Toppamono: Outlaw. Radical. Suspect. My Life in Japan's Underworld

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9780970171627: Toppamono: Outlaw. Radical. Suspect. My Life in Japan's Underworld

Shot, stabbed, and beaten, Miyazaki Manabu somehow emerged intact from his first fifty years to put his astonishing life story down on paper. Born the son of a yakuza boss in 1945, he grew up in a household of gang members and social misfits before his conversion to Marxism launched him into the violent world of 1960s student radicalism. After dropping out of university and spending a brief sojourn in South America, he became a reporter on a fast-rising weekly magazine. Called back home to Kyoto to take over the family demolition business, he was plunged into a maelstrom of bankruptcy and debt, forcing him to raise funds however he could. Along the way, he became the chief suspect in one of Japan's most sensational criminal cases----still unsolved----before getting caught up in the crazy years of Japan's bubble economy, when land speculators tipped their favorite bar hostesses millions of yen and Dom Perignon flowed like water. More than just one man's incredible story, unflinchingly told, Toppamono is a sophisticated analysis of Japan's postwar half-century that will astound and enlighten. Devastatingly critical of banks and bureaucrats, questioning of Japan's understanding of democracy, and cogent on the role played by the yakuza in Japanese society, this underground best-seller, first published in 1996, will keep you enthralled until the very last page.

toppamono n: a person with a devil-may-care attitude, who pushes ahead regardless.

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From the Publisher:

Toppamono, the memoir of Japanese underworld figure Miyazaki Manabu, was first published in 1996. A revised version came out the following year. To date, over 600,000 copies of the book have been sold in Japan. Believing that Toppamono deserved to be made available to a wider audience, I approached Mr. Miyazaki about the possibility of publishing a translation. This book is the result.

From the Author:

I was born in 1945, the year of Japan's defeat in World War II. In 1995, exactly half a century later, I completed Toppamono. It was the year of Japan's "second defeat," when the double blow of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway rocked a nation beginning to feel the full impact of the bubble economy's collapse.

Much of my existence has been characterized by defeat; living with it has shaped my outlook and made me who I am. I feel closest to those who take defeat in their stride and just keep going, rather than to those who aspire to victory down a rational path. In life's losers I find a humanity lacking in the winners. It is this sentiment that lies at the heart of Toppamono.

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Miyazaki Manabu
Editore: Kotan (2005)
ISBN 10: 0970171625 ISBN 13: 9780970171627
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Manabu, Miyazaki
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