Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

TV review – Tokyo Vice: Turning Japanese, Jake? I really don’t think so

© SYSTEMAnsel Elgort in Michael Mann’s Tokyo Vice
Ansel Elgort in Michael Mann’s Tokyo Vice

While no longer a closed society, Japan has had a complex relationship with foreigners for centuries.

The result is a culture as baffling to the outsider as it is alluring.

As a Westerner you might be refused accommodation by a suspicious landlord but those pachinko parlours look like great fun.

Tokyo Vice, from Heat director Michael Mann, is an exploration of Japanese culture from the perspective of a gaijin (foreigner) played by Ansel Elgort.

He’s real-life reporter Jake Adelstein, who’s fluent in the language: he’s got the knowledge but not the wisdom to navigate the country as he becomes the first Westerner to work on Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s most venerable newspaper.

He’s tall, awkward and quite, quite smug so watching a big dumpling blunder through the veil of politeness to the city’s seedy underbelly is fascinating; only Inception and Letters From Iwo Jima’s Ken Watanabe’s magnificently scowling veteran cop keeps the fish out of water from becoming sushi at the hands of the Yakuza.

Oddly, this is reminiscent of Tom Selleck’s culture clash comedy Mr Baseball, only with less baseball and a few more severed fingers.

The gangland cliches, with aspiring Yakuza lieutenants and spunky hostesses, eventually take over but Tokyo, through Mann’s cold lens, has never looked so beguiling.


Tokyo Vice, BBC iPlayer