Tokyo Vice is one of the grittiest shows we’ve seen in recent times. We got to see some incredible characters whose arcs were phenomenal. One such character was Sato, who rose through the ranks of the Yakuza, only to be stabbed at the end of the season.
So, is Sato really dead? Will he succumb to the stab wounds, or will someone rescue him?
Sato is NOT dead yet. Sato is critically injured, but we don’t see him die at the end of Season 1.
If we look at Sato’s character, we see some classic tropes being used. However, the story still feels authentic, fresh and original. Initially a low-level recruit for the Yakuza, Sato is still learning the ways of the business.
A series of unfortunate events leads him to become Ishida’s right-hand man. Over the season, we see a naïve unemployed boy turn into a ruthless gangster who’s almost conditioned to his new life.
We know how it all pans out for this character, but he’s still slightly different from his predecessor. He still has some heart left in him. This can be seen when he drops his new recruit home. Sato sees himself in this boy, ready to risk it all, to belong somewhere.
Considering how Sato’s evolved, he doesn’t want the boy to go through what he did. After all, life in the Yakuza is a life without family and love. So, he sends the kid home.
We also see him trying to protect his former love interest, Samantha. Although she’s in dire need of money and protection, he tells her to stay away from the mafioso. He very well knows how Ishida would treat her and the business, and she’s better off without them.
However, as we all know, it doesn’t unfold that way, and circumstances end with Samantha working under the Yakuza. After leaving Samantha with a warning about being careful, Sato walks toward his car.
Just when he’s about to enter it, he’s stabbed multiple times. We see the man’s face, and it’s Gen, the same guy within the Chihari-Kai who Sato had nearly beaten to death for poking fun at him. So why exactly did he stab Sato?
There’s no confirmed reason as to why Sato was stabbed. Instead, there are multiple theories around it, considering Sato has made many enemies as he moved up the Chihara-Kai family hierarchy. Let’s look at each one of them.
Since the beginning of the season, Gen has tried to poke fun at Sato. In a scene, he talks about how Sato has been sleeping with Samantha, calling her the ‘Gaijin girl.’ This angers the new mafia member, and he beats up Gen, nearly killing him. After this, Gen’s face is seen to be severely bruised throughout the season.
Even in the final scene, after Gen stabs Sato, we see his bruised face for a brief moment, which looks pretty triumphant. This could mean that he stabbed Sato for revenge.
Theory 2: Gen Is Tozawa’s New Mole
After Katagiri gave up Kume as the mole within Ishida’s gang, Tozawa would’ve wanted a new mole who would take his place. Gen could be that mole for a couple of reasons.
First, his usual disregard for the gang would’ve made him an easy prospect who could be converted easily. His hate for Sato could’ve also made him more inclined towards Tozawa.
In the last episode, Tozawa is already eliminating his enemies, such as Miyamoto. So, he wouldn’t lose the chance to weaken Ishida after being humiliated at the Yakuza gathering.
Theory 3: The Hit Was Ordered by People Who Knew the Investigator
Remember the investigator who was following Samantha and blackmailing her? The same investigator Sato killed? Yup, him. He mentioned that he knows people in powerful places, and Sato cannot threaten him.
Perhaps someone got to know of Sato’s actions and wanted him dead. Of course, Gen was merely the gun, but the person who pulled the trigger could’ve been someone else.
Aniki Kobayashi is one of the chief advisors of Ishida, and when Sato takes Kume’s place, he respects that. However, he disagrees with his council. As a result, as Sato evolves, Aniko starts openly disagreeing with him to the point that even in the final episode, we see this disagreement turn into an argument.
This could be why Aniki Kobayashi would want to kill Sato. After all, he had spent more time in the Yakuza than Sato and would’ve had the feeling of disappointment when Sato grew closer to Ishida.
Just a friendly reminder that all these are mere theories and speculation. Hopefully, we’ll know more soon. If the creators manage to keep it all under wraps, then we’ll only know of Sato’s future in Tokyo Vice Season 2.
About Tokyo Vice
Tokyo Vice is an HBO crime drama series created by J.T. Rogers based on Jake Alderstein’s 2009 book of the same name.
It follows a fictionalized Alderstein, who becomes the first Western-born journalist to work at a renowned Japanese newspaper. Here, he teams up with a veteran detective to uncover the crimes of the yakuza.
The cast includes Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe, Rachel Keller, Show Kasamatsu, among others.