Two stories are interwoven in 'Tokyo.' On the one hand, there is the diary of a Chinese written during the Chinese-Japanese war (late thirties) in the weeks leading up to the massacre of Nanking. On the other hand, there is the story of 'Grey' Hutchins.
Grey is a young woman who has spent part of her youth in a mental
institution. The reason why is handed over to the reader excruciatingly slowly. What we do know, is that during this stay in the institution, she has become obsessed with the Nanking massacre. She has read a booklet on the massacre that mentioned specific methods of torture. No one believes Grey when she talks about those, and for some reason (revealed at the very end of the story), it is very important to her that people believe this. It has even become crucial to prove her sanity to herself and the world.
So Grey leaves her life behind to go to Tokyo. There, she wants to seek out Professor Shi Chongming. He is said to possess an 8 mm-film showing the horrors Grey is so obsessed with. Wanting to leave behind the past, Shi first refuses to show her the film, then agrees to showing it to her in return for 'a favor' that is as important to him as the film is to Grey. This 'favor' sends Grey into the heart of the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.
This report prepared by L. Peeters