Last Friday, a well-known criminal lawyer named Toshiro Igari was found dead in a hotel room in Manila. The police are writing it off as a suicide, but as Tokyo Vice author Jake Adelstein points out, it’s hard to cut both your wrists.
Jake wrote a touching account of his last interaction with Igari, who was a good friend of his, on his Twitter feed. I hope he doesn’t mind that I took the liberty of pasting it here.
I wanted to say something about Igari Toshiro, my lawyer and friend. I have read every book he’s written about organized crime and as an ex-prosecutor he knows his stuff. He was always a delight to speak with. At a time in 2008, when I was under police protection and wondering if I was going to get snuffed or one of my friends would he met me. Later, I heard he met up with a Goto-gumi exec. and warned him “If anything happens to Jake, I’ll make sure the prosecutors come for you.” He had clout because he was an ex-prosecutor. The worst of the yakuza feared him and I admired him. This year Goto Tadamasa published his memoirs. If you understand how yakuza work, it had the equivalent of a “fatwa” written about me. 跳ね返り催促。Because the lines in the book had a notation that he was laughing when he said it, the police couldn’t arrest him for making a threat. I wrote Igari-san asking him what to do. I got a reply within hours. He came back to Japan from Brazil on Sunday August 8th, and went directly from the airport to his office to meet me. I was honored. On that evening, I sat down with him and two other lawyers. He took my case and said he would first write to the publishers of Goto’s book.Igari said, “The publisher’s edited the interviews, they have a responsibility for the words they chose. They printed slander and threats.”He was excited about taking a vacation in Manila. He wasn’t depressed. He said we’d talk more when he got back.His last words to me were: 「この件は勇気と金もかかりますよ。ただ働きできない（笑）。しかし、この本は許さない。出版社も言葉の危険を承知しているはずだ。後藤は本当に嘘つきだ。ヤクザにしてもクズです。伊丹監督の攻撃を命令したのが事実。さあ戦いましょう」. Rough translation: “It’ll take courage & money to handle your case. Goto is a liar & his book and publisher are unforgivable. Lets’s fight.” He was smiling and laughing when I left his office. I don’t believe he killed himself. Igari先生 was a mentor. Hard-working, funny, courageous, honorable, with a thirst for justice. He always remembered kindnesses and repaid them.