to pay the taxes to the Yakuza, as it was customary for every bar owner to give protection fees to the Chihara-kai gang.
Later that same night, after Samantha left the bar, Sato hung out with his new friend, Jake, and took him to an expensive Japanese restaurant, where Jake finally met his nemesis, Shinzo Tozawa, and had a bit of a witty exchange of words. Meanwhile, at her house, Samantha realized that someone was keeping a watch on her and consequently found a red bag in her wardrobe that refreshed her memories of the past. When Samantha came to Japan in 1994, she used to work as a Christian missionary for a society called “Choose the Right,” the same words pointed out by Matsuo.
Emi Maruyama’s Personal Investigation
Away from the storylines of these three central characters, the episodes also highlighted the solo investigation of Jake’s senior, Emi Maruyama, a Korean-Japanese who was digging into an unusual murder case that might have had a connection with a Korean-Japanese serial killer named Joji Obara. However, nothing is established about the identity of the murderer except for the fact that police, in a hurry to close the case, put behind bars a wrongly accused culprit while the real killer was still roaming in the open. Joji Obara was accused of murdering a British woman, Lucie Blackman, after which his other spine-chilling crimes came to light. It will be interesting to see if the creators will stay true to the real-life facts or change the name, as they have done so far.
‘Tokyo Vice’ Episode 5: Recap And Ending
Episode 5 began with the backstory of Samantha, who first came to Kitakyushu, Japan, in 1994 when she was just 21 years old. She belonged to a dedicated Christian family in Utah, where her father held a high position in the local parish. Following her father’s religious beliefs, Samantha joined a society called “Choose the Right” to spread the word of the lord in Japan, where she worked for some 18 months, after which she had a change of heart and stole some 4 million yen in cash from the local mission fund to start a new life in Tokyo. Five years later, in 1999, Matsuo hunted down Samantha for his clients, and Samantha feared that if he turned her in, the church would request to extradite her back to the USA even if she paid them back.
Meanwhile, Katagiri found out about the mole in the Chihara-kai and delivered the information to Jake in an envelope, who later handed it over to Hitoshi Ishida. Ishida had warned Jake not to seek any favor from Ishida in return, as it would cost him later, yet Jake ignored the warnings and inquired with Ishida about the loan shark company that sent threats to its customers. With the hint dropped by Ishida, Jake found out that all the dead clients first approached a bank named Suzuno Financials, managed by Mr. Sugita, who had close ties with Shinzo Tozawa. Jake figured out the fraud system created by Shinzo Tozawa where any client who had approached Suzuno Financials was rejected by the bank and was later contacted by Tozawa’s loan shark company, who would implement heavy interest and malicious practices to recover the money.
When Jake confronted Sugita, he confessed to the crimes and, off the record, promised to hand over the wire transfer documents that would help Jake incriminate Tozawa. However, when Jake reached Sugita’s house to scan the documents, he found Sugita already dead. Sugita was threatened by Tozawa to kill himself and take the blame for everything in exchange for the safety of his family. In his suicide note, he took full responsibility for the loan shark fraud, thus letting Tozawa completely off the hook.
Meanwhile, Ishida confronted the mole in his gang, who happened to be his most trusted member, Kume. The traditional Yakuza, or mafia family, run their business within a certain set of boundaries, and whoever breaks them faces the wrath of the entire family. Most often, these gangs suffer a crisis while trying to maintain their traditional values, where the young and ambitious members are ready to enter into any kind of illicit trade, majorly smuggling life-threatening drugs, to earn an extra profit and expand their empire.
In Tozawa’s case, he was importing shabu (methamphetamine) from North Korea and had been selling it in Japan. Kume knew that a righteous man like Ishida would never sell drugs, even if the Yakuza perished, and so he joined hands with Tozawa to serve his ambition and greed. Kume was slowly spreading rumors to weaken the Chihara-kai gang from within. That would have probably led to the downfall of Ishida, after which Tozawa would have filled the power vacuum and taken over the turf. However, thanks to Jake and Katagiri, who found out about Kume’s motives and after his betrayal came to light, Ishida forced Kume to jump from the building and kill himself. Later, Katagiri visited Ishida and asked him not to tamper with Kume’s body, as they traditionally do with rats. Katagiri didn’t want another gang war to erupt at the heart of the city and thus requested Ishida to let the matter go and make peace with Tozawa. Katagiri personally delivered the peace message to Tozawa’s headquarters.
After successfully busting the loan shark syndicate and finding out that Tozawa was the man behind all evils, Jake tried to investigate him further, which his editor bluntly refused. However, Emi supported Jake’s pursuit, which will be further explored in upcoming episodes of “Tokyo Vice.”
Later that night, Katagiri asked Jake to celebrate his little victory and get drunk for the night, after which Jake went to Onyx to take out Samantha. However, Samantha was already struggling with Matsuo, who was keeping an eye on her, and after a tense encounter with Sato, the two left the bar through the back door and ended up making love to each other. Samantha decided to make amends for her mistake and visited Matsuo to hand over the money that she stole from the mission fund. However, at this moment, Matsuo revealed his true motives: he wanted physical favors from Samantha, and his choice of words explicitly suggested that he would need those favors quite often. In simple words, he wanted to make Samantha his mistress. Samantha left the house in disgust, but she probably has no other option at her disposal currently. However, now that she has started a romantic relationship with Sato, she could seek help from him and get Matsuo killed. The upcoming episode “Tokyo Vice” will reveal her actions better.
A Violent Attack At Chihara-kai Stronghold
As Sato returned back, he witnessed a massacre where two masked assassins (ninjas) slaughtered the entire gang at the safehouse. When he entered the premise, Hitoshi Ishida was struggling against these assassins, trying to protect himself, when Sato joined the battle and killed one of them while the other man tried to suffocate him. Fortunately, Ishida saved Sato’s life, and both men survived to take revenge from their enemy who planned this sudden attack.
With the death of Kume and the entire gang, Sato will probably become Ishida’s most trusted man to keep the gang afloat. Evidently, he doesn’t have any other option either. The assassins were probably sent by Tozawa, who believed that Ishida was too weak to strike back, and thus he tried to kill him to take over the turf. As Katagiri earlier told Jake, Tozawa was testing the waters with the attack on the bar in the Kabukicho district, and when Ishida didn’t retaliate after that, Tozawa was certain that his rival was nothing but an old coward. Ishida’s silence over the matter is feeding Tozawa’s narcissistic ego, and if he does not strike back, then it will probably be the end of the Chihara-kai gang.
However, there is one more conflict that is often highlighted in the episodes so far, which is Tozawa’s physical health, which is deteriorating quickly, and he needs an urgent organ transplant (probably). If Tozawa leaves Japan to get some medical attention, his absence will provide some relief to Ishida and his gang. However, only the upcoming episode will reveal what is going to happen next in the crime world of Tokyo.