Welcome to the Gangsters, Geishas, Monks & Me website! If you’ve read the book, this is the place to put faces to names. If not, take a look at the characters you’ll be reading about. Check out progress on the tsunami fund. Plus music, videos, “lost” chapters and more!
As a young American in a Zen monastery in a small Japanese fishing town and later as that town’s only resident foreigner, Gordon Hutchison knows mistakes have consequences. But when he befriends the local yakuza boss, his life takes a dramatic turn into the unforgiving dictates of gangsters and geishas—where one misstep could cost him much more.
Irreverent yet introspective, Gangsters, Geishas, Monks & Me chronicles Hutchison’s odyssey through the foreigner-hostile backdrops of Zen, the yakuza and the “water trade” in his trial-by-fire initiation into Japanese culture. From below-freezing monastery winters to mob meetings with murder on the agenda to love cabaret-style, his graphic narrative is as thought- provoking as it is improbable.
A story so rare, so revealing, that 60 Minutes tracked Hutchison down to interview “the only foreigner to hang out with yakuza,” Gangsters, Geishas, Monks & Me takes readers deep inside clandestine worlds where few Japanese dare venture and no foreigner has gone before.
Gordon Hutchison hit the road after Duke University in 1971 with a BA in Psychology and Religion. After four years hitchhiking America, Germany and the Virgin Islands, he landed in Japan on the first stop of a trip around the world—a 30-year first stop.
After his years with the gangsters, geishas and monks, he went on to specialize in Japanese folk religions at Sophia Graduate School of International Studies, teach Hatha yoga in Japanese and log twenty-four years as a copywriter—four at the world’s largest ad agency and the rest at the smallest, his own.
He lives with his ten-year-old son Evan in Cary, North Carolina.
“X” marks the spot for six adventure-filled monk and mobster chapters judged too “steamy” for inclusion by my former agent. Now, yours for the clicking!