Literature / Rising Sun

Rising Sun is a 1992 internationally best-selling novel by Michael Crichton about a murder in the Los Angeles headquarters of Nakamoto, a fictional Japanese corporation. The book was published by Alfred A. Knopf. It was adapted into a not-so-warmly received film in 1993 which starred Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, and Mako.

Although a detective/murder mystery novel at first glance, Rising Sun deals with the controversial subject of Japanese-American relations, and questions the premise that foreign direct investment in the high-technology sectors of the United States is beneficial. Throughout the book, differences between the Japanese and Western mindsets are highlighted, especially in the areas of business strategy and corporate culture.

Needs Wiki Magic Love.

This Novel contains examples of:

  • Author Filibuster: A staple Crichton trope. In this case, Captain John Connor is more than happy to educate Lieutenant Peter J. Smith on the vast cultural differences between Japan and America, as well as the various underhanded business tactics Japan uses to maintain their technological edge over America. This takes up a portion of the book, because the author is trying to get his stance on Japanese-American relations across.
  • Big Bad: The Japanese in general, but Masao Ishiguro is the one of immediate concern to Smith and Connor.
  • But Not Too Foreign: For once, a Western version.
    • The Japanese-American coroner complains about a representative from the Nakamoto corporation being pushy, demanding, and haughty. When Smith asks why the Japanese would treat their own so badly, the coroner says it's because he was born abroad - he might as well be a foreigner, by Japanese standards.
    • Theresa (Jingo in the film) is half-black, half-Japanese, and is all too happy to side with the Americans out of pure spite from the horrendous upbringing she suffered in Japan, as racist kids in a fairly enclosed and traditional village would torment her, as well as her extended family shunning her and her mother.
  • The Conspiracy: A call girl is murdered to frame a Senator who opposes the sale of an American high-tech firm to a Japanese corporation, and then the tapes of him "killing" her (he actually only knocks her unconscious and the Big Bad does the real dirty work) are altered to frame yet another character who opposed this Japanese corporation.
  • Disney Villain Death: At the end of the book, Ishiguro throws himself off a 46th floor balcony after it is exposed that he was the murderer all along.
  • Dirty Cop: Smith split a bribe with Graham from a rich Domestic Abuser, justifying it as trying to support his pregnant wife. It bites him in the ass during the story, as it turns out to be the reason the Japanese government offered him the high-paying and prestigious Special Services Liaison status despite not speaking a word of Japanese - it meant that he could be blackmailed into silence in cases such as this. Connor insist that Smith's case is not unique - that not only does every other SSL in the LAPD have similar events in their pasts, but that Japanese corporations make a point of gathering dirt on police officers, justifying it by seeing corrupt individuals as indicative of a corrupt nation.
  • Domestic Abuser: Eddie Sakamura initially comes across as this.
  • Driven to Suicide: First, Morton shoots himself to death because he thinks that his political career will be over once news of the killing gets out. Then, Ishiguro, the real Big Bad who framed Morton, jumps off of a 46-story balcony at the end, knowing he would be shunned for the rest of his life in Japan even if he wasn't arrested.
  • Enhance Button: One of the best uses of the trope ever. Connor brings a security tape to an audio-video wizard(an expatriate Japanese/black woman who immigrated to the US so she would not be ostracized for her mixed race and deformed hand) who systematically proves the tape has been doctored. As she dismantles the image step-by-step, she criticizes the arrogance of the Japanese editors who made the tape; obvious-once-revealed errors such as sloppy airbrushing and extra shadows - "They think we will not be careful. That we will not be Japanese." A brief part where the murderer's face was visible was modified, and that the camera had originally taped someone else committing the crime. Ultimately, she is unable to restore the lost information and identify the killer, but she is able to reconstruct the face of a witness who happens to have an un-doctored copy of the tape.
  • Going Native: Connor ended up doing this after spending time in Japan, which helps him and Smith navigate the murder investigation. As did Theresa (Jingo in the film), who was tormented by children in the small, conservative town she grew up in and has nothing but contempt for the Japanese.
  • The Great Economics Mess Up: The major theme of the story is how the unscrupulous Japanese are buying out America and dominating the world economy. But both the book and the movie became immediately dated after the Japanese economy entered serious decline in the early 90's and entered the "Lost Decade," from which Japan has yet to fully recover. Crichton's stern warnings about Japan taking over the world now seem moot, if not downright alarmist. Although, as of 2015, Japan's economy is starting to rebound, but not like the Tiger Economy they had when this book was written. Yet.
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Several times, Crichton stresses that the Japanese are completely incompatible, alien, and hostile by Western standards.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Discussed. At length.
  • Meaningful Name: Jingo, as in "jingoism."
  • Mighty Whitey: Connor comes off a little bit like a late 20th century manifestation.
  • Oh, Crap!: Once Connor, Smith, and Jingo prove Ishiguro's involvement in the murder in front of the Nakamoto conference room, the Nakamoto executives reflexively back away from Ishiguro and a calm Yoshida-san.
  • Straw Character: The Japanese are portrayed as racist, misogynistic, ultraconservative, and secretly plotting to take over the world.
  • Token Minority/Twofer Token Minority: Theresa is not only half-black and half-Japanese, she's also of Burakumin note  descent and is physically crippled, missing a hand from a birth defect - both of which are very impure by Japanese standards.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope: A key plot element both the novel and the film is that no-one can seem to decide whether to treat the Japanese positively or not. Crichton gives Author Filibuster galore about how they have more rational ways of handling problems than Americans - as well as how they are taking over America and turning it into a third-world economic war zone.
    • Every Japanese is all but depicted as a Higher-Tech Species with a more refined culture than boorish Americans... while at the same time being decadent Straw Characters engaging in conspiracy and crime who treat Americans as subhuman.
    • Connor himself admits he is torn by his experiences; he often looks like the smartest person in the room next to xenophobic cops like Graham, loves Japan and deeply admires its culture, but admits that even his best Japanese friends never really forgive him for not being Japanese.

