My Life in Japan's Underworld by Miyazaki Manabu.....
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.