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Japan Subculture Research Center

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

Less on livers, more on livelihoods


Jan 4, 2010

The Japan Times published in last Sunday’s paper a mammoth of an interview with Jake by Mark Schreiber, stretching almost two entire pages across the Time Out section. While the news media is in no shortage of interviews with Mr. ‘Viceman’ Adelstein, this one is worth the read because, as Jake put it, “there’s little or no mention of liver transplants or UCLA, for a change.”

Insider Reaching Out from The Japan Times, Jan. 3, 2010

Author Joshua “Jake” Adelstein supposes that if he’d stayed home in rural Missouri and had never come to Japan, he’d probably have become a small-town lawyer or a very happy detective on the local police force.

“I was always attracted to the law, probably because my father was the county coroner for many years — and still is now,” he says.

But Adelstein has spent roughly half his life in Japan, first as a student at Sophia University in Tokyo and then as a reporter for the vernacular Yomiuri Shimbun, where he landed a job that put him in touch with what he describes as “the dark side of the rising sun.”

Read “Insider Reaching Out” [via The Japan Times]

7 thoughts on “Less on livers, more on livelihoods”
  1. Jake,

    Nice write-up! I overheard some people in an elevator the other day discussing your book. You’ve really had an impact on people.

    You don’t have a subscription to the Economist? Really? I don’t believe you. Maybe the Washington Post should seek your expertise. I’ll look forward to seeing your byline again.

    1. People were talking about it in an elevator? That’s pretty cool. Doesn’t get much better than that. I will get a subscription to the Economist. As for the Washington Post, not in the realms of possibility. I’m not ready to handle newspaper reporter life again. I’m still more than a little burnt out. However, I hope they hire someone fluent in Japanese.

  2. Hi Jake, I read that article in the Japan Times and found myself reading Tokyo Vice 2 days after that which came from Amazon, needless to say I’m addicted to your book and your sincere sense of humour. Most of the things you mentioned in the book are quite shocking to know especially for someone who has only been in Japan for over a year and I want to thank you for having the “Balls” as you always had to write that up and exposed those dirty secrets.
    Keep up the good work.
    ps: I am only half way through the book but I realise that you didn’t actually input a lot of your own thoughts into the book and just out of curiousity I had the urge to ask.

  3. mr. adelstein – this is a comment directed at your book and not this particular article. first, i’m more then half way through the book and i wish i would have read it before i visited japan. maybe my eyes would have been more open to japan’s subtleties. anyways, with regard to your book – if and when it comes to another printing would you consider including a map of japan, a map of tokyo and any other visuals that could be relevant into your text. i think it would provide a more well rounded picture for the reader and allow the reader to follow your movements through the country and city. i think this would make the read more enjoyable than it already is. just a thought… your honesty and work is appreciated.

  4. Dear Mr. Adelstein,

    I’m 16 and I am currently learning Japanese. My father bought your book (Tokyo Vice) which I am reading at the moment. I have to say, it gives some very good critical insight into Japanese culture, and has helped me better understand Japanese culture.


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