He shrugged. "I read everything, you know that. It's part of what you pay me for."
That much was true. Harry kept his finger on the pulse, and had a knack for identifying patterns in chaos.
"What's the second thing?"
"During the funeral, someone broke into his apartment. I figured it might have been you, but wanted to tell you just in case."
I kept my face expressionless. "How did you find out about that?" I asked.
He took a folded piece of paper from his pants pocket and slid it toward me. "I hacked the Keisatsucho report." The Keisatsucho is Japan's National Police Agency, the Japanese FBI.
"Christ, Harry, what can't you get at? You're unbelievable."
He waved his hand as though it were nothing. "This is just the Sosa, the investigative section. Their security is pathetic."
I felt no particular urge to tell him that I agreed with his assessment of Sosa security--that in fact I had been an avid reader of their files for many years.
I unfolded the piece of paper and started to scan its contents. The first thing I noticed was the name of the person who had prepared the report: Ishikura Tatsuhiko. Tatsu. Somehow I wasn't surprised.
I had known Tatsu in Vietnam, where he was attached to Japan's Public Safety and Investigative Board, one of the precursors of the Keisatsucho. Hobbled by the restrictions placed on its military by Article Nine of the postwar constitution and unable to do more than send a few people on a "listen-and-learn" basis, the government sent Tatsu to Vietnam for six months to make wiring diagrams of the routes of KGB assistance to the Vietcong. Because I spoke Japanese, I was assigned to help him learn his way around.
Tatsu was a short man with the kind of stout build that rounds out with age, and a gentle face that masked an intensity beneath--an intensity that was revealed by a habit of jutting his torso and head forward in a way that made it look as though he was being restrained by an invisible leash. He was frustrated in postwar, neutered Japan, and admired the warrior's path I had taken. For my part, I was intrigued by a secret sorrow I saw in his eyes, a sorrow that, strangely, became more pronounced when he smiled and especially when he laughed. He spoke little of his family, of two young daughters in Japan, but when he did his pride was evident. Years later I learned from a mutual acquaintance that there had also been a son, the youngest, who had died in circumstances of which Tatsu would never speak, and I understood from whence that sorrowful countenance had come.
When I came back to Japan we spent some time together, but I had distanced myself since getting involved with Miyamoto and then Benny. I hadn't seen Tatsu since changing my appearance and moving underground.
Which was fortunate, because I knew from the reports I hacked that Tatsu had a pet theory: the LDP had an assassin on the payroll. In the late eighties Tatsu came to believe that too many key witnesses in corruption cases, too many financial reformers, too many young crusaders against the political status quo were dying of "natural causes." In his assessment there was a pattern here, and he profiled the shadowy shape at the center of it as having skills very much like mine.
Tatsu's colleagues thought the shape he saw was a ghost in his imagination, and his dogged insistence on investigating a conspiracy that others claimed was a mirage had done nothing to advance his career. On the other hand, that doggedness did afford him some protection from the powers he hoped to threaten, because no one wanted to lend credence to his theories by having him die suddenly of natural causes. On the contrary: I imagined that many of Tatsu's enemies hoped he would live a long and uneventful life. I also knew this attitude would change instantly if Tatsu ever got too close to the truth.
Copyright © 2002 by Barry Eisler. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Putnam.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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