Why Did Tozawa Disappear In Tokyo Vice Season 2?
6 mins read

Why Did Tozawa Disappear In Tokyo Vice Season 2?

WARNING: SPOILERS ahead for Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 5.




  • Tozawa’s sudden return in Tokyo Vice season 2 reveals his medical treatment for liver disease.
  • The “Illness of the Trade” affects many yakuza due to excessive alcohol consumption in Japan.
  • Tozawa’s risky decision to get a liver transplant may have lethal consequences in Tokyo Vice season 2.

One of the biggest mysteries at the beginning of Tokyo Vice season 2 is the sudden disappearance of the show’s main antagonist, Tozawa. Tozawa (Ayumi Tanida) is last seen at the end of Tokyo Vice season 1 on a private jet heading to an unspecified location. Throughout the majority of Tokyo Vice season 2’s first three episodes, the leader of the Tozawa clan does not appear onscreen until the very last moments of Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 3, titled “Old Law, New Tricks”. It appears that Tozawa and Ishida will plan to work together against the increased threat of the Tokyo Police, but episode 5’s shocking twist disproves that.

Tozawa’s return in Tokyo Vice season 2 prompts a panicked response from Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort) and Hiroto Katagiri (Ken Watanabe), especially since Tozawa had directly threatened Katagiri and his family at the end of Tokyo Vice season 1. Jake boldly develops a romantic relationship with Tozawa’s mistress Misaki (Aymui Ito) during the clan leader’s absence, only to have Tozawa snatch her away upon his return to Tokyo at the end of episode 3. Having developed feelings for Misaki, Jake follows Tozawa’s whereabouts in Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 4, and discovers the death of the former Tozawa Kaicho Nakahara.


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Tozawa Sought Medical Treatment For His “Illness Of The Trade”

Tokyo Vice Tozawa

More details surrounding Tozawa’s whereabouts at the beginning of Tokyo Vice season 2 were revealed in episode 5, titled “Illness of the Trade.” During Tokyo Vice season 1, Tozawa showed several signs of poor or declining health, such as collapsing at his birthday celebration. Tozawa returned in Tokyo Vice season 2 with a massive vertical scar directly at the center of his abdomen, indicating that he likely had some type of major surgery done in order to alleviate his so-called “Illness of the Trade”. The illness refers to liver disease, which is a common condition among real-life yakuza.

While it is yet to be confirmed in Tokyo Vice season 2, it appears that Tozawa likely had a liver transplant and had tried to seek medical treatment in the United States. Sat reveals in Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 5 that he had heard about a doctor in Thailand who performed those types of operations, not realizing that Jake had asked him about Tozawa. During Jake’s conversation with Sato at the batting cages in Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 5, it is also implied that Tozawa might have gotten a very rare and aggressive blood transfusion using the blood of young people, which had short-term life-threatening risks.


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Why So Many Real-Life Yakuza Members Need Liver Transplants

Ayumi Tanida as Tozawa From Tokyo Vice Season 2 episode 5

The so-called “Illness of the Trade” is in fact a very real condition that many actual yakuza members develop and must deal with. According to the Japan Subculture Research Center, an unusually high number of yakuza get liver disease due to their excessive alcohol consumption. Sato also points out in Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 5 that hardly anybody donates organs in Japan, making it virtually impossible for someone even as powerful as Tozawa to get a liver transplant in his home country. All of this information combines to make it clear that Tozawa was missing in the early episodes of season 2 in order to get a new liver.

Tozawa’s need for a liver transplant is likely inspired by the notorious Goto Tadamasa, who was one of the many Japanese gangsters who received liver transplants in the United States at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California between the years 2000 and 2004. This would align perfectly with the timeline of Tokyo Vice season 2, which takes place at the start of the 21st century. The FBI was fully aware of Goto Tadamasa entering the U.S. and permitted him to do so in exchange for information. Despite it being believed that Tozawa was banned from traveling to the U.S., this could be the case for his speedy recovery in Tokyo Vice season 2.


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Is Tozawa Living On Borrowed Time In Tokyo Vice Season 2?

If Tozawa had gone to the experimental doctor in Thailand to receive his liver transplant and was receiving dangerous blood transfusions as Sato had described, he may not have much longer to live in Tokyo Vice season 2. If, however, Tozawa was granted access to the United States and got his transplant at one of the best hospitals in the world, then it appears that he truly has returned better than ever. This could also explain why Tozawa chose to rebrand his gang of yakuza as a corporation in Tokyo Vice season 2, episode 5, implying that he could have been inspired by or even made a deal with the Americans.

Tokyo Vice Season 2 Poster Featuring the Cast Standing in Front of Neon Lights

Tokyo Vice

Based on the novel and the true experiences of Jake Adelstein, Tokyo Vice is a drama thriller series that sees the first American journalist ever to join a Japanese newspaper, forced to start at the bottom of the totem pole to earn his place. Set loose under a vice detective’s close tutelage and supervision, Jake steps into the Yakuza-led underworld of Tokyo and learns what it means to ask too many questions.

Ansel Elgort , Rachel Keller

Release Date
April 17, 2022


Destin Daniel Cretton

Josef Kubota Wladyka , Michael Mann , Alan Poul , Hikari

Source: Japan Subculture Research Center

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