‘Tokyo Vice’ Recap Before Watching Season 2 On HBO Max


Tokyo Vice is based on the memoir written by Jake Adelstein, and it gives us a glimpse into the life of an American journalist based in Japan working for one of the leading newspapers. The American journalist finds himself stuck between two rival gangs and the politics that surround them, and before he realizes it, he is way too deep in the water to even think about coming out of it. Jake just wanted to be good at what he did, but his professional proficiency came at a cost. So, let’s find out what happened in Tokyo Vice season 1 and what happened to Jake and others who were involved in the entire scheme of things.

Spoiler Alert

What happened to Sato?

Sato belonged to the Chihara Kai group, and he was recruited into the gang by Kume, which is why he had a lot of respect for him. Sato knew that he wouldn’t be able to go back to his family. He had come way too far for now to go back. Sato was very close to Samantha, who worked in the club that was under the Chihara gang. There was a point in time when Sato was asked to keep Samantha in order, as she wanted to open her own club and was influencing other girls to work for her. With time, Sato grew very close to Samantha, and he tried talking to her, but she was just way too adamant to listen to him. Sato told her that she was going against the wrong people, but Samantha wanted to do something with her life, and she was not ready to compromise on it.

In Tokyo Vice, we realized over a period of time that Sato was probably the most reluctant gangster in the organized crime syndicate. He knew he was knee-deep in the swamp, and there was no going out for him, but still, that desire for an aspirational life was still present inside him. Sato went after the man named Matsuo, who was blackmailing Samantha. But after the encounter, Sato realized that Matsuo was quite well connected, and he was very close to a man named Tokumaru, who was at the top of the food chain in the Chihara gang. That’s probably when Sato decided that he would kill him, as there was no other option left for him. Sato told Kume that the matter with Samantha was dealt with, but later, it came out in the open that Samantha still wanted to open her own club. That’s when Kume told Sato that he would have to pay for lying to the gang. Sato was about to cut his finger when Hitoshi Ishida came and asked Kume what he was up to. Ishida had realized that Kume had been leaking information to Tozawa for a long time, and he asked him to either jump from the building and take his own life or be killed by his bullet.

From that point in time in Tokyo Vice, Ishida started trusting Sato a lot. His trust increased when Sato came to his rescue when Tozawa’s men came to attack him. Ishida would have died if Sato hadn’t arrived there. Sato became an integral part of the group, and since that day, Ishida took his advice in matters of importance. Sato and Ishida both told Jake about Tozawa’s consignment of drugs that was going to come, but that didn’t pan out as they would have expected because Miyamoto, who was working for Tozawa, told him about it. At the end of Tokyo, Vice, Sato got a little taken aback when he realized that Samantha had made a deal with Ishida and the gang was funding her new club. He asked Samantha to not take that step, but she was too invested in the project to say no at that juncture. Just after he had that conversation and was going towards his car, somebody came out of the blue and stabbed him. As of now, I don’t know whether he survived the attack or not, but somehow, it felt like it was an inside job, and he was now a member of the rival gang who had come to take his life. We will have to wait for the next season to figure out the motive and intention of the man who came to stab him and if Sato was fortunate to survive it.

Was Samantha able to open her club?

Samantha was a very practical and ambitious girl, and she looked like the kind of person who kept her professional life before her personal wants and needs. She had established herself in Tokyo after a lot of struggle, and she knew how hard she had worked for it. She wanted to open her own club, and she had been saving for it for quite some time. She was ready to get her hands dirty if it came to that, and she was ready to face the consequences of her actions. Things went haywire for Samantha when Polina went missing all of a sudden, and the former, even after trying way too much, wasn’t able to figure out where she was. She did her own investigation, but then she had to loop in Sato as she knew that she wouldn’t be able to find her on her own. Sato was the man who had helped her get rid of Matsuo, and she trusted him more than anybody else. Samantha had come to Kitakyushu in 1994, and after that, she worked as a missionary. She robbed the church, which was why Matsuo was after her.

