“Tokyo Joe” Refuses To Die



Nothing says Chicagoland quite like finding the bodies of two hitmen stuffed in the trunk of a car. Ken Eto — who would come to be known as “Tokyo Joe” — was the only Japanese-American to be in any position of trust with the Chicago Outfit or any other mob family. By the 1980s, he was bringing in as much as $200,000 a week for the mob and paying off corrupt Chicago cops as well. It wasn’t long before Eto was convicted of running a numbers racket. Vincent Solano, head of the mob at that time, met with Eto and was assured the he would keep his mouth shut and do his time. However, in typical mob fashion, Solano wasn’t going to take Eto at his word. He sent two of his hitmen — Jasper Campise and John Gattuso to take care of Eto. One of the two stooges put a gun up to Eto’s head, pulled the trigger, and left what they thought was a dead man in his car. In reality, the bullet hit Eto's skull, ricocheted under the flesh, and made its way around his head. Eto managed to climb out of his car and walk a few blocks to the nearest pharmacy, where he politely asked for medical attention. For their failure, Campise and Gattuso were found strangled and stabbed and left in the trunk of their car. Meanwhile, Eto was placed in the Witness Protection Plan, testified for 17 years against mobsters, union officials and political figures, finally dying at the ripe old age of 84.