American Maverick in Japan: The Rick Roa Story

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iUniverse, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 172 pages
I first met Richard Roa in the fall of 1989. I was in the middle of researching Tokyo Underworld and someone had suggested I interview him because he knew the main character of the book, Nick Zapetti, and also because he worked for a time as a consultant to the Toa-Sogo Kigyo, a real-estate/leisure outfit based in Roppongi, which was, in fact, a transmogrification of the infamous Tokyo gang, the Tosei-kai, a yakuza organization which occupied another major part of the book.

My scheduled two-hour interview with Rick Roa metastasized into several lengthy Q&A session because the stories this man had to tell were so damned interesting, starting with the chilling tale he told of being caught in a Tokyo mob run clip joint and what he had to do to get his money back.

There was more-his hilarious tale of the American Train venture, his experiences as a bartender in the Ginza's most exclusive (and expensive) hostess club, his adventures with Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston in Japan. But, unfortunately, I could not use much of the material because it did not impact directly on the central thesis of Underworld, which dealt with the corrupt side of the U.S.-Japan relationship. But I always thought that it would make a good book one day, and lo and behold, here it is.

I'm sure readers will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Robert Whiting,
Kamakura, 2004
Author of The Tokyo Underworld

 

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Contents

A Trip Down Memory Lane
1
BrooklynA Boy of the Streets
7
Across the Ocean
16
To the Land of the Rising Sun
23
Marriage Family and a New Job
30
Understanding a New Land
34
Working in the Hostess Clubs
40
In the Years Before the Bubble
46
On the Edge of Tokyo Underworld
63
The Great American Train
86
A Parade of Stars
99
The British are Coming
120
The End of the Bubble
137
A Brush with Death and a New Life
144
Epilogue
153
Copyright

The King of Roppongi
55

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