• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Happy New Year From All Of US At JSRC To You


Jan 1, 2011

It’s almost 2011 everywhere in the world. It’s the first day of the new year where I am now. 2010 was a long, hard year. It ended well. Our humble site was listed on CNN-Go as  one of Japan’s best English language blogs of 2010 | CNNGo.com #1. It was an honor. This year we’ll be expanding the number of contributors and the scope of the website, for all those who are curious about the magical kingdom of Japan. We’ll be probing around all dark, shady, shadowy and overcast areas of the land of the rising sun. The sunny side we’ll leave to other people.

Some good things happened this year. The police crackdown on organized crime was so intense that it almost made our April Fools parody post (April 1st, 2010) look like a prophecy. Maybe it was. There were also a number of awful events in 2010 that I’d like to forget about but won’t. The 忘年会 (Bonekai/Forget The Year Party) seems like a good idea in theory but in practice if we forget what we learned in the last year, we just repeat our mistakes the following year. We all know this is true but yet we still manage to do it again every year.

Towards the end of the year, Jee-chan aka @A_Bookaholic did a long interview with me (all via email) and posted it on her website, which is fast becoming one of my favorites for reading advice.  Hooked On Bookz: A_Bookaholic Interviews Author of Tokyo Vice, Jake Adelstein is the title of the interview but it really should be titled What I Learned In 2010. I answered the questions in the middle of a very long bout with the flu and had had an unusually long amount of time to reflect on the questions and everything that happened during the past few months and to try and make some sense of it all. It was a wonderful opportunity to look back before moving forward.

A new year is a great thing. It gives us a feeling that we might be able to start over and get things right. But then again every day should be like that.   I’ll paraphrase the Dalai Lama here: “Every day we are reborn. Every day we are reincarnated. It is this day that is the most important day in our lives. It is our chance to do good, to refrain from evil, to purify our hearts.” A lofty sentiment but I like it.

So Happy Birthday and Happy New Year! May it be a good one for us all. May we all get what we deserve, and maybe some nice things we don’t really deserve, and may the rules of karma apply in the best possible ways. Cheers!

9 thoughts on “Happy New Year From All Of US At JSRC To You”
  1. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Jake, for fighting the good fight and I hope one day you can bring your family to Japan and you can take it easier.

  2. Thank you Jake for sharing my blog here with your readers. I feel so honoured to be given the opportunity to have an interview with you. I agree with Johan, that you are inspiration to us all. May you have a great 2011; a great beginning to great things to come. May God continue to be with you every step of the way.

  3. Happy New Year, Jake! I just finished your book. Great read. Your writing is top notch. I stumbled upon Tokyo Vice by sheer accident. I’m glad I bought it!

    I’ve visited Tokyo once, but don’t speak any Japanese. I have a couple of stupid cop questions (I’m a street cop): when a suspect runs from the police in Tokyo, how in the world do they set up a perimeter? I don’t know if any human being would be able to memorize the names of all the streets and twisting alleys? And if these yakuza guys have guns, and the cops there don’t, why aren’t more cops being shot?

    1. Great questions. First of all, Tokyo has police boxes (called Koban) mini-police stations all over the city and the cops from there can get to the scene very quickly and there’s a lot of police stations. Response time for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is very good. Something like six minutes. (I’ll have to check.)
      The streets have names but the city is a confusing maze. The local cops patrol on foot or on bicycle and they can find their way around by sheer memory. They know their beat.
      The cops do have guns—they just don’t use them very often. And the yakuza don’t shoot cops. It brings down way too much heat.
      The Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai, the largest faction of the 40,000 strong Yamaguchi-gumi is being pounded into the earth by the cops precisely because they have been belligerent towards the police, even investigating them and in general being uncooperative.
      The police and the yakuza traditionally have had sort of cordial relations. Odd but that’s how it used to be.
      Street cops in Japan are 地域課. Detectives belong to other divisions.
      But you may find this interesting—when a cop makes detective or rises up in rank, they’re almost always sent back to a local station to work for a while as a street cop again. I think the rational is to remind them that being a street cop is the core, the basics, the fundamentals and that they should know their beat and the street cops very well.

  4. Jake,

    I just finished reading Tokyo Vice and I admire your courage and abilities. You have sacrificed a lot for your profession and for justice and I applaud you. What I really found interesting in the book is it took me in another direction and taught me just how deep rooted the sex trade industry. I missed CNN’s coverage of the industry in America but will go back now and research that a bit more.

    Have a great New Year and thanks again for your book and contributions.

    Kind regards,


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