Enter the world of 1930s Japan filled with intrigue, crime, and assassinations. Police Inspector Kenji Aizawa and the geisha Reiko Watanabe risk their lives to protect Tokyo against shadowy conspiracies.
The first book of the Reiko/Aizawa Series. Set in December 1931, the geisha Reiko Watanabe must betray her lover, the right-wing terrorist leader Masaru Ryusaki, to prevent the government from being overthrown. Her only hope is Ryusaki’s nemesis, Inspector Kenji Aizawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Reiko can only aid Aizawa secretly, or risk being exposed to certain death. However, Aizawa continues his investigation, they both learn that the conspiracy is far wider and deadlier than they ever could have imagined.
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Smoke Over Tokyo: Book 2
It is May 1932.
When a prominent politician mysteriously commits suicide while dining with Chizuru Okamura, the daughter of a yakuza crime family. Leading the investigation, Police Inspector Aizawa tasks his geisha spy, Reiko Watanabe, to go undercover into the world of the dreaded Okamura Gang.
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The World of Reiko Watanabe and Inspector Aizawa
The 1930s were a fascinating and turbulent time in Japan. Unlike the militaristic nation that attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japan of the early Showa Era was enamored by Western culture. Hollywood movies and jazz were all the rage, leading to a subculture of modern girls or mogas and their male equivalents, modern boys or mobos, the flappers of Japan. At this time, there was a strange clash of ancient culture with modern sensibilities.
Music and movies weren’t the only import from the West. Beginning in the 1920s, Japanese politics were somewhat democratic thanks to universal male suffrage, leading to the rule of political parties. However, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, a series of scandals plagued the civilian governments which fueled the rise of the patriotic societies.
Japan in the 1930s experienced liberties unknown in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. There was multiple political parties, labor unions, along with a somewhat free press and movie industry. However, the government routinely curtailed civil rights when it deemed necessary with the infamous Peace Preservation Law which declared “dangerous ideologies” illegal. The most notable example of these government crackdowns occurred on March 15th, 1928, when 1,600 suspected Communists were rounded-up. Driven underground, the Far Left waned while right-wing groups gained popularity.
Government By Assassination
When the Great Depression hit Japan in 1930, the nation became a breeding ground for the right-wing patriotic societies. Dozens of these organizations popped up with names like Nation Loving Society, the Blood Brotherhood, and the Cherry Blossom Society. They railed against the corruption inside the civilian government and advocated violent reform. More often than not, this took the form of attempted military coup de’tats and political assassinations.
Rise of the Japanese Military
In September 1931, the Japanese Army planned and launched a full-scale invasion of Manchuria, the northeastern region of China. Flagrantly disobeying the civilian government in Tokyo, the Army continued its campaign until the entire area fell under Japanese control in March 1932. This act of insubordination set the tone of the Japanese Military in the 1930s; aggressive and independent of oversight. Not only did it engage in naked aggression but rogue elements within the Imperial Army and Navy often planned assassinations and coups against leaders they deemed corrupt or weak.