Katsusuke Nagasaki’s breath billowed as he left the War Gods Society’s dojo. The morning of February 22, 1935, was chilly. But that was good—part of the plan. Nobody would look twice at his bulky overcoat. A regal-looking 1931 Chrysler Imperial idled outside. The luxury car with its long chassis and wide running boards could sit all five of them comfortably. Nagasaki sat down next to Sukeyasu Atsuta and Inspector Suzuki, a dojo member with fanatical nationalistic tendencies who was also an officer of the Special Police, and fellow War Gods Society member Raisuke Kudo. Behind the wheel a thug named Nagamon began to drive through Tokyo’s narrow, crooked streets.1
Nagasaki’s neighbors in working-class Okachimachi rose early. Men and women dressed in padded traditional jackets called hanten were sweeping the sidewalks before their small wooden houses and discount shops. Others were hauling display tables stacked with ceramic teapots and dishes, small kitchen appliances, or crispy rice crackers called sembei out from their cluttered one-room shops to the narrow sidewalks. Above the street women leaned out of secondstory windows, beating their colorful futons with wooden paddles to cleanse them of musty night smells before airing them out on the windowsills.
As the Chrysler reached the wealthier Ginza neighborhood, the streets became wider and cleaner. Delivery men glided by on heavy black bicycles piled with crates of beer and sake bottles for the area’s many bars, fresh fish from the still-under-construction Tsukiji market, and bundles of wrapped cloth for the dress shops. Occasionally, an aging black truck lumbered down the larger streets. As the depression had deepened, trucks and gasoline became too expensive for all but the most prosperous businesses. Besides, the Imperial Army