“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

“Tokyo”, Cocaine & Those Peaky Blinders – The Feedback

Posted: January 17th, 2015 | 8 Comments »

I blogged a while back about the word “Tokyo” as slang for cocaine and its use in 1920s London in the second series of Peaky Blinders. It wasn’t a term I was familiar with and asked China Rhyming readers if it was an actual term from the time or just an invention of the scriptwriters? You didn’t disappoint – some responses:

probably e a custom mix from one of the Chinese drug dealers broadly speaking a mix of coke strychnine amphetamine and morphine.

Tokyo rose was cockney rhyming slang for nose, which would make sense…..

Cockney rhyming slang – Cocaine ==> Coke ==> Toke ==> Tokyo

one of the first chemists to synthesize methamphetamine was Japanese. In the series Tommy points out to Arther that Tokyo is used on race horses. I believe that “Tokyo” is slang for any kind of speed.

And, seemingly definitively, from some who’s father was a Bobby (cop) in the 1950’s, in London, and who’s Granddad was a Bobby in the 1920’s. Both spoke Cockney fluently, Tokyo was the slang for Coke, Meth, too much sugar… Pretty much anything that gave you crazy energy!


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8 Comments on ““Tokyo”, Cocaine & Those Peaky Blinders – The Feedback”

  1. 1 Cheeky Peaky said at 2:17 am on April 11th, 2016:

    Perfect – exactly the info I was after!!

  2. 2 Jay508 said at 2:52 pm on August 7th, 2017:

    Tokyo is the pink colored special k….. used on horses probably references that its aninal tranquilizer

  3. 3 dr whinbonda said at 5:47 pm on June 21st, 2018:

    I am the real Thomas Shelby I have been in hiding since the whole police problem, I am a man who has moved into the local area, and im having a house warming party of which I will be inviting some local adults

  4. 4 Jarett Blinder said at 6:42 am on April 27th, 2019:

    Thank you for this thread I love pesky blinders and this thread deserves some proper recognition. THUMBS UP

  5. 5 Zeph said at 11:01 am on July 15th, 2019:

    Cockney is a London thing. If the cockneys in London called it Tokyo…then The brummies would have had their own name for it. Its not a rhyming slang thing!

  6. 6 Zelh said at 10:01 am on September 14th, 2019:

    Zeph, I would imagine they picked it up or discovered of it in London and carried the nickname back North.

    When the Shelby’s first visit London we get the first glimpses of white lines being snorted in the club they attend.

  7. 7 Andrew Jacobson said at 1:44 pm on October 15th, 2019:

    Of course, Tokyo Rose was from WWII, so that association with cocaine taken through the nose would have come long after the Peaky Blinders’ time. It would be anachronistic to have that derivation as early as the 1920s.

  8. 8 Cameron said at 9:44 pm on March 1st, 2020:

    Tokyo rose has absolutely nothing to do with rhyming slang, cocaine or pesky blinders. I assume you are a fat yank who knows nothing of our fair isle, I doubt you even own a passport

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