• The Sexual Occupation of Japan (paperback edition: The Deal)

    by Richard Setlowe

    HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1999

    ISBN 0-06-018393-4 Buy This Book

    Paperback edition retitled The Deal Buy This Book

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    Publishers Weekly

    A fearless blend of thriller, love story and sharp lesson in cultural mistrust, Setlowe's latest novel delves potently and with frightening immediacy into Asian nationalism and politics. His plot involves the Japanese mob, high-stakes international economic and sexual rivalries, and old war wounds still complicating relations between Japan and the U.S. Peter Saxon is a lawyer for a huge American media conglomerate, who has traveled to Tokyo to secretly negotiate a major international communications merger—the acquisition of Kuribayashi Electronics. During his stay, Saxon is shocked to find that the wife of the Japanese negotiator may be the woman with whom he had a tender love affair 30 years earlier while stationed in Japan during the Vietnam War. Though he yearns to discover whether Michiko Hara is the same person he knew as a nightclub hostess named Lilli, unmasking her identity would bring her great shame—and could scuttle the business deal. Lilli was, after all, a woman who consorted with American servicemen, behavior still considered suspect and humiliating. But Saxon has other troubles, too. The Yakuza (the Japanese mafia), which has mysterious connections to Kuribayashi, tries first to frame him for a murder, then to kill him. Naturally, the business deal languishes while Saxon tries to determine the mob's motives. It becomes clear that certain executives at Kuribayashi have vowed never to sell the company to a country that not only destroyed but metaphorically emasculated Japan, through the seduction of Japanese women. Related through heavy doses of flashbacks, the novel has all the plot convolutions and menacing mystery of a good thriller, and turns especially intriguing with the colorful supporting character of Tom Cochran, Saxon's old navy buddy later turned Buddhist monk. Though readers may find Saxon too dispassionate to ignite the love story, the strength of the book is Setlowe's "(The Black Sea)" piercing observations of the social and cultural chasm that divides Japan and the U.S. With impressive skill, he demonstrates that the tenacious residue of war continues to leave its mark on new generations of Japanese and Americans.

    — Agent, Scott Waxman.(Aug.) Copyright © 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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