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.
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, the differences between the Japanese and Western mindsets are highlighted, especially in the areas of business strategy and corporate culture.
Upon arriving at Nakamoto Tower, it soon becomes clear to the two law enforcers that the Japanese, led by Nakamoto employee Ishigura, were stalling with the investigation. The mystery deepens once the detectives realize that the tapes from the security cameras on the Forty-sixth floor have mysteriously disappeared and the security guards refuse to provide any aid to the investigation. Lieutenant Smith and Connor then visit the apartment of the late Ms. Austin, quickly realizing that she was in reality a mistress for the Japanese Yakuza. However, even more ominously, it seems that Ms Austin's home had recently been ransacked no more than half an hour after her untimely death. After several visits to friends and associates of Ms Austin and Nakamoto, the two detectives are able to quickly pin the crime on Eddie Sakumura, a wealthy Japanese playboy from Kyoto. However, despite apprehending Sakumura at a nearby party, the two are inclined to release him, due to Eddie's previous associations with John Connor.
The two law enforcers are then summoned to witness the autopsy of the late Ms Austin at a nearby medical institude. After witnessing the dissection, Smith and Connor are suddenly approached by Ishigura, the Nakamoto employee who had initially stalled their investigation, who now presented them with seemingly authentic videos from the security cameras, showing Eddie to be the true murderer. Having solved the mystery, Connor returned home to rest, while Smith and fellow law enforcement agent Graham went to apprehend Sakumura. Unfortunately, upon arriving at Eddie's house, the two detectives are stalled by two women, while Eddie made his escape in a Vector W8. After a short high speed chase around the neighborhood, Eddie's Vector W8 crashes on a highway, seemingly killing Eddie.
The next day, the newspaper runs editorials, criticizing Smith, Graham, and Connor’s actions as racist and accuses them of police brutality. Soon afterwards, Smith receives a phone call from the Chief, announcing that the investigation was officially over. However, Lieutenant Smith isn’t so sure, and he decides to take the tapes to USC, in order to make copies. There Smith meets the beautiful Theresa Asakuma, a Japanese student who is an expert on computers and software manipulation. She is able to quickly point out that the tapes were indeed copies. After copying the tapes, Smith then picks up Connor after his golf game with several Japanese friends. On their way back to the USC laboratories, the two detectives are offered lucrative offers from the Japanese; including a membership at an expensive golf club and extremely low priced real estate offers. They then visit and consult the companies and industries involved with Nakamoto, in order to learn more about the motives about the killer. Along the way, they realize that they are only pawns in a much larger political and economic “war” between America and Japan, and how much the United States relied on Japan which dominated the American electronics industry.
Finally, they visit Senator Morton who is a possible presidential candidate in the upcoming elections. They also learn that Morton fiercely opposes the Japanese purchase of MicroCon, small Silicon Valley company manufacturing machinery. Eventually, they return to USC, where Connor and Theresa are able to quickly deduce that Eddie had been set up by the Japanese who had edited the tapes. They then undid the changes, only to discover that Senator Morton was apparently the real killer. The duo then returns to Smith’s apartment where they discover that Eddie was indeed alive; the man who had actually been killed was a Japanese photographer named Tanaka who had been in Eddie’s garage, searching for the tapes before panicking and taking off in the Ferrari, leading to his untimely death. The trio then goes to confront Senator Morton who reacts calmly and confesses to his role in Cheryl Austin’s death. The senator then walks calmly upstairs where he commits suicide with a pistol in the bathroom. Soon afterwards, an angry Ishigura arrives to confront Eddie and the two detectives, making subtle threats to their lives. Strangely, Eddie reacts calmly, leading Connor to conclude that he still possessed an original copy of the tape from the security cameras. Smith and Connor immediately travel to Eddie’s home where they find his corpse floating in the swimming pool. The duo then leaves the scene of the crime and Connor drops off Smith at his home. Upon entering his apartment, Smith realizes that Ishigura men were waiting for him outside; he quickly ordered his maid to hide his daughter and herself in the upstairs bedroom.
It would have been the end for the police lieutenant had Connor not sneaked back to Smith’s apartment, carrying a bulletproof vest. The two detectives then engage in a gun battle with the thugs waiting outside and Smith is shot in the back, although his vest managed to save his life. The next day, the two detectives watch the tape that Eddie had left behind in his apartment; the tape showing that Ishigura had in fact been the real murderer, while Morton had been innocent. They then rushed to Nakamoto Towers to apprehend Ishigura, interrupting an important meeting. The detectives show the tape of the murder to the rest of the Nakamoto employees, while a shocked and angry Ishigura commits suicide by jumping off the building, into the wet cement below. Having solved the mystery, Connor answers Smith’s questions before dropping him off at his apartment. The book then concludes with Smith’s statements about America’s future with Japan.
The book was adapted into a film, the 1993 release Rising Sun starring Sean Connery as Connor, Wesley Snipes as Smith, Tia Carrere as Asakuma and Harvey Keitel as Graham. Several changes were made in adapting the story for the film. Caucasian Peter Smith was changed to African-American Webster ("Webb") Smith, Ishiguro became Ishihara, and Theresa became Jingo. Additionally, the identity of the murderer was changed from a Japanese character to an American one, and reflected in the solution to the film.
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