Tokyo Vice: Is Misaki Inspired by a Real Person?

In Max’s crime drama series ‘Tokyo Vice,’ Misaki Taniguchi is the mistress of Shinzo Tozawa, the ruthless leader of a Yakuza clan that rivals Hitoshi Ishida’s Chihara-kai. Misaki ends up becoming a window into the life of the vicious man Jake Adelstein has been trying to hunt down. When Tozawa disappears without a trace, Misaki welcomes Jake into her intimate life. In the second season’s third episode, the journalist expresses his wish to share his life with her away from the threat of Yakuza. Even though the show is based on the true story of Jake, Misaki is a fictional character. Still, she is connected with the past of the journalist!

The Inspiration Behind Misaki

Misaki and her storyline in ‘Tokyo Vice’ are fictional. Having said that, the real Jake Adelstein did interact with one of the mistresses of Tadamasa Goto, the real-life counterpart of Shinzo Tozawa. “During the time I was collecting the last pieces of evidence, I became close to one of Goto’s mistresses. Right before she left Japan in May 2008, we had one more meeting at Narita International Airport. I was bitching about the man, and she was listening patiently. She probably hated him more than I did,” Jake wrote in ‘Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan,’ the source text of the crime drama.

The unnamed mistress of Goto compared Jake to her master. “You’re both [Goto and Jake] workaholics with high libidos, adrenaline junkies, and shameless womanizers. You drink too much, you smoke too much, and you demand loyalty. You’re generous to your friends and ruthless to your enemies. You’ll do anything to get what you want. You are very much the same person. I see that in you,” she told the journalist. The woman also pointed out the differences between the two. “You don’t derive pleasure from the suffering of others and you don’t betray your friends. That’s huge,” she added to him.

The woman then disappeared from Jake’s life. “And she lightly kissed me on the cheek and headed toward the security gates and her plane. I haven’t seen her since. I think she’s doing very well with her new life,” he added in his book. Even though Jake and the woman were close, the author didn’t mention that they had any sort of sexual or romantic relationship. The togetherness of Jake and Misaki in the crime drama can be the creation of the series’ writers, which isn’t surprising.

John Lesher, one of the executive producers of the series, made it clear that the show is heavily fictional right after the premiere of the first season. “There were so many things that we embellished and created that had nothing to do with, let’s call it ‘the real Jake Adelstein story.’ Whether the book is true or not, you should take it up with him and the people depicted in the book. I wasn’t there,” Lesher told The Hollywood Reporter. The executive producer’s words succeed in convincing the viewers to approach the characters as fictional ones who are placed in a real milieu.

The writers of the crime drama must have created Jake and Misaki’s relationship in the second season to depict how the journalist walked into trouble repeatedly. “She [Misaki] entices him [Jake]; she’s this mysterious woman, who he honestly feels bad for. It’s dangerous for both of them to be getting together, but Jake is obviously attracted to danger — whether he knows it or not — he’s always going to the most dangerous place he could go. He always wants to investigate the most dangerous story,” Ansel Elgort, who plays Jake, told Variety.

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