Tokyo Vice is a crime thriller series currently on HBO Max and based on the memoirs by Jake Adelstein. Set in 1999 Japan, it follows an American reporter working for a Japanese newspaper as he delves deep into Tokyo’s seedy underworld and the criminal kingdom of the yakuza.
Japanese Destroyer Captain is the postwar memoir of Tameichi Hara, a Japanese Navy officer who earned the nickname the “Miracle Captain.” He is one of the only Japanese captains to have survived the entire Pacific War from its beginning in 1941 to its end in 1945. Of the 175 destroyers the Imperial Navy possessed during World War II, 129 were sunk.
All She Was Worth is a 1992 noir mystery written by Miyuki Miyabe, one of Japan’s most famous genre writers, including crime fiction. Taking place in the early 1990s, the novel captures the zeitgeist of the Bubble Economy of the 80s/early 90s, which would soon pop and led to the infamous “Lost Decade.”
Larry Bond’s 1987 novel Red Phoenix detailed a second Korean War, day by day, hour by hour. Red Phoenix Burning by Larry Bond and Chris Carlson is a follow-up, a narrative of how North Korea collapses into a full-blown civil war.
Film noir is a tricky thing to define, and some still question whether it’s just a style relying on distinct lighting and shadow play or if it’s a genre unto its own. The term derived from French critic Nino Frank who, in 1946, saw many American crime movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944) for the first time, and dubbed them film noir – black films, both for their heavy use of shadows and dark subject matter.
An old evil awakens in the remote Indiana town of Isherwood. Hordes of ravenous vampires threaten to devour everyone and only one man, a Vietnam vet with lots of ammo, can stop them. This is the 1990 horror novel, Nightblood by T. Chris Martindale.
Since it’s spooky season, I wanted to highlight one of Japan’s most famous horror manga artists/writers – Junji Ito. For those not in the know, manga are Japanese comics, and Ito’s realistic and hyper-detailed artwork, combined with his macabre and haunting plots, are a perfect nightmare cocktail. Here are ten recommendations to start you off, from his longer-form works to short stories. Also, to existing Junji Ito fans, yes, there are plenty of well-known recommendations here, but if I didn’t list your personal favorite, well, there’s always next Halloween…
A false flag is defined as an “operation is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another party.” There are many such incidents throughout history — the Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Gleiwitz radio attack in 1939 are two of the best-known examples. Couched in conspiracy and intrigue, false flags are prime fodder for thriller fiction, such as False Flag by John Altman.