American Maverick in Japan (Paperback)

The Rick Roa Story

By Tony Teora

iUniverse, 9780595314287, 172pp.

Publication Date: April 18, 2004

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/18/2004)

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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"