The irony was that Matsuo was working for her father, and Samantha despised her old man. There was a point in time in Tokyo Vice where I personally felt that Samantha would go for Jake, but maybe he was too naive and not somebody with whom she clicked. She had an affair with Sato, and she knew from the very beginning that it was not going to end very well, even if she denied that fact, which harbored all her delusions. Samantha and Sato went together to find Polina, and that’s when they got to know that she had been taken to a palace called Yoshina, which they later realized was the name of a yacht. Sato couldn’t help her cause because it was Tozawa’s territory, and he knew that Ishida didn’t want his members to do anything that would give the rival gang an excuse to wage war. Samantha was robbed by Akira’s men, who sold Polina to Tozawa, and then she had no money to open her club or even save her friend. So she struck a deal with Ishida, and the gang leader trusted her because there was something very relentless about her. Samantha will open her club, but dealing with the criminals comes with its own set of complications, and in the next season of Tokyo Vice, we will come to know if she made the right choice or not.

What happened between Tozawa and Katagiri?

Ishida might have been a criminal, but he was a man of ideals and principles. He didn’t want a war, and he also didn’t deal with things that his conscience did not allow. Katagiri knew that, and probably that was why he was on speaking terms with him. Ishida knew that as long as Tozawa’s group was trying to encroach on his territory, he wouldn’t be able to put down his guards. The Tokyo region had belonged to the Chihara group since time immemorial, but Tozawa’s gang was trying to do everything to have control over the area. Ishida gave Jake a tip about Tozawa’s drug consignment, but because of Miyamoto, the police were not able to procure the drugs. Katagiri had told Jake that he shouldn’t tell anyone about the tip he had gotten from Ishida, but Jake was really desperate for an exclusive story. Katagiri was giving Jake information, but after he passed on the information about the drug consignment to Miyamoto, Katagiri lost trust in him. Katagiri spread the rumor that he had strong evidence against Tozawa, as he wanted to know who the snitch was and who was giving him all the information. He knew that the police officer working for Tozawa would try to go and find out about the evidence, and his bet paid off. Miyamoto did enter the store room, and that’s when, in Tokyo Vice, he found out that it was all a sham. Miyamoto confessed to his crimes, and that’s when Katagiri told him that he would not expose him, provided he helped him catch Tozawa. Tozawa knew that there would come a time when Miyamoto’s conscience would come in his way, and he was prepared for it already.

How did Jake find out about Polina?

Jake was quite a proactive journalist, probably because he knew that because he was a foreigner, he would have to make a little more effort than the locals. He worked closely with Emi Mayasuma in the Meicho Shimbun newspaper, and she was one of those few people who wanted to give him a fair chance. Jake was clearly infatuated with Samantha, but soon, he realized that she had made a choice and that he was not the one she had opted for. It was a difficult space for him to be in, but he knew that he had no other option because Samantha had made it very clear to him that she would not indulge with him through her active and passive actions. Jake kept finding information because, at one point in time, he became very close to Sato, Ishida, and other members of the Chihara group. He paid the price for it, too, when Tozawa’s men broke into his house and assaulted him badly. Jake didn’t want to go back to Missouri, but each and every day, things were getting complicated for him. After he got the tip from Ishida and told Miyamoto about it, Katagiri stopped talking to him. Jake knew that Katagiri was probably the only person who cared for him and who was truthful to him.

At the end of Tokyo Vice, Jake got assaulted by Tozawa’s men, and that’s when he had second thoughts about staying in Tokyo. Jake got a tape in the end, and he got to know that Polina was on the yacht named Yoshino and that she was sexually and physically abused. Polina resisted, and she had to pay the consequences of it. She was hit by one of Tozawa’s men, and it seemed like she succumbed to her injuries. Jake took the tape directly to Katagiri and asked him to give him a second chance. Katagiri took Jake in, and probably in the second season of Tokyo Vice, they will use that piece of evidence to pin down Tozawa’s syndicate. I don’t think Jake is going back to the USA anytime soon, and he is going to be at the helm of affairs.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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