‘Tokyo Vice’ star Ken Watanabe explains ‘Wild’ real-life Yakuza experience

Tokyo Vice follows an American journalist in 1990s Japan as he investigates Yakuza – the infamous underground crime syndicate that ruled the streets.

Ken Watanabe stars alongside Ansel Elgort in the new HBO Max crime drama, produced and directed by filmmaker Michael Mann. Based on a true story, it dramatizes the experience of real-life journalist Jake Edelstein who wrote the 2009 memoir Tokyo Vice: An American reporter on the police beat in Japan.

Edelstein moved to Tokyo in the 90s where his work investigating organized crime and the criminal underworld attracted Jacob’s attention. Crime Syndicate has been glamorized and adapted into many forms of entertainment, such as film and TV, but Watanabe was present in Japan to witness the real-life influence of Yakuza.

“Newspapers and publishing companies did not like [writing about the Yakuza]Watanabe told newsweek, “It was scary and dangerous, so I didn’t hear about the story [of Tokyo Vice],

Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe in a scene from “Tokyo Vice” on HBO Max.
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Watanabe, who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 2003 film the last warriorPlays the role of police detective Hiroto Katagiri Tokyo Vice, His character takes Elgort’s Jake Edelstein under his wing in Jacob’s investigation. Watanabe admitted that the story of the new HBO Max series shocked her.

Watanabe said, “I read the script first and it’s really a surprise. Since 1990, this is a big change of law for gang companies. Gangs need to change their style a bit.”

“Nevertheless, the police and [political] There is a need to change parties to protect the society. It’s a big change over time since 1990.”

Watanabe has been known to Western audiences ever since her starring role in the last warrior, but even before that, he had not starred in projects related to the infamous Japanese crime syndicate. “I [in] A Yakuza movie just once maybe 20 years ago. It was a completely different feeling at that time. To more violence, more wild, more direct violence.”

Comparing his last foray into the criminal underworld to his latest project, Watanabe said, “But in this situation, Tokyo Vice Really very sensitive and intelligent.”

Ken Watanabe
“Tokyo Vice” is now available to watch on HBO Max.
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He continued, “Violence is really traditional [these] movies. That’s just Jacob. but every character [in Tokyo Vice] There is a background and emotions. JT Rogers wrote an excellent screenplay that focuses on the emotions of each character. it’s very interesting.”

Watanabe was a working actor in Japan in the 1990s, during which period Tokyo Vice set, and he enjoyed looking back and recreating the world he knew. “Tokyo Yakuza Vs Police Is Really A [common] Story. But the cool thing here is that this being an American, young newspaper writer, making progress in the underground is a really unique point.

“So add to Japan in 1990, the big change in the situation about society, in line with digital technology, the spirit and atmosphere of society has changed. Those are the two big points why I want to try this project,” Watanabe said. .

newsweek Have access to an exclusive clip from the first episode of the series (click play at the top of this page). It shows Jake (Elgort) being told that according to the police “there are no murders in Japan”. This comes despite the fact that he had just found a man hanging on a sword.

, the first three episodes of Tokyo Vice Now available to watch on HBO Max.

Over the next two weeks, two new episodes will become available on the streaming platform ahead of the season finale on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Ken Watanabe Tokyo Vice Poster
Ken Watanabe attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” at TCL Chinese Theater on May 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axel/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Axel / Bauer-Griffin / HBO / Filmmagic

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