On the road with Tokyo Vice

Jake Adelstein is currently traversing across the U.S. on a tour promoting Tokyo Vice. The New Yorker’s Book Bench gave two thumbs (and ten fingers) up to the book’s launch party at Idlewild bookstore in Sushi and Vice.

To get in on the action, hit up one of Jake’s appearances on the Tokyo Vice Book Tour.

Not only limited to leaking too much information at parties with expensive alcohol, Jake recently made an appearance on WYNC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

Jake Adelstein on air

Jake Adelstein, former reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, and author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, discusses his new book. He tells Brian Lehrer why in Japan, the cops are friendly, the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) are cool and sometimes a massage is more than a massage.

Jake Adelstein talks to Brian Lehrer

Getting up close with Jake

Reuters photo of Jake Adelstein

Reuters’ Isabel Reynolds gets up close and personal with Jake Adelstein about the sotry behind Tokyo Vice.

In his English-language memoir, “Tokyo Vice,” which will be published in the United States this week, [Adelstein] tells the story of how he got to grips with the unique Japanese way of journalism, becoming such a serious irritant to the yakuza that he faced death threats and was placed under police protection in 2008.

Adelstein, who belonged to a rare breed of foreign journalists writing for the Japanese-language press, spoke to Reuters recently about his career and crime in Japan.

Author gets too close for comfort with Tokyo’s yakuza gangs [via Reuters]

Tokyo Vice review by Dan Scheraga

Here they come, hopefully one in a long line of reviews!

“Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan” (Pantheon Books, 352 pages, $26), by Jake Adelstein: A journalist is supposed to observe and report his story, not become part of it. But by the time Jake Adelstein found himself face to face with an enforcer for one of Japan’s most vicious mafia gangs, it was too late.

“Erase the story or be erased,” was the yakuza’s message. “Your family, too.”

It was an offer Adelstein couldn’t refuse. As a Tokyo crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Adelstein’s tirelessness and loyalty had won him respect and trust on both sides of the law as well as at Japan’s largest newspaper. But when an organized crime boss threatens to kill you and your family, it’s time to go, Adelstein reasoned.

He packed up and left Japan with his story. It was a fantastic one, too. Yakuza heavyweight Tamagata Goto had sold out his own gang to the FBI in order to receive a liver transplant in the U.S. ahead of ailing American citizens. But as juicy as the story was, it wasn’t worth dying over.

That changed when Goto came after Adelstein again, putting the two quite literally in a fight to the death. Writing his story could get Adelstein killed, but it was the only weapon he had that could stop Goto.

Review: When an American journalist gets too close to his story on Japan’s yakuza, all bets are off [Associated Press via the San Francisco Examiner]

Japan Subculture Research Center Back From Hibernation:冬眠が終了

by Jake Adelstein

JSRC has been in hibernation for most of November, while I’ve been re-evaluating my place in the world after Goto Tadamasa’s fall from power, making a living, and working on the Japanese draft of TOKYO VICE. The book may end up coming out in Japanese before it comes out in English.  

Many interesting things have happening in Japan’s underworld while we were away and we hope to share them with you by the end of December. By the way, if anyone has questions about the yakuza, crime in Japan, the latest strange trends in the country, or suggestions for something you’d like to see on this site–feel free to write in.

Tokyo Vice featured in South China Post Sunday Book Section


The stories Jake Adelstein wrote as a crime reporter for a Japanese newspaper have earned him and his family a death threat from one of the country’s most notorious and influential yakuza. Writing a book about crime and criminal culture in Japan is likely to have further enraged the Tokyo uderworld. Adelstein never planned it this way.  

Continue reading Tokyo Vice featured in South China Post Sunday Book Section

Tokyo Vice Featured on Australian ABC Radio International's "The Media Report"

Jake Adelstein was featured on The Media Report on June 5, 2008. The audio download and transcript are available from abc.net.au

Continue reading Tokyo Vice Featured on Australian ABC Radio International's "The Media Report"