The Film contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: To make the film more politically correct, writer/director Phillip Kaufman made the main villain an American — Bob Richmond, who was only a minor character in the book. Unlike Ishiguro in the book, he doesn't commit suicide and runs off, only to get drowned in wet concrete by Eddie Sakamura's friends in retaliation.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Bob Richmond, who was just a minor character in the novel, is revealed to be the murderer in this movie.
  • Big Bad: Different than who it was in the book — Bob Richmond.
  • Body Sushi: One rather blatant Fanservice scene in the movie has a Eddie doing this to one of two girls in a threesome.
  • But Not Too Foreign:
    • In the film, Ishihara recounts how the U.S. government blocked the sale of a major corporation to the Japanese out of concern over "foreign ownership," then turned around and sold that same major corporation to the French.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Richmond gets drowned and buried in wet concrete.
  • Driven to Suicide: Averted for Ishiguro (renamed Ishihara) in the film, in which the Nakamoto Corporation demotes him and permanently puts him in a cubicle back in Japan. Connor explains how this is effectively a Fate Worse Than Death for Ishiguro.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the original novel, Richmond is a minor character who survives the events of the plot. Here, he's changed to be the Big Bad and gets karmically drowned in wet concrete at the end of the film.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: After his involvement in the murder is exposed, Ishihara is disgraced and demoted to a lowly desk job back in Japan, which Connor explains amounts to this. In the book, his character just killed himself to avoid this.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Not played for laughs. When Connery and Snipes rush in to arrest Eddie, one of his two completely nude molls leaps on Snipes punching and kicking him; not very effectively, but Eddie escapes because of it.
  • Race Lift: In the book, the main character was Peter Smith, a white male. Here, he's a black man named "Web" Smith, played by Wesley Snipes.
  • Red Herring: Three times in the film:
    • Eddie Sakamura had a volatile relationship with Cheryl, but he did not kill her.
    • Senator Morton had sex with Cheryl and indulged her erotic asphyxiation, but he did not kill her either.
    • Neither did Ishihara, who covered for the real killer to protect the company.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Blatantly done for Fanservice, Connery and Snipes rush in to arrest Eddie while he's with two women.
  • Translation Correction: The Japanese dub changes the name of Jingo Asakuma to the more correct Junko Asakuma.