Picture the scene. Early 1960s Tokyo at a late-night bar called Club 88. You might spy owner Alonzo Shattuck, a former American intelligence agent who tracked North Koreans smuggling crystal meth into Japan. At the piano you might find Nat King Cole, enjoying a night out while on tour, while Hollywood actors such as Rick Jason and Shirley MacLaine might be seen among the parade of expats from around the world. In the background are diplomats, journalists, CIA agents, businessmen, dancers, priests, prostitutes and yakuza.
Club 88, the Japanese incarnation of Rick’s Café Américain, was the perfect spot for Robert Whiting to soak up postwar Tokyo’s atmosphere. Its heady mix of seedy and smart proved irresistible to the young military intelligence analyst from Eureka, California. Unlike his colleagues at Fuchu Air Base, many of whom