The Story Of Tokyo Joe, The Mobster Who Survived Three Shots To The Head, And Then Went Into Witness Protection

alexkoral - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

With the ‘mob wife aesthetic’ still trending on social media and television shows like “The Sopranos” re-airing on our screens for its 25th anniversary, people have been falling down internet rabbit holes regarding the mafia and mob culture.

One of the most fascinating mobster stories is the story of Tokyo Joe, the Chicago mob figure who survived three gunshots to the head and went on to be a crucial informant for the FBI.

Tokyo Joe’s real name was Ken Eto. Ken was a man of Japanese-American descent who grew up in California.

During World War II, Ken, alongside other Japanese and Japanese American people, was forced to relocate and live in the War Relocation Center in Idaho. During his time there, he learned how to gamble and became quite skilled. 

Ken underwent his first arrest in 1942 after violating wartime curfew, but that wasn’t the end of his experiences with crime.

After moving to Chicago in 1949, Ken got involved with the mob and set up an illegal gambling racket. He organized games and handled books for the mob. 

When the FBI uncovered his gambling crimes in the early 1980s, Outfit mob members attempted to murder him by violently shooting him three times in the head while he was sitting in a parked car.

Although he was left for dead, Ken managed to drag himself to a nearby pharmacy and call 911.

After surviving the assassination attempt and getting treated in a hospital, Ken was greeted by FBI agents and decided to help them by turning against the mob and acting as an informant.

alexkoral – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2