Tokyo Vice: Tozawa's Illness In Season 2 Explained (What Does He Have?)

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Tozawa, Tokyo Vice, Max logo

A huge question mark in Tokyo Vice Season 2 focuses on Shinzo Tozawa's mystery illness, and some fans may have decoded the truth behind his condition. 

Tozawa, played by Ayumi Tanida, serves as the leader of the rival clan opposing Chihara Kai's gang. 

In Season 1, Tozawa was seen struggling due to a mysterious illness that has yet to be unveiled, and the fact that his condition worsened led to his departure in the finale. 

What Does Tozawa Have In Tokyo Vice? Illness Explained

Tozawa in Tokyo Vice
Tokyo Vice

Shinzo Tozawa's departure in Tokyo Vice's Season 1 finale led many to believe he is dead. This theory was further cemented when the character didn't appear in the first two episodes of Season 2.

However, in a shocking development, Tozawa reappeared in Season 2, Episode 3 (specifically in Misaki's apartment), much to the surprise of viewers and the characters. He was in a much healthier state, seemingly already recovered from his disease. 

It was heavily implied that Tozawa had liver failure throughout Season 1. Some of the symptoms shown, such as being too weak to stand up and being covered in rashes on his face, line up with real-life indicators of this chronic illness. 

Some theorized that Shinzo Tozawa is based on real-life yakuza member Tadamasa Goto. The 80-year-old retired gangster also had a liver failure, but he recovered after getting a liver transplant in the United States. 

Goto was the original leader of the Goto-gumi, a branch of one of Japan's largest yakuza organizations named Yamaguchi-gumi. 

The yakuza leader made a deal with the FBI in 2001 to facilitate a liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center in the United States. Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, who served as executive chairman of UCLA's surgery department, oversaw the said transplant.

Goto's act of acquiring a new liver cost a lot of lives, with 186 people in Los Angeles dying during the year of his transplant (via the Los Angeles Times).

Given that Tozawa was healthy in Episode 3, his newfound status implied that he received a transplant after he departed Tokyo.  

In an interview with Deadline ahead of Tokyo Vice Season 2, executive producer Alan Poul teased that a solid confirmation about Tozawa's illness is in the cards for the show's sophomore run, noting that it will be "gradually revealed:"

"It was not revealed in season one because that is part of the mystery I was alluding to before. So it is gradually revealed and will ultimately be made very clear what is wrong with him and what he did to take care of it."

What's Next After Tozawa's Emphatic Return?

Tozawa's comeback spells bad news for Ansel Elgort's Jake Adelstein because he has been sleeping around with his mistress, Misaki (Ayumi Ito). 

Making matters even worse, Episode 3's ending also confirmed that Misaki is in cahoots with Tozawa, with her knowing that he's back and fully recovered. 

Tozawa's grand plan and the ramifications of his return remain to be seen, but the current yakuza members gunning for power in Tokyo should watch their backs. 

Tokyo Vice Season 2 is now streaming on Max.

Read more about Max's other shows: 

True Detective Season 5: Will More Episodes Ever Release?

Here's When White Lotus Season 3's Release Is Expected to Happen

Ninja Kamui Anime Release Date Schedule of Episodes on Max & Adult Swim (Confirmed)

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.